The early results from the statewide trout fishing opener on lowland lakes seemed to be good despite early morning rain, slightly breezy conditions which eventually gave way to sunshine and warmer temperatures.
“Everyone was doing really well on the opener,” said Danny Garrett, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist who conducted creel surveys at Margaret Lake in King County that was planted with 5,000 trout.
“I also saw a lot of cutthroat trout, and many limited as well, but the harvest rate was 3.3 fish per person since several anglers released fish,” Garrett said.
That bonus cutthroat trout catch in creel checks were likely due to good survival of fry planted last year in many lakes, and have now grown to catchable-size fish.
Creel checkers also reported good catches of cutthroat at Cottage and Goss lakes.
Loren Brokaw, a state Fish and Wildlife checker at Cottage a 63-acre lake in northern King County reported 30 adults and seven kids were checked by 9:45 a.m. with trout ranging 9 to 11 inches and one carryover that taped out at 15 inches.
“I’ve seen people leaving with the five-fish limits, and it was better than last year at Cottage,” Brokaw said.
Cottage was planted with more than 12,000 catchable-sized trout for the opener, and judging by the span of one hour I was at the lake I saw numerous folks catching their fair share of the fish.
During the past few years, state fisheries managers found a cost-effective way to increase the average size of planted hatchery trout from 7 to 9 inches to 10 to 12 inches, much to the satisfaction of anglers interviewed on the opener.
In Eastern Washington, Chris Donley, the state Fish and Wildlife inland fish manager in Spokane, reported good fishing at Horsethief Lake in Klickitat County.
“The whole gorge area lakes were fishing well on the opener,” Donley said. “Turnout was better than what we had seen in previous seasons too.”
I will post the creel checks later this afternoon. In the meantime anglers, can look at the plant figures by going to the state Fish and Wildlife’s web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html.