Ready to catch a trout dinner?

Brush up on fishing basics with Trout Derby, lake opener on tap

By Michael Foster/WDFW

Spring is an exciting time of year for trout fishing with the lowland lakes opener and the annual statewide Trout Derby starting on April 24, so we wanted to share some basic tips for those just starting out and a rundown of trout highlights in store in April.

Gear and tactics

When it comes to rods, reels, rigs, baits, lures, and tactics, the options are nearly endless and can be overwhelming if you’re new to the sport, so check out our “Basic Techniques for Trout Fishing in Washington” video.

This video showcases basic approaches to catching trout in lowland lakes throughout the state. The techniques you’ll learn include the slip-sinker rig for bottom fishing and the slip-bobber rig for fishing at any depth. You’ll also get to know various bait choices and knot tying, giving you what you need to know to be successful and then you can explore other options as you like.

When you’re ready

From there, our Fish Washington playlist on YouTube offers an array of knowledge on trout fishing from hatchery work to more specific approaches to angling in different seasons and locations. That’s not to mention all the other fishing knowledge offered up on other species in this 47-video playlist.

Foggy day on the water.
Successful catch!

Bring the kids

Thinking of taking your children trout fishing this year? WDFW has collected tips and tricks from staff biologists on fishing with youngsters to help make your outing a success.

Taking children fishing is a great chance to pass on an important tradition of fun, food, and conservation to your family. Fishing with your kids can be a great way to gain solace and reconnect with the natural world and your family. Even if you’re new to angling, it’s an opportunity to bring your loved ones together to learn a new skill and maybe create a new tradition.

For information on where and when to fish, what to use and how to keep kids engaged in the sport, read our blog on introducing kids to fishing.

Annual statewide Trout Derby

The 2021 Trout Derby will officially open April 24 at more than 100 stocked lakes and run through Oct. 31. Over 70 participating businesses are offering more than 1,000 prizes valued at over $38,000.

The derby is open to anyone with a valid 2021 fishing license, though temporary licenses are not valid for game fish species from April 24 to May 1. There is no entrance fee or registration required. You just catch a tagged trout anytime between April 24 and Oct. 31 and you win. Plus, children age 14 and under fish free.

Visit the derby information page to find a participating lake near you and learn more about how the derby works.

Lowland lake opener

Sharpen your hooks for the annual lowland lake opener, also set for April 24. Lakes that aren’t open year-round will open to fishing then to give anglers new and old exciting, family-friendly fishing opportunities. Search for local fishing spots, with information on bank access, what’s in the water, and when it’s biting, at the WDFW lowland lakes webpage.

From planting to plating with hatchery trout

WDFW will hold a free public event online, “Hand-Raised Trout to Home-Cooked Meal,” from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, May 8.

Staff will broadcast live from Lakewood Hatchery and American Lake to highlight what goes into raising rainbow trout for planting in Washington lakes. We’ll be joined by friends from Puget Sound Anglers who will share tips and strategies for catching rainbow trout.

WDFW staff will also show you how to navigate the agency’s website and the Fish Washington mobile app to find current fishing information. The event will end with a demonstration of how to clean and cook freshly caught trout.

Join us next month by following this link: https://zoom.us/j/95960846428

Stocking Rapjohn Lake. (2019)

Licensing

You can buy your licenses and passes today by visiting https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov, calling 360-902-2464, or going to a license dealer near you. Go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers to find your nearest license dealer.

Tight lines to you, and we hope you have a safe and successful season on the water!