Hundreds of thousands of fishermen will descend on trout-stocked lakes April 28 to kick off the state’s lowland lakes trout-fishing season.
Hatchery crews from the the state Department of Fish & Wildlife have been working since last year to stock millions of fish in lakes throughout the state.
A new Fish Washington mobile app will be officially released later this month to allow anglers to learn the particulars of a body of water.
The app is designed to give up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area. For those who want an early look, visit the fishing app webpage at wdfw.wa.gov.
All 2017-18 state fishing licenses expired at midnight March 31, so now is the time to buy a 2018-19 license.
Those who usually buy a combination license may want to consider buying the new “Fish Washington” license. It includes fresh and saltwater, shellfish and seaweed, razor clams, two-pole endorsement, Puget Sound crab, and Columbia River salmon and steelhead endorsements.
The current fishing rules pamphlet remains valid through June 30.
Opening day will also kick off Fish & Wildlife’s third annual trout fishing derby.
Anglers who catch tagged fish in lowland lakes can claim prizes ranging from fishing gear to gift cards from license dealers throughout the state. For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit the derby webpage.
Out in the saltwater, marine areas 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gamble) are open to salmon fishing through the end of the month.
Anglers have a daily limit of one salmon and must release wild chinook and coho in these areas.
Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) is open to salmon fishing through Sunday, April 15. State fishery managers recently increased the daily limit in Marine Area 9 to two salmon, but anglers must release wild chinook and coho. Make sure and check the rule change for details.
Anglers should also consider targeting cutthroat trout and resident coho in the Sound. Fly fishers often find success with chum fry patterns during tidal changes near rivers and points.
The spring wild turkey season runs April 15 through May 31 throughout the state.
April continues to be prime time for gray whale watching, particularly in the waters around Whidbey and Camano islands.
The whales are part of a larger population making its annual journey north from the coast of Mexico to the Arctic Ocean, where the animals spend the summer feeding before heading south again.
While most continue on to Alaska, some gray whales linger in the waters of the Pacific Northwest during the summer months.