We made a mistake. Saturday’s paper said opening day of trout season was April 20. It’s actually April 27. Only when a visit to Goss Lake showed zero anglers did we start to wonder. But there was another possible explanation for the lack of anglers: A large poster tacked to the tree in bright Island County yellow, warning of toxic algae. Don’t swim, don’t wade, don’t drink the water. And if you catch a fish, don’t eat the “guts.”
A visit to Lone Lake was next. It did have fishermen, most of them sitting around in lawn chairs eating lunch. Opening day doesn’t matter at Lone Lake because it’s open all year, managed in a “special” way by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. That means any trout under 18-inches has to be thrown back. There were no fish in sight but one man said he caught one, but released it. That’s what guys with fly rods tend to do, especially ones who watch the TV fishing shows. They hook a fish through the gills, drag, pull and yank it out of the water, pose it for a picture, then put it back in the water and it swims away with a good story to tell in school, or so we are led to believe.
The friendly fisherman did confirm what we feared, that opening day was still a week away. No sense going to Deer Lake but we’d been there recently. The dock was good, the ramp was good and water conditions looked fine.
So, anglers, Deer Lake looks best for opening day 2013. Goss Lake is supposed to be a decent producer if you can stomach the yellow sign, and Lone Lake is best left to the experts.
It was not always this way. Lone Lake was once famous as the west side’s best little trout lake, producing fat rainbows in less than a year’s time. The parking lot was bigger than the lake and families teamed up to carry tiny boats to the water. Thousands of photos of happy kids holding a string of trout were taken during those years. Nearby, Goss Lake was a watery jewel in a forest setting with fine, healthy fish.
South Whidbey has only one good trout lake left. That’s sad and we should do something about it. But first, we’ll try to catch a fish opening day, APRIL 27!