The only certain harbinger of spring is not birdsong, nor love in the air, nor Little League baseball signups, nor fields of daffodils, nor even the U.S. Naval Observatory. It’s only spring when the hatchery trucks start rolling, carrying trout for dozens of local lakes.
And yes, they’re on the road. They’ll first head for our year-around fishing lakes, then next month to those which open on the traditional last Saturday of April (the 26th this year), said biologist Justin Spinelli at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s La Conner office.
“We try to wait as long as possible,” Spinelli said, “to keep the cormorant predation to a minimum.”
If only a trout outing will clear the head and cure cabin fever, grab the rod and the Power Bait and head out this weekend to any of the following. They’ve all been stocked and are all open year-around:
- Lake Ballinger was stocked March 11 with 6,500 trout, running 2.5 to the pound;
- Blackmans Lake, March 4 and 5, with 4,000 full half-pounders;
- Chain Lake, March 11, with 2,000 trout, running 2.7 to the pound;
- Flowing Lake, March 11, with 6,000 fish, running 2.7 to the pound;
- Lake Loma, March 12, with 1,700 fish, running 2.5 to the pound;
- Lake Martha (Warm Beach), March 12, with 2,800 trout, running 2.5 to the pound;
- Silver Lake, March 12, with 6,000 trout, running 2.5 to the pound;
- Lake Tye, March 4, with 1,500 trout going a full half-pound.
Spinelli said Gissberg Ponds (“Twin Lakes”) will be stocked later this month — 2,000 fish in the north lake and 5,000 in the south. Remember that the north lake is open to juveniles only.
Plants of larger triploid rainbow in selected lakes, averaging about a pound and a half each, are scheduled for April and May.
Blackmans Lake in Snohomish might be the best bet for this weekend. Not only did it get a good plant of state fish going a foot or so each, but by the end of this week it will have received 300 triploid rainbow from about 18 inches to 4 or 5 pounds. These trout are high-quality fish purchased by the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club with funds generated by the annual Everett Coho Derby.
Club spokesman Mark Spada said Blackmans will be stocked by the club periodically each couple of weeks, for six to eight weeks.
“We may put some trout into Flowing (Lake) as well,” Spada said, “but we’re not sure of that right now.”
All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein of Everett did pretty well over the weekend on feeder chinook in the local area, but he had to move around to find them. Double Bluff, Point No Point and Columbia Beach all put out a fish or two, he said, in relatively shallow water of 80 to 100 feet, on green UV Coho Killer spoons.
For Saturday’s blackmouth derby (see Pick of the Week), Krein said the larger fish traditionally come from Saratoga Passage spots such as Elger Bay, Baby Island, Onomac and others. Because high, muddy rivers have been keeping large sections of local saltwater on the murky side, however, he said don’t be afraid to go shallow.
“Those fish will tend to be in the upper, cleaner, water levels,” he said, “so give it a shot at 40 feet or so, or even less.”
This year’s “Salmon for Soldiers” fishing event will be held Sept. 13 out of the Port of Everett, and organizers are soliciting boats to host wounded veterans.
The event is held in association with The Outdoor Line radio show on 710 ESPN Seattle, and the Wounded Veterans Fishing Program. Last year’s fish-in pulled 130 wounded vets and more than 200 are expected this year.
For more information, call Dave Davenport at 425-870-8478, or visit www.salmonforsoldiers.com.
Red’s Fly Shop on the Yakima River will present its fifth annual “Red’s Rendezvous” on April 12, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with equipment reps, casting competitions, free fishing clinics and other good stuff. Visit www.redsflyshop.com.
North Of Falcon
Don’t forget the public meeting March 22nd, 6-8 p.m., at the state Fish and Wildlife Department’s Mill Creek office, to give your input into this summer’s salmon seasons. The address is 16018 Mill Creek Boulevard, phone 425-775-1311; or visit http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
A great razor clam digging season continues on the coastal beaches, and thr state added more opportunity recently as the number of harvestable clams remains high. Tentative digs and tides are as follows:
- March 26, 3:52 p.m., 0.3 feet, Twin Harbors;
- March 27, 4:48 p.m., 0.1 feet, Twin Harbors;
- March 28, 5:38 p.m., 0.0 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, and Mocrocks;
- March 29, 6:23 p.m., 0.0 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.
Seasonal switch to morning tides:
- March 30, 6:53 a.m., minus 0.1 fet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, and Mocrocks;
- March 31, 7:39 a.m., minus 0.5 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach.
A 2014 license is required for the following digs:
- April 1, 8:22 a.m., minus 0.7 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach;
- April 2, 9:05 a.m., minus 0.6 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach;
- April 3, 9:49 a.m., minus 0.3 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach.
- April 14, 6:46 a.m., plus 0.2 feet, Twin Harbors;
- April 15, 7:24 a.m., minus 0.3 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach;
- April 16, 8:03 a.m., minus 0.6 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach;
- April 17, 8:43 a.m., minus 0.8 feet, Twin Harbors and Long Beach;
- April 18, 9:26 a.m., minus 0.8 feet, Twin Harbors, LongBeach and Mocrocks;
- April 19, 10:14 a.m., minus 0.7 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks;
- April 20, 11:06 a.m., minus 0.4 feet, Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis, and Mocrocks.
A fair number of Washington steelheaders have started exploring Idaho steelhead fishing the past few years, and the Idaho Fish and Game Department has posted the latest steelhead catch rates for various portions of the Salmon River, the state’s premier steelhead stream. The best success rates came from the upper Salmon, from the mouth of the Middle Fork upsteam to North Fork, at 7 hours per fish.
For the full report visit the agency’s web site, http://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=126. The agency has also posted a recent video of steelheading on the upper salmon on their YouTube channel at http://youtu.be/SWeKlfuKVHE.