Lifestyle

Lake fishing season starts April 30 | Federal Way's waters stocked with lots of rainbow trout

Local waters will experience a big rush on April 30 as lake fishing season begins.

Approximately 300,000 anglers statewide are expected to try and land the “Big One.”

“This is the biggest day of the year,” said Phil Anderson, director of the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), in a news release. “Lakes in every county are well-stocked, so fishing families can keep travel costs down by enjoying good angling close to home.”

Federal Way residents should have no problems reeling in the big one. According to the WDFW, approximately 31,600 rainbow trout have been stocked in local lakes. Steel Lake, North Lake and Lake Geneva have the most abundance with 8,000, 6,000 and 5,800 stocked fish, respectively. Five Mile Lake, Star Lake and Lake Killarney have stocks around 3,800 fish, while Lake Dolloff, Lake Holm and Lake Fenwick have numbers around 2,000 fish.

Statewide, the WDFW has been busy during the offseason:

• 50,000 triploid (sterile) trout, averaging 1-1.5 pounds each, were stocked in 108 lakes.

• 84,000 two-year-old “jumbo” and surplus hatchery broodstock trout, ranging from 1.5-5 pounds, were put into 172 lakes.

• 6.8 million trout, planted in 474 lakes last year, are now in the 8- to 12-inch catchable range.

• 10.2 million kokanee fry found their way to 34 lakes throughout the state, while 3.5 million catchable-size trout were added to state waters this year.

Before fishing fanatics head out, there are a few items anglers need to make sure they acquire before casting that first line. At the top of the checklist is a fishing license.

Anglers ages 16 to 69 pay $26 for a license. Fifteen-year-olds and persons with a disability can get a license for $11. People over age 70 can obtain a license for $8. Children under age 14 do not need a license.

“Since kids under 14 fish for free,” Anderson said, “this lake opener is a great way for families to get outdoors together.”

Licenses can be purchased at the WDFW website (www.fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov), by phone at (866) 246-9453, or at license dealers. Information on license dealers can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors.

Another item prospective anglers should procure is a vehicle user permit for the 600-plus water access sites operated by the WDFW. In order to use these sites, fishers must have the permit on display in their vehicles. Permits are free with the purchase of a fishing license, and can be transferred between two vehicles. Additional permits are $6 for those who purchase a recreational license, and $12 for those who wish to use local waters for other reasons.

With the expected rush of anglers to WDFW water access sites, awareness is needed by anglers and lake-goers alike.

“With our biggest fishing crowds out on this opener, it’s especially important for everyone to be patient and safe at these boat launches and docks,” said Jim Uehara, WDFW inland fishing program manager, in a news release. “Everyone in boats, and all children on shore, should use personal flotation devices.”

To learn more about fishing sites and regulations, visit wdfw.wa.gov.

 

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