For many anglers, “opening day” is synonymous with the start of the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which gets under way April 27 this year. Hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians typically descend on trout-stocked lakes to kick off the state’s biggest outdoor event.
To prepare for the upcoming season, hatchery crews from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) have been working since last year to stock more than 17 million fish in over 600 lakes throughout the state. Anglers can find how many went where at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/ .
But anglers – and hunters, too – are also looking forward to a variety of other “opening days” this month for seasons ranging from razor clam digs on ocean beaches to turkey hunting throughout the state. Many communities throughout the state are also hosting festivals this month to mark major bird migrations including sandhill cranes, waterfowl and shorebirds.
“April really marks the start of the new year for fishing, hunting, and a wide range of outdoor activities,” said Joe Stohr, WDFW deputy director. “The annual cycle is beginning again and a lot of us are glad to see it arrive.”
For most people, a valid 2013-14 fishing or hunting license will be required to participate in those activities after March 31, when all 2012-13 licenses expire. The exception is young people under age 15, who may fish for free.
Licenses and permits are avaiIable online ( https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ ), by phone (1-866-246-9453) and from sporting goods stores and other retail license dealers around the state. A list of license vendors ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/vendors/ ) is available online and from local WDFW offices around the state.
Key dates to keep in mind in April include:
- April 1 – Several dozen lakes in the Columbia Basin open to fishing
- April 5-7 – Othello Sandhill Crane Festival, based in Othello in Adams County; for more information see http://www.othellosandhillcranefestival.org/ .
- April 6-7 – A two-day spring turkey hunt for hunters age 15 and younger is scheduled statewide.
- April 9-14 – A six-day morning razor clam dig is tentatively scheduled on various ocean beaches. For details, see WDFW’s razor clam webpage athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html .
- April 15 – The general spring turkey hunt opens for hunters of all ages and runs through May 31. See WDFW’s Washington Wild Turkey Spring Season pamphlet athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ for more information.
- April 24-30 – The month’s second morning razor clam dig is tentatively scheduled on various ocean beaches. For details, see WDFW’s razor clam webpage athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html .
- April 26-28 – The Grays Harbor Shorebird Festival, based in Hoquiam, celebrates shorebirds. For information, see http://www.shorebirdfestival.com/ .
- April 27 – Hundreds of lakes open to trout fishing across the state for the biggest “opening day” of the year.
For more information about these and other outdoor activities coming up in the weeks ahead, see the region-by-region Weekender Reports on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/weekender/ . These reports are updated throughout the month for changes in fishing rules and other developments throughout the state.
Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife