State expands number of trout to be stocked this fall, winter

Western Washington anglers have some extra incentive to keep fishing, some 340,000 trout to be stocked in lakes around the region this fall. The plans includes more than a dozen South Sound lakes.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to stock 47 lakes in western Washington with the catchable-size trout. That includes 19 lakes where the catch limit has been increased to 10 trout.

“Our fish stocking plans entail releasing nearly four times more fish than were released last fall in western Washington,” Chris Donley, inland fish program manager, said in a news release. “Fishing at dozens of lakes throughout the region should be great over the next few months.”

Lakes that have been stocked already include Island, Lost, Nahwatzel and Spencer in Mason County; Kitsap Lake in Kitsap County, Rattlesnake Lake in King County, and Gibbs, Leland and Teal lakes in Jefferson County.

Additional stocking efforts will focus on different counties in western Washington and will continue through November. That list includes American, Bonney, Bradley, Harts, Kapowsin and Ohop lakes in Pierce County, and Black, Lawrence, Long, Munn, Offut and St. Clair lakes, and Long’s Pond in Thurston County.

A big reason for the greater number of fish to be stocked this fall is the legal settlement last spring between the department and Wild Fish Conservancy that prevented releasing early winter hatchery steelhead into most Puget Sound rivers this year.

More than 300,000 of those steelhead, an ocean going form of rainbow trout, will instead be released into western Washington lakes in the coming weeks.

“We realized these fish presented a unique opportunity for Washington’s anglers,” said Donley. The department held the steelhead over the summer and reared them to catchable-trout size (about 11-13 inches long) to be released into lakes around Puget Sound for harvest this fall. A few larger fish are also being stocked.

Donley said he expects angling to be great throughout the fall and winter months at all of these lakes.

The fall fish plants are part of the department’s response to angler requests to boost fall and winter trout fishing opportunities in western Washington, said Donley. That effort also includes stocking lakes in southwest Washington for the Nov. 28 Black Friday holiday shopping opener, which offers anglers the opportunity to skip the shopping malls, get outside and enjoy fishing the day after Thanksgiving.

For up-to-date stocking information this fall, anglers can follow the department on Twitter or Facebook, online at wdfw.wa.gov or see the department's weekly catchable trout stocking report at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly.

Anglers must have a current Washington freshwater fishing license valid through March 31, 2015, to participate in these events.

Licenses can be purchased online at fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov; by telephone at 866-246-9453 or at hundreds of license vendors across the state. For a list of license vendor locations, go to wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors.