Thousands of trout await anglers

"The fish are planted and waiting for opening day of trout season on Whidbey Island.Trout fishing season begins Saturday, April 28 in lowland lakes. The event always attracts hundreds of anglers to South Whidbey's Deer Lake and Goss Lake, as well as the open-year-round Lone Lake.According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, here's what the anglers will have waiting for them.*Goss Lake: Stocked in April with 5,500 rainbow trout 8-12 inches in length, plus whatever holdovers remain from last year.*Deer Lake: Stocked in April with 8,000 8-to 12-inch rainbows.*Lone Lake: Stocked in April with 4,000 rainbows and 440 extra-large triploid trout averaging 1.5 pounds each.What kind of success can you expect? Fish and Wildlife biologist Mark Downen said last week that Deer Lake was most productive last year with 3.2 fish harvested per rod. Goss Lake was unusually slow in 2000 with 2.5 fish per rod, perhaps because of cormorant predation. Downen asks that local residents call if cormorants are a problem and the department may consider opening Goss Lake year-round. Boating traffic scares the birds away. Call 425-775-1311 ext. 120 and leave a message.As for Lone Lake, it's been a special case since last year when it became a selective fisheries lake. None of the recently planted trout except perhaps the triploids are legal-sized there. The minimum in Lone Lake is 18 inches, and only artificial bait is allowed.Some Lone Lake residents objected to the rule change last year, but Downen said it will be in effect again in 2001. However, he's considering proposing a change in which children would be able to keep the regular limit of five fish.Many anglers may not even know the rules at Lone Lake, Downen acknowledged. Even the Department of Fish and Wildlife is confused. A publication titled Washington Fishing Guide was sent to the media this spring and states that Lone Lake should be superb this year for catchable (8-10 inch) rainbow trout, plus very fat yearlings (12 inches). Of course, anyone following those rules would be violating the law.Downen said the Washington Fishing Guide comes out of Olympia, and that the correct Lone Lake rules should be in the Fishing in Washington pamphlet due out soon in tackle shops.Some people are apparently happily fishing Lone Lake without knowing the rules. They're choosing to ignore the rules and go out and fish anyway, Downen said.Anyone cited for violating the rules can always claim they got them from the 2001 Washington Fishing Guide.State-resident anglers 16 years of age and older must have a fishing license, costing $20 at area dealers such as Sebo's, Ace Hardware and Jim's Hardware. All resident and non-resident children 14 and younger fish free, while 15-year-olds need a $5 license. Every license buyer receives a free Access Stewardship Decal which must be on any motor vehicle parked in a Fish and Wildlife fishing access parking lot. "

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