The sun took a little while to break out this Saturday morning and the rain showers made it a bit uncomfortable for some in the Puget Sound area.
But, that didn’t stop thousands of anglers from getting out for the statewide lowland lakes trout fishing opener.
“Many people were generally enjoying their outdoor experiences, and catches were fairly good,” said Annette Hoffman, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Mill Creek. “There was lots of kids and family groups out.”
Hoffman says some of the people were getting a big bonus of holdover fish – larger trout that were planted last year.
“There were a few disappointments in Snohomish County (Armstrong, Serene and Stickney) that were poor performers compared to last year,” Hoffman said.
We’ve had some triploid plants (around Puget Sound area) like we have in the past, and people always like those bigger fish,” Hoffman said. “We also had some high grading
where our checkers saw all limits of triploid fish, but it seems like people were happy.”
At Wilderness Lake in Maple Valley, which always draws a huge opening day crowd showed a catch of 2.3 fish kept per angler (one was 19 inches long) compared to 2.3 last year.
“There was a lot of life jacket enforcement at Wilderness and (kids) weren’t wearing their life jackets so that is always a good message to get out,” Hoff man said. “At North Lake some people thought they weren’t having the same success rate as last year, and were going to try other lakes to get a different opportunity.”
The top two lakes in the Puget Sound region were Riley Lake in Snohomish County, and Toad Lake in Whatcom County. At press time there hadn’t been check results from popular lakes like Pine on the Issaquah Plateau.
“Riley was the best at 5.0 (fish kept per angler), and basically everyone checked had a daily limit of five fish,” Hoffman said. “Toad was the next best performer (4.3 compared to 2.6 last year).”
“The checkers said people could have landed a lot more fish on many lakes since there was a lot of releasing going on,” Hoff man said. “So the catch rates aren’t always indicative of what you could bring home if you wanted to.”
Up north, Padden Lake (3.1 fish per angler kept) in Bellingham, which has excellent bank access drew the largest crowds.
“The peak count at Padden had 360 shore anglers,and according to the checker it was shoulder to shoulder,” Hoffman said.
Down in South King County, at Steel Lake located two miles west of Auburn, the angler turnout was moderate although a catch rate of 3.3 fish per rod (3.9 last year) was decent.
“The crowd got stronger as the morning progressed, and people were catching fish (between 10 and 12 inches) consistently the whole time,” said Justin Spinelli, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist who checked at Steel. “There was no dead spots in the lake, and folks were successful both from shore and boat. That might encourage more bank anglers to go out in the days to come.”
In Thurston County, Bruce Boulding, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist reported many anglers had their five-fish limits at Long Lake on the southeast side of Lacey before 7:30 a.m., and fishing was good all morning.
Other good Thurston County lakes included Summit (several carryover trout to 17 inches), Hicks (one trout weighed 5 pound), Deep, McIntosh (36 fish checked were to 16 inches, including several to 20 inches) and Clear. In Pierce County the best catches came from Carney, Crescent, Clear and Tanwax lakes.
Catch results from lakes east of the Cascades weren’t available yet, but I will update this as they come in.
However, Chad Jackson, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Region 2 that includes Grant, Douglas, Chelan and Okanogan counties reported pretty darn good trout fishing action.
King County: Cottage, 4.1 (1.6 last year); Geneva, 3.6 (5.0); North, 1.9 (1.0); Langlois, 2.9 (3.1), including a 20-inch holdover trout; Walker, 3.9 (1.4) and Wilderness, 2.3 (2.7).
Island County: Deer, 1.7 (2.6).
Skagit County: Erie, 3.4 (4.0); Heart 3.4 (4.7); McMurray, 1.6 (3.8); and Sixteen, 1.1 (2.0).
Snohomish County: Armstrong, 0.4 (2.5); Serene, 0.16 (1.5); Stickney, 0.14 (2.0); Bosworth, 3.0 (2.5); Crabapple, 1.7 (not available); Howard, 2.15 (2.8); Ki, 3.14 (1.9); Martha, 2.3 (2.3); and Storm, 3.0 (4.3).
Whatcom County: Cain, 2.75 (2.7); Padden, 3.1 (3.4); and Silver, 2.8 (1.6).
Thurston County: Clear, 3.18; Deep, 4.17; Hicks, 3.40; Long, 3.63; McIntosh, 3.06; Pattison, 0.83; Summit, 3.34; and Ward, 1.60.
Pierce County: Carney, 2.31; Clear, 1.96; Crescent, 2.37; Ohop, 1.50; Rapjohn, 1.59; Silver, 1.71; Jackson, .067; and Tanwax, 2.44.
(Photo taken by Steve Ringman, Seattle Times staff photographer, and Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter)