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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 27, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Keys to catching trout on opening day this weekend, and in the weeks ahead

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Basic strategies and tips can help make your fishing outing a success when opening day gets underway this Saturday (April 30).

Those targeting freshly planted trout should keep their presentations up near the surface and keep the fishing gear simple.

Hatchery fish tend to stay in the top 3, 4 or 5 feet of the water for the first couple of weeks after they’re planted. Fishing on the bottom will not be as productive until later on in the season.

After a few weeks, the trout will go deeper and start to feed on bugs and other small creatures closer to the bottom.

One key to success is covering a fair amount of water to find groups of fish willing to bite.

Troll shallow with gear such as small spoons, spinners, flies or a gang flasher with a worm, maggot or salmon eggs laced with scent or a small piece of Power Bait.

Bank anglers should try a wide variety of Berkley Power Baits or other scented dough baits. Night crawlers, salmon eggs and marshmallows are old-school favorites. Use an 18-inch leader and a single hook attached to a bobber or slip sinker to raise the floating bait off the bottom.

Fisheries biologists say many anglers use tackle that is too heavy. A simple light spinning rod and reel with fishing lines in the 4- to 6-pound range work best.

Residents ages 16 to 69 need a license, which costs $26 for freshwater only. Youth age 15 and persons with disabilities licenses are $11, and seniors age 70 and older is $8. Children under age 14 don’t need a license. Licenses are available at dealers across the state, by phone at 866-246-9453 or online at state Fish and Wildlife website.

(Photo by Seattle Times staff photographer)

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