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Fishing highlights – September 2023
Monthly recreation opportunities by region
urban fishing on Greenlake, lake fishing, and trout fishing

WDFW’s Trout Derby continues through October

Hundreds of prizes still ready to be caught

By Lynn Munson/WDFW

Crisp weather, the beginning of school, comfort foods, a return to routines – all signs of fall. Don’t let that stop you from continuing to enjoy some time at a local lake. Even better, now is a great time to catch a tagged derby trout and win a prize!

Annual statewide Trout Derby

The 2023 Trout Derby, now at more than 100 stocked lakes, runs through Oct. 31. Over 90 participating businesses have offered 872 prizes valued at over $41,500. Over 400 prizes still remain unclaimed! Look for a blue tag on your rainbow trout. Tags numbers can be entered at WDFWDerby.com.

The derby is open to anyone with a valid 2023 fishing license. There is no entrance fee or registration required. You just catch a tagged trout anytime through Oct. 31 and you win. Plus, children age 14 and under fish free. Get your license here. 

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

Redeem your derby tag here
The 2023 Trout Derby logo consists of an orange banner with the event name topped by a scene of mountains and trees and framed below by a swimming trout
Peak shore fishing

As the weather cools, so does the water temperature. This brings hungry trout to shallower waters creating the best fishing opportunities since May and early June. This also provides a great time for shore fishing. Many anglers prefer this method as it provides an opportunity to involve more family members and friends.

It doesn’t take much gear to get your shore fishing set-up ready. It’s easy to leave these items in the trunk of a car for some spontaneous time at the lake. Start with these simple items:

  • A 6-foot, 6-inch to 8-foot rod with a spinning reel with 6-pound test monofilament line
      • Shore set-up: 24-36-inch leader, 4-6 pound test line with a size 4 or 6 octopus hook, quarter to half ounce egg sinkers
  • Floating dough baits, worms or eggs
  • Bucket for bait and gear
  • Small tacklebox with hooks, weights, extra leaders, etc.
  • Extras like a chair, snacks, water, and sunscreen

More about shore fishing can be found in a great article by WDFW’s Eric Braaten.

photo of a freshly caught trout, lake fishing, and fall fishing

This rainbow trout was caught in early September at Munn Lake in Thurston County. (Justin Fordice)

Find a lake near you

All trout derby lakes are posted online. Clicking on a lake close to you will provide more details about the lake, shoreline access, and trout derby prizes, including how many are waiting to be claimed. A derby lake might be closer to you than you think!

While not tagged for the derby, many lakes are planted with trout in the fall. Catchable trout plant reports are updated and posted on the WDFW website. 

Find a derby lake
Discover a new fall tradition

Participating in the trout derby could be your new outdoor fall tradition. It doesn’t take a lot of time or gear to take part and you could win a prize! Take pictures and tag #WATroutDerby in your social media posts. We’d love to see your catch.

If you need more resources, check out the links below. Tight lines!

photo of fishing, lake fishing, and trout fishing

This angler found a secluded spot to take part in some fall trout fishing. (Clayton Stewart)

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