While post-turkey day shopping sprees are on the minds of many, others will pull the plug for a chance to catch more than 60,000 planted jumbo-sized rainbow trout at 23 statewide lakes.
“The holidays are about spending time with family and friends, and being thankful for what you have,” said Steve Caromile, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) inland trout manager. “Instead of heading to the malls, get out and have some fun fishing. Teaching someone about outdoor recreation is a great way to create lasting memories.”
Created about 10 years ago, WDFW’s Black Friday program looks at ways to raise thousands of rainbow trout for a late season fishery and has been well-received by anglers.
Many lakes cover an area from the Puget Sound region to Southwest Washington. The planted jumbo-sized trout average 1 to 2 pounds a piece, measuring more than 14 inches.
There are several Eastern Washington lakes opening on Black Friday that WDFW stocked with trout fry this past spring with trout averaging 8 to 10 inches. They include Hatch in Stevens County, Fourth of July in Adams and Lincoln counties, and Hog Canyon in Spokane County.
Within the past month, WDFW also stocked many year-round lakes around Washington for additional fishing opportunities. These lakes are options for those who want to get a jump start on fishing right now ahead of Black Friday. For details, go to the WDFW trout stocking webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/stocking.
Lewis County — Fort Borst Park Pond, 2,000; and South Lewis County Park Pond, 2,000.
Thurston County — Black, 3,000; Lawrence, 800; Long, 1,000; Munn, 300; Offut Lake, 1,000; and Ward Lake, 300.
Cowlitz County — Kress, 2,000.
Pierce County — American, 2,000; and Tanwax, 1,350.
Clark County — Battle Ground, 2,000; and Klineline, 2,000.
Island County — Cranberry Lake, 4,000.
King County — Beaver, 2,500; and Green, 5,000.
Klickitat County — Rowland, 2,000.
Snohomish County — Ballinger, 3,000; Blackmans, 2,000; Gissburg Ponds, 1,500; Silver, 3,000; and Tye, 2,000.
Yakima County — Elton Pond North, 2,000.
Trout fishing gear
A basic trout rod and reel ($40 to $80) is all an angler needs to get started, and a pricier combo will cost about $100 to $200. A light, limber fishing rod length of 6 to 7 feet in the 4- to 10-pound line weight range will do. Look for a medium-sized spinning reel that can hold more than 100 yards of 6- to 8-pound test fishing line.
To the mainline attach one or two size eight or nine egg sinkers with a rubber bumper above a small barrel swivel. For a fishing leader, stay away from short 12-inch, store-bought, pre-tied leaders. Instead, look for a 3- to 8-pound test leader measuring 18 to 30 inches long. Use a smaller size 8 or 10 egg or worm hook.
The most popular bait is moldable dough types, which come in a variety of colors. Anglers can mold them and they’re available pre-shaped as salmon eggs, maggots and worms. More traditional baits include salmon eggs, worms, maggots and scented marshmallows.
Freshly planted trout will stick around the top of the water column and trolling a weightless fly close to the surface — like a Woolly Bugger in black, dark green, or black-olive in a size 8 or 10 with a 5- or 6-foot leader — will catch its share of fish.
Boat anglers will troll a gang-flasher with a worm, maggot or salmon egg laced to a tiny piece of scented dough bait or small spoon or spinner.
Bank anglers usually cast out a bobber with their presentation sitting just below the surface in 3 to 8 feet of water. Others prefer to go deeper where it hangs just a few feet off the bottom.
Recently planted trout usually stay near or just under the surface anywhere from depths of 3 to 10 feet. Once they acclimate, they’ll eventually spread out and move into deeper areas of the lake. Anglers often look for schools of trout right around where the hatchery truck placed them in the lake, usually near the shore, boat ramp or dock.
A fishing license is required (youth under 15 fish for free) and for details, look on the WDFW licensing webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/licenses. To find out what lakes are open, visit the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/. For weekly trout plants, visit the WDFW website.
Check the WDFW website for tips and videos on how to catch them. Helpful basic trout fishing tips can be found on the WDFW Medium blog at tinyurl.com/522sp66w.