Whatcom County anglers this season have more rainbow trout between 10 and 13 inches long awaiting them in four popular area lakes that open for personal use fishing on Saturday, April 26.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife boosted by 3,000 the number of fish allotted this spring to four county waters, bringing the combined total going into Padden, Silver, Toad and Cain lakes to 51,000 rainbows.
Besides that enticement, three other county lakes will have 1,264 heftier triploid rainbow trout from 14 inches.
These latter-day stocked catchable trout, have joined millions of other gamefish produced in the state's hatchery system that were released as much smaller fry or fingerlings in the past several years to grow into creel candidates in the wild.
Trout anglers can contribute materially to increasing trout stocking by buying a two-pole endorsement to go with their regular fishing license, which is valid from April 1 through March 31. Proceeds from this largely lake fishing-related permit are earmarked to bolster the department's hatchery trout program. They make it legal for bearers to fish with two rods for their one daily limit. Teens and children age 14 and under do not need a basic fishing license.
This annual spring/summer lake fishing season also allows recreational anglers the opportunity to fish for native, naturally produced trout in selected waters under more stringent regulations that are designed to protect these sensitive populations while enabling fishers to gain an appreciation and respect for them.
ANGLER BREAKFASTS PLANNED
For the inauguration of Washington's six-month, fair-weather trout season, state officials expect hundreds of thousands of spring trout anglers to turn out.
Local celebrations of this annual rite of spring include fishing contests on Terrell (bass), Whatcom (bass) and Silver (trout) lakes.
Also coinciding with the big opener are several morning fund-raiser pancake breakfasts, one at Silver Lake at the county park lodge (7-11 a.m.) put on by the Ferndale Kiwanis Club and a second (7 a.m.-noon) held by South Whatcom Fire Authority at Station 22 on Lake Whatcom Boulevard at Sudden Valley.
FISHING JUST FOR KIDS
Should the weather or crowds prove daunting for the youngest anglers, families can postpone their initial trouting adventure for a week or two for several events designed especially for kids.
Free youth trout fishing derbies are slated for May and June at:
- Sedro-Woolley at the North State Complex pond, organized by the Wildcat Steelhead Club (May 3).
- Bellingham in the Whatcom Falls Park derby pond, put on by the Northwest Washington Steelheaders Club (May 10).
In June, two Whatcom County kids' contests are scheduled for:
- Lynden at the Fishtrap Creek site in Lynden City Park (sponsored by the Camel's Club of Lynden).
- Sumas at the Johnson Creek site (organized by the Sumas American Legion Post).
WATER WORLD RULES
Whatcom County's boating and swimming ordinance (Title 11) requires both the equipping and the wearing of life preserving gear by certain passengers while aboard any watercraft.
Another legal obligation for boaters is the registration of certain watercraft and the proper display of identification numbers, which are made legally binding by both state and county laws.
Whatcom County's boating and other ordinances are online at codepublishing.com/wa/whatcomcounty.
Also remember unless you are 57 or older, a watercraft renter on an out-of-state visitor, all boat operators must pass the course and then carry a Washington State Boater Education Card. For details, log onto parks.wa.gov/boating/boatered/?subject=faq.
The use of water accesses also often carry fees, and you must be familiar with the jurisdiction which owns and manages the site to determine what's required. When you buy a long-term Washington fishing license, you get a free WDFW vehicle use permit that must be displayed when parking on state fish and wildlife department lands. For state parks and forestlands, a $30 Discover Pass is needed. On National Forest land in designated locations, a Northwest Forest Pass is required.
All watercraft, except certain smaller types, launched and used on Lake Whatcom must be inspected and certified to be free of invasive aquatic plant and wildlife. They must also display a sticker attesting to that. See the Lake Whatcom section particulars.
LOOK OUT FOR UNWANTED HITCHHIKERS
The expense of combating non-native aquatic plant and animal pests once they invade is skyrocketing in many areas of the United States. Jurisdictions yet to suffer such plagues tout prevention as the best form of defense.
On opening day anglers might encounter state or local inspectors who may give their boat and gear a close look for the presence of mollusks and vegetation that worry managers.
Federal, state and local laws all require boat owners and operators to be knowledgeable about aquatic invasive plant and animal species and take steps to make sure their craft are pest free.
For more information look to:
- State fish and wildlife: wdfw.wa.gov/ais.
- State ecology: ecy.wa.gov/programs/wq/nonpoint/CleanBoating/aquatic.html.
- Federal: invasivespeciesinfo.gov/unitedstates/wa.shtml.