For many anglers, “opening day” is synonymous with the start of the lowland lakes trout-fishing season, which gets under way April 28 this year. More than 300,000 Washingtonians are expected to descend on trout-stocked waters throughout the state that Saturday to kick off the new season.
But anglers – and hunters, too – are also looking forward to a variety of other “opening days” this month, as seasons ranging from lingcod fishing on the north coast to a statewide turkey hunt get under way. A morning razor clam dig has been tentatively scheduled on ocean beaches April 7-9, pending the results of marine toxin tests.
“April really marks the start of the new year for fishing and hunting,” said Joe Stohr, deputy director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Some winter fisheries are still going strong, but the annual cycle is beginning again with a new year of outdoor activities.”
For most people, a valid 2012-13 fishing or hunting license will be required to get in on the action after March 31, when all 2011-12 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 for anglers and hunters to keep in mind in April include:
- April 7-8 – A two-day spring turkey hunt for hunters age 15 and younger is scheduled statewide.
- April 7-9 – A morning razor-clam dig has been tentatively scheduled at several ocean beaches, pending the results of marine toxin tests. For details, see WDFW’s razor clam webpage at http://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 at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/ for more information.
- April 16 – Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) opens for lingcod.
- April 28 – Several hundred lowland lakes open to trout fishing across the state for the biggest “opening day” of the year.