The Adventure: Get out for Trout 2016!

Get out for trout
April 22, 2016

Attention all anglers:
Washington’s 2016 lowland lakes trout fishing season officially opens in 5, 4, 3…TOMORROW!

Get out for trout
Just get out your fishing pole! A day of trout fishing is as rewarding as it is relaxing. Picture of Lake Sylvia.
That means it’s time to get out and catch trout!

There are millions of trout to catch! This year the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has or will stock 560 bodies of water with 16.5 million trout and kokanee statewide. That includes 2.2 million catchable fish averaging 11 inches each (yep, they’re bigger this year), 161,000 jumbo trout averaging 14 inches and 33,000 triploid trout. Not to mention the millions of fry and fingerlings planted in 2014 that should be ready for harvest this year.

In short, your state parks lakes are teaming with trout! As some rangers say, if you can’t catch a trout at this time of year, you probably are nowhere near water.

First order of business: go get your fishing license AND a copy of the 2016 fishing regulations. Ok…cooler packed? Favorite flies, lures or bait ready to go? Got your Discover Pass? Let’s go fishing! Here’s just a few of our favorite holes for you to enjoy a relaxing day—or two—of fishing from a pier, boat or shore!
Get out for trout
Pearrygin Lake: One of many perfect and peaceful places to pass the day with your pole and your pal on a pier! Photo of couple at Pearrygin Lake State Park by Dana

Pearrygin Lake State Park

Big skies and miles of great views are the icing on the cake at this great rainbow trout fishing lake in the Methow Valley. Get a bite on your line, then maybe a bite to eat at the park’s concessions. Stay for the day, or better yet make it a weekend! Camp or stay at one of the park’s two cozy cabins for an easy and economical fishing getaway. There’s a boat launch (fees apply) and both motor and human-powered craft are permitted on the lake. If the kids get tired of fishing, send them for a dip in one of the park’s two swimming holes (if it’s warm enough, of course).

Alta Lake State Park

Where the mountain conifer forest,  shrub steppe grassland and Columbia River waters merge, magic happens…and great fishing, too! This popular, narrow lake is expected to have some amazing fishing this year. In addition to fish released last May, more than a 1,000 catchable rainbows were released here in early April.  The park has a store, boat launch, swimming areas and plenty of good camping! There’s even WiFi in the park! While you are loading the tackle in your car, why not throw in your golf clubs as well? The Alta Lake Golf Course—an 18 hole course —is right next door to the park and open for business!

Lake Sylvia State Park

Lake Sylvia is far from the biggest state park in Washington, but don’t be fooled… This park packs tons of recreational fun into its modest 233 acres. Nestled in the woods near Montesano, this old logging camp boasts 15,000 feet of freshwater shoreline, an ADA-accessible fishing dock and popular bridge for fishing from (picture above). There’s also cool old logging equipment and other historic features to explore, beautiful forest trails to hike, an idyllic campground, mountain biking, swimming, bird watching and LOTS of rainbow trout! Boats are allowed, and there is a launch—for human and electric-powered craft only. Reserve a campsite and make it a mini fishing vacation!

Lake Chelan State Park

Lake Chelan is, in a word, POPULAR! And for good reason! Not only is this a beautiful lake ringed by green shores and rolling hills, it’s a full-service family park with lots to see and do! Come for the fishing…and bring the boat!  Here you can boat, play sports on the grassy field, rent a stand-up paddleboard or just sit on the shore and fish. Remember, being popular, this park and its small parking lot tend to fill up fast. But if you have a boat to launch, why not head a short distance up to Twenty-five Mile Creek State Park where you’ll find even more great fishing, boating and even a modern marina! If you plan to camp, be sure to make reservations well in advance.

Battle Ground Lake State Park

It’s fun to fish in the forest! Battle Ground Lake is a lovely park on the banks of a deep, serene volcanic lake. Surrounded by pines, the waters here reflect the trees and sky. And motorized craft are not allowed, so there’s nothing to disturb the peace—or scare the fish. Plus, the lake has been stocked with nearly 20,000 trout since January. The fishing here is great and the camping even better! Reserve a campsite—or a cabin—and hang out for a few days in this relaxing jewel of a park!

Moran State Park

Freshwater fishing on an island? Ya sure, you betcha!  Picturesque Cascade Lake inside this gorgeous park is some of the best stocked rainbow, coastal cutthroat trout, kokanee and largemouth bass around. You will need to add extra time into your commute for the ferry ride out to the island.  But it’s well worth the trip. The park is popular, so if you want to stay out there, make arrangements early. Adding to the fun, the Bill Yarlott Annual Fishing Derby begins tomorrow (4/23/15) morning at 6:30 a.m. Come out for the fishing and stay for the pancake breakfast starting at 9:30 a.m. (Note: During the busy summer months, you’ll need to make a reservation if you’re going to drive on the ferry from Anacortes to the San Juans.)
The Basics
Get out for trout
Who are we? Washington State Parks! What do we want! YOU to wear your lifejacket!
New to fishing and boating? Haven’t been out on the water for a while? Here are some tips and handy links to help you get started or just remind you what you’ll need to pack along!
Get out for trout
With the exception of Free Fishing Days, most folks will need a fishing license, and other rules and regulations are always in effect. Before you head out, check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website. You can get your license, download the latest  and stay up-to-date on the latest fishing and shellfishing conditions.
Get out for trout
Safety first! Even a serene sport like fishing carries some risks. Bone up here on staying safe while angling, especially when taking the kids out. Also, with the weather a little warmer this year, biting insects numbers have been especially high, and there’s a greater risk of sunburn. Remembering your repellants and sunscreen will make for a better trip.
Get out for trout

Wear. Your. Life jacket. Remember, if you don’t, it won’t work. On a boat, life jackets are a given, but even if you are casting from the shore or a dock it’s a SUPER idea to wear one anyway and definitely put one on children. River, lake or ocean, if it’s deep, fast and wet, with a life jacket you’re better set! Handy tip: If you find you are short on life jackets, look for a life jacket loaner kiosk!
Get out for trout
Got a fishing boat? Awesome! But first comes the spring tune up for your craft. Next stops: up-to-date boat and trailer licenses. Also, if you are new to boating, make sure your craft is appropriate for the conditions. As always, NEVER drink and drive a boat and make sure you have ample and properly sized life jackets for you and all your passengers!
Get out for trout
Don’t know a walleye from a bass but itching to try fishing? Why not let the sport’s old hands show you how it’s done — and maybe the location of a sweet fishing hole or two! Join one of Washington’s many fishing clubs and organizations. Many are set up for the purpose of conservation and teaching. Some even offer courses in fly-tying and other fishing-related skills. Here are just a few to get you started!

Fishing tip:
WDFW has some handy tools on its website. Look up your favorite lake to see just how many and what types of fish were released and when! Or be inspired by these great fishing vacation ideas!

Where do you like to fish?
Tell us about it, and show us some pictures of that great catch here!

Feature photo of rainbow trout by Warren Lynn