Lake fishing off to a good start

HOOK AND FUR By Bob Brown Trout fishing is underway in hundreds of lakes across the state, and it appears the 2015 lowland lake season that opened April 25 has been producing better-than-expected results. According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), the average is two to four fish per angler, and as expected, some waters are producing better than others. Samplings taken opening day at Mineral Lake showed 71 anglers had 159 trout kept and 158 released. Six-year-old Abigail Ankley of Mineral took third place in the 21st annual Mineral Lake American Legion Derby. Her fish was 7 pounds and five-eighths ounces and 27.25 inches long. She was trolling a worm and red wedding ring. Shortly after the derby was over, a nine-pound 12-ounce triploid was brought in. Creel checks at Rapjohn Lake the same day tallied 33 anglers with 130 rainbows kept and 34 fish released. Fishing was also good at Tanwax Lake, where 39 anglers caught and kept 127 trout. Sixty-six anglers at McIntosh caught 152 trout and released 89. Standard gear and baits were working in all lakes. WDFW is asking anglers to consider fishing lakes that are overpopulated with brook trout, cutthroat and rainbows. According to the department, such lakes are characterized with slow-growing trout with large heads and skinny bodies that are essentially eating themselves out of house and home. Those lakes can be found through the agency's high lakes mapping tools. Chambers Lake, located in Gifford Pinchot National Forest, is one of those overpopulated lakes. WDFW allows for a more liberal harvest in some of those lakes, and others are stocked with predatory species to bring the populations under control. Reducing the numbers of trout in these lakes lessons the impact these populations have on lake ecology and native aquatic fauna. Other fishing reports
" Anglers should note the 108 fishing bridge at Taidnapam Park, located at the upstream end of Riffe Lake, is closed for repairs until May 31. Kosmos, Taidnapam and Taidnapam North boat launches are useable, and so is the Mossyrock Park boat launch. " Joe Hymer of the WDFW reported some noteworthy factoids last week. Counts of spring chinook at Bonneville Dam through April 28 were 114,163 adults, the ninth-highest total since at least 1939. The record is 301,293 fish in 2001. Also, the 1,085 jacks counted during the same period is the sixth highest total since 1980. The record is 5,114 fish in 2000. " The Cowlitz continues to be the hottest river in western Washington for spring chinook and steelhead. During April 20-28, 1,426 chinook, 114 jacks, 848 winter and four summer steelhead were recovered during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator. Boat and bank anglers averaged about a chinook per every three rods during the week. Best catches (and heaviest effort) was at barrier dam, although fish continue to be caught throughout the river. A few winter-run and summer-run steelhead were also appearing in the catch, primarily around the trout hatchery. Water flows have been staying between 4,000 and 5,000 cubic feet per second. Bob Brown lives in Roy and is a freelance outdoors writer. He can be contacted at


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