Tag Archives: tiger trout

Rainbows And More To Catch On Eastside Trout Opener, Y-R Lakes

Washington’s big late April trout opener is just eight sleeps away and Westside lakes are sure to be packed.

While there may be fewer lowland lakes in Eastern Washington, it’s just as big doin’s as west of the crest, and not just for rainbows.

We checked in with a pair of state fisheries biologists to get their thoughts on how this year’s season will go in two of the best regions on the Eastside.

PHIL REICH HOLDS A NICE RAINBOW HE CAUGHT AT AN EASTERN WASHINGTON LAKE A COUPLE SPRINGS AGO. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

PERHAPS SOME OF THE BEST PROSPECTS can be found in Spokane-based biologist Randy Osborne’s district.

“I would guess that Badger is going to be one of the better trout lakes this spring,” he said about the upper Channeled Scablands lake which was rehabbed in 2015 and then restocked with a very heavy hand. “There’s a lot of fish there to be caught.”

“Williams Lake should fish good as well,” he adds. “West Medical – we killed that after last fall, but it will be stocked with a healthy dose of catchables and broodstock fish to get it going.”

Yellow perch are starting to cut into the productivity at Fish Lake near Cheney, but it still should fish “OK” this season, forecasts Osborne.

He also expects Clear Lake near Medical Lake to be consistent.

Osborne also has two year-round options: Lake Spokane/Long Lake, which has been producing good trout fishing this past winter and last year.

It also has walleye, and he encourages anglers to target them. “We’ve sampled some to 10 pounds.”

And Pacific Lake, north of Odessa, for rainbows.

“I went out there last year and it was crazy good,” says Osborne. “I was just sampling with rod and reel and in two hours caught 36 fish. They ranged from 14 to 17 inches. When the ice gets off, it should be good.”

A WILLIAMS LAKE ANGLER SHOWS OFF A WDFW STATEWIDE TROUT DERBY-TAGGED RAINBOW, CAUGHT ON LAST YEAR’S OPENER AT THE SPOKANE-AREA WATER. (WDFW)

YES, RAINBOWS GET A LOT OF ATTENTION, but they’re far from being the only fish to catch in spring, especially in the Okanogan.

That’s where Ryan Fortier is based, and he gave us his best bets for this season.

“Kokanee fishing has been gaining in popularity, with Alta and Conconully Lake being the two most popular and consistent fisheries,” the WDFW District 6 fisheries biologist says.

“The Alta pressure is getting a bit heavy, but Conconully can handle the larger crowds well. Patterson Lake near Winthrop has a good age-class coming up this year compared to the last five years. The other stocked lakes are Bonaparte, Spectacle and Conconully Reservoir. Palmer is not expected to have a fishery for another two more years.”

On the spinyray front, there are plenty of options too.

“Palmer, Leader, and Washburn Island Pond have been the most popular fisheries,” says Fortier. “There are lots of campers staying at the DNR campgrounds at Palmer and Leader who fish and swim on the lakes. Washburn Island was stocked with some largemouth two years ago and has produced some good sizes.”

But if your sights are set on trout, he has options for those too. He expected Pearrygin, Alta and the Conconullies to produce as usual at the opener last month, and that is likely to continue into May.

“Wannacut near Tonasket has produced the largest fish on average over the previous two summers,” he says.

Unfortunately, Fish Lake, not too far to the south, is “in need of a rehab” to get rid of overabundant bullheads, Fortier says.

It sounds like he expects quality trout waters like Aeneas, Blue, Chopaka and Davis to continue as they have, but there are two other lakes to start plugging into your radar.

“Buzzard (Loup Loup Pass) has been growing in popularity, and Campbell (Winthrop) has received low pressure despite better than usual sizes since the 2014 fires,” he hints.

Speaking of fires, Black Pine Lake high in the mountains west of Carlton was closed much of last summer due to wildfire activity, so it “should probably have some good carryovers for cutthroat when the snow clears in late May,” Fortier says.

And if you’re looking for something a little exotic that affords a chance to break a state record, you could do worse than Bonaparte Lake and its brook-brown hybrids.

SPRING IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL TIMES TO CHECK OUT THE HIGHLAND LAKES OF EASTERN WASHINGTON. HERE’S THE VIEW DOWN ONTO BONAPARTE LAKE, WHERE THE SIZE OF TIGER TROUT BORDERS ON BEING “TALL TALES,” ACCORDING TO THE DISTRICT FISHERIES BIOLOGIST. THE STATE RECORD 18.49-POUND HYBRID CAME FROM HERE IN MAY 2015. (USFS)

“The tiger trout sizes reported in the lake have been bordering on tall tales,” says Fortier. “We will try to do a more intense survey this year to get an idea of what has changed and if the rumors are true.”

And don’t forget Lake Rufus Woods! It will be stocked with 22,000 2-plus-pound triploid trout between March and June, according to tribal managers’ plans.

2018 Washington Trout Stocking Plan Out

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.

WHITE SALMON’S MIGUEL PEREZ AND CEDAR WILLEY LIMITED OUT AT PAMPA POND IN THE SOUTHWESTERN PALOUSE WHILE USING POWER-BAIT IN LATE APRIL OF LAST YEAR. LES LOGSDON OF NEARBY HOOD RIVER SNAPPED THE PIC. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

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.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Statewide stocking plan

Weekly stocking stats

Fish Washington (info on lakes, regs, access)

Statewide fishing derby

Panhandle Lake Yields 3 New State Records — In Same Day

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND GAME

The state record for Tiger Trout stood at 17.5 inches before Free Fishing Day on June 10. By the end of the day, it had been broken not once, not twice, but three times at Deer Creek Reservoir during the fishing events sponsored by IDFG and the Pierce/Weippe Chamber of Commerce.

WHEN ALL WAS SAID AND DONE ON IDAHO’S FREE FISHING DAY EARLIER THIS MONTH, RICHARD MILLER OWNED THE STATE RECORD FOR HYBRID TIGER TROUT … THOUGH WITH HOW FAST THE HIGH MARK WAS BROKEN THAT DAY, WHO KNOWS HOW LONG HE’LL HOLD ONTO IT! (IDFG)

To start off, a 17.6-inch fish was caught, just barely breaking the record. This new record quickly fell, as an 18-inch fish and a 19.5-inch fish were caught  The new record was landed by Richard Miller, and weighed 2.65 lbs. Mr. Miller’s fish has been verified and certified as the new state record. Congratulations Richard! This up and coming fishery is sure to produce some even bigger Tiger Trout in the future, so get out there and see if you can break the new record!

A tiger trout is a hybrid between a brown trout and a brook trout. They’re a sterile fish that is stocked in a few select location around the state which you can see on Fish and Games Fish Planner page.

If you want to get a better look at tiger trout, check out this video when they were stocked in Deer Creek Reservoir.