Tag Archives: FISH STOCKING

Stocker Rainbows Adding Color To Fall Fishing Ops In Washington

A number of Western and Central Washington lakes are being stocked with nice-sized trout for fall fishing.

FALL ANGLERS FISH OFF A DOCK AT SEATTLE’S GREEN LAKE, WHICH RECEIVED 1,511 TWO-THIRDS-POUND RAINBOWS IN LATE OCTOBER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW says these rainbows average 15-plus inches, with some bouncing the scales at 3 pounds.

Releases are slated to occur prior to Black Friday at:

Clark County: Battle Ground Lake and Klineline Pond
Cowlitz County: Kress Lake
King County: Beaver, Fivemile, Green and Steel Lakes
Klickitat County: Rowland Lake
Lewis County: Fort Borst Park and South Lewis County Park Ponds
Mason County: Spencer Lake
Pacific County: Cases Pond
Pierce County: American and Tanwax Lakes
Skagit County: Clear and Cranberry Lakes
Snohomish County: Ballinger, Silver and Tye Lakes and Gissberg Ponds
Thurston County: Black, Long, and Offut Lakes
Whatcom County: Padden Lake
Yakima County: North Elton Pond

To narrow down the timeframe, keep an eye on https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/stocking/trout-plants.

THANKS TO STATE HATCHERY RELEASES, WASHINGTON ANGLERS CAN ENJOY CATCHING AND EATING NICE-SIZED RAINBOWS LIKE THESE IN FALL. (JOSHUA MYERS VIA WDFW)

Steel and Padden were scheduled to close after Halloween, but have been kept open past New Year’s Day via a rule change that came out last week, and were both recently stocked and will be again around Thanksgiving.

WDFW is running a pilot program focusing on expanding fishing opportunities in Pugetropolis’s I-5 corridor.

“I’m really excited to offer these fisheries and hopefully it leads to getting more people into the sport,” WDFW biologist Justin Spinelli in Mill Creek told Mark Yuasa for an article in our latest issue. “We’re trying this out in urban-centered areas. We know a lot of people in the cities may be interested in getting outside and going fishing. This allows them to access nearby lakes and it’s not too complicated and doesn’t require a whole bunch of gear.”

In Eastern Washington, Fourth of July Lake on the Adams-Lincoln County line, Hatch and Williams Lakes in Stevens County, and Hog Canyon Lake in Spokane County will open on Black Friday for a winter fishery powered by previous years’ trout fly plants.

“WDFW’s trout stocking and hatchery programs are active year-round,” said Steve Caromile, the agency’s Inland Fish Program manager. “We provide the gift of spending time with friends and family on lakes around the state, at any time of the year.”

Anglers 15 years and older need a freshwater fishing license to dangle worms, eggs and other offerings for trout in lakes. Licenses are available online and at numerous local outlets.

Oregon PCT Lakes Stocked With Trout For Beloved ‘Wilderness Fishing Experience’

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

More than 350,000 fingerling trout are splashing down in hundreds of high mountain lakes across the Cascade Range from Mt. Hood to Klamath Falls this week, as the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife readies the waters along the Pacific Coast Trail for hikers, anglers, fly fishermen and backpackers.

A HELICOPTER RETURNS FROM A FISH-STOCKING SITE WITH ODFW TROUT SHUTTLE IN TOW. THE SHUTTLE IS EQUIPPED WITH 30 RESERVOIRS THAT HOLD WATER AND FINGERLING TROUT, WHICH ARE RELEASED EVERY OTHER YEAR IN MORE THAN 350 OF OREGON’S HIGH MOUNTAIN LAKES. (ODFW)

“Oregon is the only state that I know of that has such a robust high mountain fish stocking program,” said project leader Erik Moberly, ODFW fish biologist from Bend. “We want to provide a unique angling experience for backpackers and hikers who might like to catch a cutthroat or brook trout for dinner around the campfire.”

CARL LEWALLEN LOOKS TOWARD A PAIR OF LAKES IN OREGON’S CASCADES DURING A FOUR-DAY HIKING AND FISHFEST ON THE PACIFIC CREST TRAIL LAST SUMMER. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Every two years, ODFW releases fingerling trout into Oregon’s high lakes. The trout are transported mostly by helicopter in a custom made shuttle carrying 30 individual canisters that hold a few gallons of water and up to 1,000 fingerling trout. The canisters are opened individually by remote control from inside the cockpit while the chopper hovers over a lake.

JACQUELINE LEWALLEN SHOWS OFF A NICE ALPINE TROUT CAUGHT IN OREGON’S CASCADES LAST SUMMER. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Biologists like to use three-inch, juvenile fish because they can load more of them onto the aircraft and make the 100 ft. fall to the lake with less trauma than larger fish, which improves survival rates. Ninety-five percent of the little fish survive the long freefall into the lake but biologist believe they may have more difficulty surviving once they’re in the lake than larger fish. So this year in some locations ODFW is experimenting with larger trout, to see how their overall survival compares to the younger fish

BROOKIES ARE AMONG THE MOST COMMON OF HIGH LAKES TROUT. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

In this way, ODFW seeds off-the-beaten-track lakes with juvenile brook, cutthroat, and rainbow trout that will live on another two years or more to become the eight inches that anglers can legally retain. With any luck, some will grow up to be 15 inches or more, which ODFW classifies as “trophy” trout.

“Trout fishing is still by far our most popular type of fishing in Oregon,” said Mike Gauvin, manager of ODFW’s Recreational Fisheries Program. “The thing about Oregon’s high lakes is there are not a lot of places in the lower 48 United States where you can have this kind of wilderness fishing experience.” It is not unusual in Oregon’s mountain lakes for anglers to have an entire lake to themselves.

LOOKS LIKE BROOK TROUT FRESH FROM OREGON CASCADES WATERS IS ON THE MENU FOR MARY WALKER! SHE JOINED SON CARL LEWALLEN AND DAUGHTER IN LAW JACQUELINE ON THE FOUR-DAY HIKE ON THE PCT. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

High lakes fish stocking has been going on for decades. What is new is technology that makes aerial stocking highly efficient. In Oregon, biologists for each participating watershed district plot the flight paths and release sites on handheld GPS units, which they then use onboard the helicopter to help the pilot navigate directly to each lake with pinpoint accuracy and lightning speed. A helicopter crew can seed as many as 20 lakes with 20,000 trout in a single one-hour flight. In other areas, ODFW still gets trout to the outback the old-fashioned way – afoot or on horseback with the help of volunteers.

To see which mountain lakes are stocked with trout, please refer to ODFW’s on-line Trout Stocking Schedule, which lists past releases by year and species. Anglers should bear in mind it takes two years from release to reach “catchable” or “legal” sizes, and factor that into fishing plans.o