How many fish are headed to your Washington lake this year?
WDFW’s just posted its 2018 statewide stocking plan, and it shows the agency will release 2.17 million catchables and 124,500 jumbos this year as well as let loose 12.9 million fingerlings and put-and-grow fish last year for harvest this spring and summer.
Species include kokanee, rainbow, cutthroat, brown, brook and tiger trout, as well as triploid brookies.
All totaled, nearly 17 million trout and kokes have or will be stocked in just under 540 Evergreen State lakes, with fish headed for every county except Garfield, which according to my trusty Lakes of Washington, Volume II, Eastern Washington (second edition) had in 1973 all of 32.1 acres of lakeage.
As always, WDFW’s plan includes information on each lake’s size, fishing season, species and number of fish released, as well as which month they’ll be let loose, to give you an idea of relative density of stocking and when to hit it.
Hatchery tanker trucks will also be making the rounds ahead of the lowland lakes opener on the fourth Saturday in April, and according to the agency, anglers can again expect noticeably bigger trout than historically.
“Catchables were on average eight inches in length, but this year, they will be closer to 11 inches,” WDFW states.
And the statewide trout derby will also begin April 28. This year it features nearly $40,000 in prizes from 120 companies for those who catch any of the 1,000 specially tagged rainbows stocked in more than 100 lakes. That’s up from 2017 and well above the first derby back in 2016.