Trout fishing is off and running at hundreds of lakes across the state, as spring chinook salmon continue to push into fishing areas higher and higher up the Columbia River Basin. In marine waters, fishing seasons for spot shrimp and halibut are set to open on various dates this month, when more razor-clam digs are scheduled on coastal beaches.
With new fishing opportunities opening throughout the state, May is a great time to go fishing, said John Long, a fisheries manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“Some of the most popular fisheries are available in May,” Long said. “So, if you like to fish, now is a great time to get out on the water.”
Details about those fisheries – as well as hunting and other outdoor activities available this month – are available for each region of the state on WDFW’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/. These reports are updated throughout the month for changes in fishing rules and other developments.
While every fishery has its fans, none draws bigger crowds than the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which opened statewide on the last Saturday in April. Several hundred thousand anglers traditionally turn out for that event and most continue to fish for trout during the six-month season.
Catch rates at more than 100 Washington lakes on opening day are posted on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/creel/lowland/2015.html.
To prepare for that day, WDFW planted more than 2 million trout ranging from 11-inch “catchables” to 11-pound lunkers. Now the tanker trucks are rolling again, delivering more fish to Washington lakes.
“We stock lakes with trout for the whole season, not just opening day,” said Chris Donley, WDFW Inland Fish Program manager. “Trout fishing should be highly productive in lowland lakes through June, and then again in September. However, some continue to fish well for trout and kokanee all summer. At higher elevation lakes, anglers should also find good fishing throughout the summer.”
For more information on lake fishing opportunities, check WDFW’s Fish Washington website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/.
For most anglers, a valid 2015-16 fishing license is required to fish in Washington state. The exception is young people under age 15, who fish for free. Licenses are avaiIable online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/, by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state. A list of license vendors is available at wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/ and from local WDFW offices.