Angling for a good time: 2017 lowland lakes trout season

Orcas Island Trout CC FKR wplynn

April 19, 2017

It’s time to get out for trout!

Whether you prefer to angle from the shore or a boat, this is the best time of year to fish for trout in Washington! So come and cast your cares away. Saturday is opening day for trout fishing at lowland lakes across the state. 

floy tag yellow
Winning! If you find a yellow "floy" tag attached to the trout you caught in Washington this year between April 22 and Oct. 31, then lucky you! Call the number on the tag and claim your prize!

This year the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is ramping up its annual Trout Fishing Derby. The 2017 derby runs longer this year—from April 22 through Oct. 31.  WDFW hatchery crews are stocking the waters for a great season with more than 16 million trout and Kokanee in lakes on both sides of the Cascades.

Adding to the fun, the WDFW is partnering with dozens of retailers across the state to bring you a chance at more than 900 prizes by catching one of the tagged trout being released in 100 lakes statewide, including 13 lakes located in state parks. The yellow tube-shaped tags, called “floy” tags, are attached to the dorsal fin. Each tag correlates to a prize, so don’t accidentally toss those out when you are cleaning your catch!

The Basics
Tiny rainbow trout. CCFKR US Fish and Wildlife Service
This is not the trout you were looking for! Refer to your 2017 WDFW guide to help you know whether it's a keeper or you should toss it back and just tell everyone a good story about it.

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!

  1. You will need a fishing license. Before you head out, check WDFW’s website. You can get your license, download the latest Sport fishing Rules Pamphlet  Safety first! Even a relatively serene activity like trout fishing carries some risks. Bone up here on staying safe while angling, especially when taking the kids. Also, remembering your bug repellent and sunscreen will make for a better trip.
  2. Wear. Your. Life jacket. Remember, if you don’t, it doesn’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 life jackets, look for one of the many life jacket loaner kiosks in state parks!
  3. Got a fishing boat? Awesome! But first comes the spring tune-up for your craft. Next stops: Washington State Boater Education Card and up-to-date boat and trailer licenses. Also, if you are new to boating, make sure your craft is appropriate for the conditions. NEVER drink and drive a boat, and make sure you have ample and properly sized life jackets for you and all your passengers! Don’t forget to check the weather conditions before you go and be familiar with all the potential boating hazards that can crop up under that seemingly placid lake surface. When in doubt about where dangerous conditions lie, ask your ranger or other park staff!
  4. Itching to try fishing? Never done it before? Why not let the sport’s old hands show you how it’s done — and maybe discover 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!

Whatever the weather, it's fun to be together for a day of fishing, food and family like these folks enjoying derby days at Lake Sylvia State Park. 

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!

Here’s the list of lakes in state parks that are being stocked with trout this year:

Curlew Lake State Park (Republic)
Big skies, tranquil waters and great fishing at a park with an old-time campground feel. What could be better? A prize trout! Or, if you get lucky, maybe even one of the record-breaking tiger muskie that WDFW plants in the lake annually.

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park (Coulee City)

Both Rainbow and Deep lakes are being stocked here. Wide open and prone to great weather, this is a very nice park to start your 2017 camping and fishing adventures. Note: This park can get windy. Take appropriate cautions when casting and boating.

Alta Lake State Park (Pateros)
Where desert and mountains collide, you’ll find great fishing and a dramatic landscape to enjoy. Well on its way back to recovery since the Carlton Complex fire scorched the land in 2014, Alta Lake makes a great fishing vacation destination. And if they are not biting, try your luck at nearby Lake Chelan State Park!

Pearrygin Lake State Park (Winthrop)
Big skies and miles of great views are the icing on the cake at this great rainbow trout fishing lake in the Methow Valley. 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).

Conconully State Park (Conconully)
Here there be paradise! This park has been a fisherperson’s favorite for decades. Two bodies of water are being stocked with prize-winners here: Conconully Lake and Conconully Reservoir. Stay the night in one of the five awesome, cozy

Battle Ground Lake State Park (Battle Ground)
A deep, placid volcanic lake set in a deep grove of Douglas-fir trees? Yes, please! This lake is for human-powered craft only. A great escape from the nearby bustle of Vancouver and Portland!

Seaquest State Park (Castle Rock)
A super camping park with plenty of fish for those that angle, and lots of other activities for those that don’t. Enjoy a day of fishing on Silver Lake, and stop in to the
Mount St. Helens Visitor Center located right across the road!

Columbia Hills Historical State Park (Dallesport)
No “buttes” about it! Head out to fish in the warm, inviting climes of this Columbia River Region park, and you will be guaranteed a great time—and likely some great catches, too! The stocking here is happening on
Horsethief Lake, which dips inland from the river into the park.

Millersylvania State Park (Olympia)
A favorite Civilian Conservation Corps-era park for generations. Pretty setting in a classic Western Washington forest, State Parks' other Deep Lake is about as popular as a body of water can be. Our advice? You will have better luck parking and quieter fishing during non-weekend hours.

Lake Sylvia State Park (Montesano)
Lake Sylvia is everything you would imagine a beautiful fishing hole to be like and more! 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, a fishing dock (ADA accessible!) and popular bridge for fishing from. Non-motorized or electric craft only, please!

Anderson Lake State Park (Chimacum)
Looking for a nice place on the Olympic Peninsula to go swim and fish that is not saltwater? Anderson Lake is your destination. Come enjoy the fresh breezes and alder forests while you angle! This park also has lots of wide-open grounds perfect for a mid-day picnic and Frisbee game break!

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