Outdoors

It’s the fourth Saturday in April, and you know what that means ...

Ty Sanchez, then 5, of Lynden, reaches back to cast on opening day of the fishing season on Lake Padden in April 2013.
Ty Sanchez, then 5, of Lynden, reaches back to cast on opening day of the fishing season on Lake Padden in April 2013. The Bellingham Herald

With the fourth Saturday in April, this weekend marks the start of fishing in hundreds of lowland lakes throughout the state.

WDFW fish hatchery crews have been stocking more than 16 million trout and kokanee in lakes statewide, according to a release by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Those fish include 2.3 million catchable trout, nearly 150,000 larger trout averaging about one pound apiece and millions of smaller trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size.

According to the WDFW’s website, 9,505 catchable rainbow trout were stocked in Cain Lake on April 3, Lake Padden received 20,508 catchable rainbow from March 28-30, Silver Lake received 16,096 between March 24 and April 4 and Toad Lake got 5,002 on March 31 and April 4. Weekly stocking reports for the entire state can be found on the website.

Opening weekend is a time when anglers may have the most success, WDFW inland fish program manager Steve Tiesfeld said in the release.

It’s so exciting to get out there and fish, and opening weekend is just an excellent time to introduce fishing to kids and beginners.

WDFW infland fish program manager Steve Tiesfeld

“When I was a kid, I had a difficult time sleeping the night before opening day,” he said. “It’s so exciting to get out there and fish, and opening weekend is just an excellent time to introduce fishing to kids and beginners.”

Washington anglers must have an annual freshwater or combination fishing license, which is valid through March 31, 2018. Licenses can be purchased online at the WDFW website, by telephone at 866-246-9453 or at a license vendor location. The WDFW lists 19 license vendors in Whatcom County on its website.

The start of the fishing season also means the beginning of some area fishing derbies:

WDFW Derby

Saturday marks the start of the annual WDFW lowland lake fishing derby, which runs through Oct. 31.

Anglers who catch one of 1,000 tagged fish also can claim prizes provided by license dealers and other sponsors located across the state. The total value of prizes is more than $25,000. For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/derby/.

Whatcom County lakes with tagged fish including Cain and Padden lakes, while Clear Lake, Lake Cavanaugh, Heart Lake, Lake McMurray and Sixteen Lake have tagged fish in Whatcom County.

Ferndale Kiwanis Kids Fishing Derby

The Ferndale Kiwanis Club will host its annual free Youth Fishing Derby on Saturday at April 22. Registration begins at 5 a.m., and fishers must have their derby entries back at the registration area by 10 a.m.

The derby is open to all kids old enough to hold a rod through age 15. Prizes, including many rod/reel combos, tackle boxes, fishing nets, lures and baits and other fishing/camping related items, will be awarded for the three longest fish caught and for first limits returned within each age range. Contestants must be present at 11 a.m., when winners will be announced.

Beginning at 6 a.m., the Kiwanis Club also will serve a pancake and egg breakfast in the Silver Lake Lodge. The cost is $7 for adults and $4 for kids. More information on both events is available on the club’s Facebook page.

Helpful WDFW pages

Online site for fishing licenss: fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov

Location of license vendors:wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/

Fishing regulations and seasons: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

Statewide fishing stock reports:wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/

Finding lowland lakes and fish species: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/

How-to fishing videos: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/washington/videos/

WDFW water access sites: wdfw.wa.gov/lands/water_access/

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