By: Mike Ainsworth
There’s no shortage of trout fishing opportunities to enjoy this Memorial Weekend in Washington. The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife loaded our lakes with trout for the opener roughly a month ago and is busy restocking more of these waters this week. Most of our state’s waters are being restocked specifically for the holiday weekend.
Anglers will find that most of our waters are stocked with rainbows. Meanwhile, browns are planted in some waters and on of the east side of the state tiger trout and cutthroat are planted. For a complete list of species stocked in waters near you consult with WDFW’s online stocking reports or click on the following link: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly.
Trout season has just begun. The WDFW will continue to stock lakes throughout the summer. This time of year trout can be found in various depths. However, in the morning while light is still low trout will roam the shallows looking to feed. By mid-morning as the sun starts shining on the water trout tend to migrate to deeper water. It’s no secret that the best time to catch our trout is early and late in the day when they are actively feeding.
I spent last Saturday fishing a Western Washington lake with my son and found several techniques to be effective. There’s going to be a lot of pressure on our lakes this weekend. To maximize success I recommend downsizing your tackle. This means you’ll want to use four-to-six-pound test and I would use fluorocarbon because it’s essentially invisible to the trout. Everyone has a preference in what hooks they use but I prefer a size eight salmon egg hook when fishing bait. I like this size because the wider gap results in better hook sets.
Last weekend my son and I caught a lot of trout. Bank fishing can be effective. However, we fished out of my drift boat. Whether you have a rowboat, float tube, canoe, kayak or any boat that floats slow trolling bait is extremely effective for stocked trout. I have an electric motor and don’t use it. A motor isn’t necessary. I simply use oars and glide slowly around the lake. Our success came on Chartreuse Garlic Fire Bait and a Wedding Ring tipped with Pautzke eggs. The biggest key is not putting too much weight. We are using small split shots so the bait didn’t sink to the bottom.
You want to target the suspended fish not the fish hunkered on the bottom. Newly stocked fish are normally suspended. As the season progresses the fish move toward the bottom. As the water temperature increases these trout move deeper. When this happens anchor fishing with bait is more effective.
Editor’s Note: Mike Ainsworth operates First Light Guide Service in Western Washington. He offers trout tips for kids and families. For more info please visit www.firstlightguideservice.com.