Trout season debuts Saturday at Swift, Gorge lakes

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter



More than 80,000 rainbow trout have been stocked in five lakes and reservoirs in Skamania and Klickitat counties for Saturday’s fishing season opener.

While many waters in Southwest Washington remain open all year, Swift Reservoir and Kidney Lake in Skamania County plus Rowland, Horsethief and Spearfish lakes near the Columbia River in Klickitat County still have opening days.

Fishing details

• Anglers must have a current Washington freshwater or combination fishing license to fish in lowland lakes and reservoirs. Licenses, valid through March 31, 2014, can be purchased online a https:/, by telephone at 866-246-9453 or at license dealers across the state. For license vendor locations, visit http://wdfw.wa.go...

• Annual freshwater fishing licenses cost $29.50 for resident adults 16-69 years old. Fifteen-year-olds and persons with disabilities can buy a license for $10.25 and seniors 70 and older can buy an annual fishing license for $7.50. Children 14 years of age and younger do not need a fishing license.

• Anglers parking at state Department of Fish and Wildlife water-access sites are required to display a department vehicle access pass on their vehicle. The pass is provided free with every annual fishing license purchased. The passes are transferable between two vehicles.

• Anglers who use state Parks or Department of Natural Resources areas need the $30 annual or $10 daily Discover Pass. Learn more at http://discover

• Fishing regulations: The department’s annual “Fish Washington’’ sport-fishing rules pamphlet is available at http://wdfw.wa.go.... Current rules are in effected through Tuesday. Rules for May 1-April 30, 2014 are available in print at license vendors and department offices. The department’s regional office is at 2108 Grand Blvd.

Swift Reservoir, 4,500 acres on the upper North Fork of the Lewis River, has gotten 53,000 catchable-size rainbow trout. Swift’s power canal gets another 8,000 rainbow.

New rules adopted by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission recently shifted Swift’s opener to the first Saturday in June.

However, those rules were predicated the assumption the spring chinook, coho and winter steelhead reintroduction efforts would have progressed to a point where significant numbers of downstream migrants would be passing through Swift Reservoir in May.

Due to delays in adult salmon and steelhead reintroduction into the upper North Lewis River, production of young fish is just getting under way.

“There’s no need to close the reservoir in May of this year,’’ said John Weinheimer of Carson, district fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The fishery can proceed on the traditional opening date.’’

Landlocked salmon rules will begin on Saturday. That means all salmon longer than 15 inches must be released and salmon count toward the daily limit of five trout.

Swift has quite a few landlocked coho. The coho have larger eyes and a much more forked tail than the rainbow trout.

Two poles are no longer allowed at Swift. The daily bag limit increases to 10 fish on Sept. 1. The reservoir was at elevation 995 feet on Wednesday. Boats can be launched at elevation 975 feet and higher.

Here’s a look at the four other lakes opening on Saturday:

Kidney Lake — The state has stocked 3,000 catchable-size rainbows plus 223 large “triploid’’ trout for the opener. Sixty trout up to 11 pounds no longer needed at the hatcheries were planted during the winter closure.

Kidney Lake, near North Bonneville, will get another 1,000 trout in mid-May.

Rowland Lake — East of Bingen along state Highway 14, the lake got 12,000 trout for the opener. During the winter, more than 900 of the large triploid trout and about 240 of the big hatchery surplus trout were planted.

Carryovers of the 2,000 chunky rainbow planted in November still should be around.

Rowland will get 1,500 more trout in June. The lake has a gravel boat ramp on its north side. Only the portion north of state Highway 14 is stocked.

Horsethief Lake — Inside Columbia Hills State Park, the lake got 11,000 trout for the opener plus 100 hatchery surplus trout. Another 4,000 rainbow will be stocked in May.

Spearfish Lake —Near The Dalles Dam, Spearfish got 6,100 trout for the opener plus 256 triploid trout. About 125 hatchery surplus fish were planted during the winter.

The lake will get 1,500 more trout in May and 2,000 in June. It has a boat ramp, but gas motors are not allowed.