MILL CREEK — The docks around Martha Lake were packed with fishermen, some of them waiting for hours to reel in a single fish.
Not John Degroot.
Degroot, 54, of Everett, needed only an hour to catch five silvery trout from the Mill Creek lake.
“I limited out, so today was good for me,” Degroot said.
Roughly 300,000 anglers were expected to wet their fishing lines Saturday, the opening day of the lowland lakes trout season in Washington.
To prepare for the opening day, the state Fish and Wildlife Department stocked more than 300 lakes with 24 million trout. Most of the fish ranged in size from 7 to 11 inches.
Martha Lake, which opened for fishing Saturday, was recently stocked with about 10,000 trout. Other lakes in Snohomish County that were stocked with hatchery fish include Silver Lake in Everett, Lake Roesiger near Monroe and Lake Serene in Lynnwood.
Fishing is allowed year-round at some lakes in the county.
Shawn Wilson, 27, was at Martha Lake for opening day with his 3-year-old daughter, Marissa. The previous morning, Marissa used her SpongeBob SquarePants pole to catch her first fish — a 12-inch rainbow trout — at Twin Lakes in Smokey Point.
“Her first words when she caught the fish were ‘fish on,’” Wilson said.
Wilson and his daughter were at Twin Lakes and Silver Lake on Saturday before coming to Martha Lake. They had yet to catch a fish, but they watched plenty of other people reel in their dinners.
“Quite a few people have caught their limit already and left,” Wilson said.
Patrick Afaisen, 45, of Lacey was one of the first fishermen to arrive at Martha Lake on opening day. He made time to fish in Snohomish County while traveling to Blaine for work.
By late morning, he had caught three trout.
“Every lake is different,” said Afaisen, who usually fishes at lakes in southern Washington. “Down there, the fish are bigger than they are up here.”
Although Degroot caught his limit early, he hung out at Martha Lake throughout the morning. His son, Robbie Degroot, was still trying to catch his fifth fish of the day.
The younger Ddegroot had hooked what appeared to be a 13-inch trout, but the big fish got away when his line wrapped around a lily pad and snapped a few feet from the dock.
He didn’t let that ruin his day.
“This is great, it’s nice,” Robbie Degroot said. “I wish it wasn’t so crowded.”
Reporter Scott Pesznecker: 425-339-3436 or firstname.lastname@example.org.