Lots of fish expected for opening day

Alta, Conconully, Pearrygin hold planted triploids

— Anglers can expect to find lots of rainbows in Okanogan and Ferry counties willing to jump on their hooks during the state general fishing-opener this weekend.

Anglers can compete in a derby, try a newly opened stretch of Rufus Woods Lake or dip a line in the 67 lowland lakes managed in Okanogan County (representing 18 percent of the state’s managed lakes) or the many more ice-free lakes in Ferry County.

If you can’t wait until this weekend to haul in a fish, the Colville Confederated Tribes’ general fishing season is under way, having opened April 12. A tribal license is required.

Later this summer, Okanogan County boots out fish in 110 alpine lakes above 4,500 feet.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife planted nearly 16.5 million trout and kokanee statewide, with 2.3 million being catchable trout and nearly 115,000 being jumbo trout that weigh up to 11 pounds apiece, and more than 50,000 triploid trout averaging 1.5 pounds each.

“The lowland lakes season-opener is the biggest fishing day of the year,” said Phil Anderson, director of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Lakes in every county are well-stocked, so there should be good fishing opportunities close to home.”

Triploid trout planted in Okanogan County include Alta Lake (571) near Pateros, Conconully Lake (357) and Pearrygin Lake (357) near Winthrop.

Millions of carry-over trout that were stocked last year and have grown to catchable size will also be available in lakes throughout the state.

A thorough review of the region’s lakes, from Okanogan to Ferry counties plus the reservation, appeared in The Chronicle’s Fishrapper last week. It’s available at the newspaper office, online or from participating businesses.

Those fishing the Conconully lakes can enter a derby with prizes to the Top 3 in the adult division, youth prizes and $50 for a mystery weight.

There is a charge to register at the Conconully General Store, 201 N. Main St.

The contest is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day.

A section of Rufus Woods Lake downstream of Grand Coulee Dam to the state Highway 155 bridge recently reopened for recreational fishing.

The stretch has been closed since Sept. 11, 2001, for security reasons.

Public access has been restored recently and the state and tribe will now permit recreational fishing.

Fishing rules and license requirements in effect downstream of the bridge apply to the newly opened section.

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