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Anglers, volunteers make opening day a success
By TIM ADAMS
Trout anglers couldn't have asked for a better day for the opening of the 2009 lowland lakes season.
The weather was temperate, the rain stayed away and even though the fish weren't biting all that well, just getting out on the water to wet a line with friends and family members made everything all right.
Speaking with several groups of anglers at Cranberry Lake in Deception Pass State Park they all said basically the same thing. "We're trying just about everything but so far, we haven't had a whole lot of success."
Off the dock at the east beach area, the Camatti family from Coupeville, 7-year-old Kilah, along with her mother, Jeanette, and father, Charles.
The trio hadn't met with any success, but said they were having a good time.
"We've been trying everything on them from bottom fishing to bobbers. We've caught a lot of seaweed, more seaweed than fish. I think maybe the fish are still sleeping," Jeanette Camatti said with a smile.
"We're trying not to fall asleep ourselves," Charles added.
A little further down the dock, Tim Harasti from Oak Harbor, who was fishing with his buddy, Rick Pepper from Marysville, was having a little more success and had reeled in two keepers.
"I've had about four bites and caught two, so I'm 50/50 for the day," Harasti said. "These are the two smallest fish I've ever caught in this lake and I've been fishing here since 1988."
Harasti said he had the drag set real loose on his reel. "Just in case I get something worthwhile on my line," he said.
At the East Beach pavilion, members of the Central Whidbey Lions Club had the grill going and hot dogs on the fire.
"There are about 70 or 80 people out here today helping get the park cleaned up," said Dick Zust. "There are people here from the South Whidbey Lions, the Coupeville Lions and the Boy Scouts who are all helping out."
The Central Whidbey Lions said they were the cooking crew and were expecting everyone working on the park cleanup detail to be stopping by for lunch in about an hour.
Supervising the crew was Cathy Marley, who said she was the club's secretary.
"I'm trying to keep the crew in line, but I'm not sure whether I'm having any success," she said.
Washington Fish and Wildlife Department officials said an improved average catch rate and some bigger fish made cool, windy weather tolerable for thousands of anglers on opening day.
"The blustery weather kept some people hunkered down, so the boat ramps were not as busy for this opener," said Jon Anderson, a WDFW fish biologist, who compiled results from creel checks across the state. "But there were some pretty good catch rates and nice-sized fish caught."
WDFW staff and volunteers reported checking 5,410 anglers with 12,497 trout from 121 lakes statewide. Anglers checked statewide averaged 2.3 trout per fisherman at lakes with a five-trout daily catch limit.