Opening weekend of the general fishing season is, and probably will always be, one of Washington’s biggest outdoor recreational events.

How big is it? In preparation for the April 28 opening of the 2018 general fishing season. the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife  (WDFW) announced it released 12 million trout and kokanee plus hundreds of triploids weighing one pound or better into lakes state-wide. The goal of the WDFW is to well-stock lakes in every county so families can keep travel costs down by enjoying some excellent fishing close to home.

Because opening day is traditionally the biggest fishing day of the year, the department expected hundreds of thousand anglers to turn out for the big day. In fact, it has been estimated about seven out of every 10 fishermen who will wet a line this year will be on the water opening day.

By all accounts, Mineral Lake is one of the best trout fishing lakes in Western Washington, and is considered by many anglers as the Crown Jewel of lowland lakes. It receives a healthy number of plants in the spring and is usually listed as one of the top picks by the WDFW for the annual lake opener in April. The Mossyrock Fish Hatchery has released 32,000 rainbow trout into Mineral, plus 250 jumbo trout, since December 2017.

Fishing Mineral Lake is no secret. Rainbow trout are known to prefer eating small aquatic and terrestrial insects, and at times-other fish. As a game fish, they are also known to take a variety of baits, both natural and artificial. Corn,, salmon eggs, dough, cheese, night crawlers and power bait. Artificial lures such as spinners, spoons, jigs, flies, wedding rings and plugs are also effective.

Hatchery raised trout have few of the qualities a natural born trout has, and none of its feeding habits. Used to feeding on pellet food near the water surface in their restrictive pens, they continue to look for feed near the water surface after being released.

Because of this, fishing near the surface trolling artificial lures or still fishing using nightcrawlers and artificial baits traditionally produce easy limits. Should any of those hatchery fish manage to survive a season or two without being caught or killed by anglers, they begin to look and act more like wild trout and feed on more traditional types of food.

Bob Brown can be contacted at “”