Sports

Spirits boosted on opening day Spirits boosted on opening day

With 3-month-old son Austin snug in his stroller, Liana Hunt, left, and her husband, Matthew, try their luck off the boat dock on East Cranberry Lake.  - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
With 3-month-old son Austin snug in his stroller, Liana Hunt, left, and her husband, Matthew, try their luck off the boat dock on East Cranberry Lake.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

Near perfect weather greeted the throngs of anglers hitting Whidbey Island’s inland waters for the opening of the lowland lakes fishing season April 26.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures brought people of all ages out in force and although the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reported lower than usual catch numbers, most anglers were happy to enjoy long-awaited warm weather.

“We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for the lowland lake opener,” said Jon Anderson, WDFW fish biologist. “Anglers of all ages caught lots of nice trout, including several real lunkers.”

Anderson said because waters remained cool so long into spring, catch rates tended to be lower in many lakes. However, the fish will still be there later in the five-to six-month trout season.

On Whidbey Island, many lakes and ponds have been stocked with numerous catchable sized trout ranging from 7-to-11 inches that were planted as fry last year, to those ranging in size from 8-to-10 inches that were stocked this spring.

A total of 52,500 fish, both fry and those of catchable size including cutthroat and rainbow trout, have been stocked in East and West Admiralty Bay Ponds, Cranberry Lake, Deer Lake, Goss Lake and Lone Lake on Whidbey Island since last season.

Kevin Petersen from Oak Harbor Ace Hardware said there are a lot of stocked fish out there to be caught.

“The WDFW likes to put them in just before the season starts so the cormorants won’t have so much time to feed on them,” he said. “Some of the lakes aren’t open year round so there aren’t any people to scare the birds off and they have a real feeding frenzy. Once the anglers show up, the birds take off.”

WDFW staff and volunteers checked more than 3,500 anglers with about 6,000 trout from 100 lakes across Washington and reported the statewide average catch rate was 1.7 trout per angler.

On Deer Lake, 19 creels were checked and 39 fish reported caught, and on Goss Lake, two creels with 10 fish were reported.

At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, 22 boats with 49 anglers and 355 shore anglers were reported at Deer Lake. Goss Lake had 19 boats with 40 anglers plus another 15 were fishing from the shore.

By Sunday the weather had cooled a bit, but that was no deterrent to the always-hardy Whidbey Island anglers.

Sunday morning found Matthew Hunt and his wife, Liana, trying their luck off the boat dock on East Cranberry Lake.

Originally from North Carolina, Matthew Hunt said he has been stationed at NAS Whidbey Island for more than a year.

“We haven’t had any luck on the lake this morning, but we’re going to keep at it for a little while longer,” he said.

Accompanying the Hunts on their lowland lake fishing safari was their son, 3-month-old Austin.

“Austin is three months old today, so this is sort of like a birthday party for him,” Liana Hunt said with a smile.

Further around the lake, Ron Humphrey from Snohomish said he had been out on the water for about two hours in his square-backed canoe, and had four trout to show for his efforts.

“They aren’t what you’d call trophy size by any means,” he said. “This probably wasn’t the best lake on opening day, but we camped over here last night so I thought I’d give it a try.”

Humphrey said he didn’t get into any of the big brown trout that inhabit the depths of Cranberry Lake.

“These stocked trout stay up close to the surface, sort of like bluegills, and they’ll take your bait,” he said.

Near perfect weather greeted the throngs of anglers hitting Whidbey Island’s inland waters for the opening of the lowland lakes fishing season April 26.

Sunny skies and warm temperatures brought people of all ages out in force and although the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife reported lower than usual catch numbers, most anglers were happy to enjoy long-awaited warm weather.

“We couldn’t have asked for nicer weather for the lowland lake opener,” said Jon Anderson, WDFW fish biologist. “Anglers of all ages caught lots of nice trout, including several real lunkers.”

Anderson said because waters remained cool so long into spring, catch rates tended to be lower in many lakes. However, the fish will still be there later in the five-to six-month trout season.

On Whidbey Island, many lakes and ponds have been stocked with numerous catchable sized trout ranging from 7-to-11 inches that were planted as fry last year, to those ranging in size from 8-to-10 inches that were stocked this spring.

A total of 52,500 fish, both fry and those of catchable size including cutthroat and rainbow trout, have been stocked in East and West Admiralty Bay Ponds, Cranberry Lake, Deer Lake, Goss Lake and Lone Lake on Whidbey Island since last season.

Kevin Petersen from Oak Harbor Ace Hardware said there are a lot of stocked fish out there to be caught.

“The WDFW likes to put them in just before the season starts so the cormorants won’t have so much time to feed on them,” he said. “Some of the lakes aren’t open year round so there aren’t any people to scare the birds off and they have a real feeding frenzy. Once the anglers show up, the birds take off.”

WDFW staff and volunteers checked more than 3,500 anglers with about 6,000 trout from 100 lakes across Washington and reported the statewide average catch rate was 1.7 trout per angler.

On Deer Lake, 19 creels were checked and 39 fish reported caught, and on Goss Lake, two creels with 10 fish were reported.

At 9 a.m. Saturday morning, 22 boats with 49 anglers and 355 shore anglers were reported at Deer Lake. Goss Lake had 19 boats with 40 anglers plus another 15 were fishing from the shore.

By Sunday the weather had cooled a bit, but that was no deterrent to the always-hardy Whidbey Island anglers.

Sunday morning found Matthew Hunt and his wife, Liana, trying their luck off the boat dock on East Cranberry Lake.

Originally from North Carolina, Matthew Hunt said he has been stationed at NAS Whidbey Island for more than a year.

“We haven’t had any luck on the lake this morning, but we’re going to keep at it for a little while longer,” he said.

Accompanying the Hunts on their lowland lake fishing safari was their son, 3-month-old Austin.

“Austin is three months old today, so this is sort of like a birthday party for him,” Liana Hunt said with a smile.

Further around the lake, Ron Humphrey from Snohomish said he had been out on the water for about two hours in his square-backed canoe, and had four trout to show for his efforts.

“They aren’t what you’d call trophy size by any means,” he said. “This probably wasn’t the best lake on opening day, but we camped over here last night so I thought I’d give it a try.”

Humphrey said he didn’t get into any of the big brown trout that inhabit the depths of Cranberry Lake.

“These stocked trout stay up close to the surface, sort of like bluegills, and they’ll take your bait,” he said.

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