OUTDOORS: Stormin’ onto the Peninsula’s lakes for fishing

THERE’S NO DUMBER movie goon than the imperial stormtrooper.

You might remember them from “Star Wars.”

They’re the helmeted armor-clad stooges hopelessly chasing around Obi-Wan and the Skywalker clan throughout most of the movie.

They can’t shoot, they have the attention span of a Red Bull-pounding 5-year-old and they’re easily duped by Jedi mind tricks.

Other than taking out a few Ewoks (teddy bears with primitive weapons) in “Return of the Jedi,” it’s difficult to recall even one stormtrooper success story.

(It should be noted that even the Ewoks ended up prevailing against the stupor troopers.)

The reason:

As we all learned in “Attack of the Clones” (aka Star Wars: Episode II), the troopers are actually clones of a fellow named Jango Fett.

And as anyone who’s ever seen the movie “Multiplicity” knows, clones aren’t all that smart.

It’s cinema science. You can’t argue with it. You can only accept it as fact.

So what’s my point? And why did I spend 30 minutes on Wikipedia reading Fett’s bio and a brief synopsis of “Multiplicity”?

It’s simple.

The hatchery trout planted in lakes throughout Jefferson and Clallam counties for this Saturday’s lowland lakes opener are the piscatorial equivalent of the “Star Wars” stormtrooper.

They are essentially rainbow trout clones with underdeveloped brains and overdeveloped appetites.

Present a half-smoked Camel Menthol just right, and they’ll bite it.

It’s the state Department of Fish and Wildlife’s way of rewarding dim-witted anglers (fellow pictured above) with nearly foolproof fisheries right around the time one must purchase a new fishing license.

Just show up, toss out some power bait, artificial worms or a nymph, and wait for one of the Gomers to take a gander.

Presto, you’ve got yourself a tasty trout dinner.

It’s that easy . . . for people not named Matt Schubert.

What follows is a breakdown of a few North Olympic Peninsula lakes that might just produce the desired results during this weekend’s opener.

Unfortunately, nobody yet knows whether that will include Anderson Lake in Jefferson County.

Water samples from the popular trout lake are still being tested for toxic blue-green algae. Results aren’t expected to be revealed to the public until today (keep an eye on our Web site, www.peninsuladailynews.com, for an announcement).

Anderson Lake

• Size: 70 acres.

• Location: Eight miles south of Port Townsend off Anderson Lake Road.

• Fish: Should have holdovers from last year’s trout plants due to early closure in 2008.

Slated to receive 3,000 trout fry this month. Also holds cutthroat and eastern brook trout.

• Few facts: Jefferson’s most popular trout lake has closed early each of the last four years due to the presence of toxic blue-green algae.

Make sure to check that it’s open to fishing before going. It also wouldn’t hurt to cook the heck out of anything you catch.

There are several areas for bank anglers (not much back-casting room for fly guys), and it also has public boat launch (for boats with electric motors only). Launch fee is $5.

Gibbs Lake

• Size: 36.8 acres.

• Location: Four miles southwest of Chimacum off Gibbs Lake Road (accessed from West Valley Road).

• Fish: Receives 181 of coveted triploid trout (averaging 1¬½ pounds each) and 225 rainbows 14 inches or longer in size this May.

Since it’s catch-and-release for trout, there should be plenty of holdovers around.

• Few facts: Gibbs has also been closed in recent years due to the presence of toxic algae, although not as often as Anderson.

The lake is actually one of Peninsula College fly fishing instructor Ron “the Missing” Link’s personal favorites.

Selective gear rules makes this is a fly-fishing, catch-and-release lake, and it’s not exactly a bank angler’s paradise.

Horseshoe Lake

• Size: 13 acres.

• Location: Four miles southwest of Port Ludlow, just north of Highway 104.

• Fish: Received 700 smaller rainbow trout in late March and 91 triploids last week.

• Few facts: Fishing is generally considered fair in this lake, and it is one of several Peninsula lakes that has a “cool paddling place” endorsement from the Olympic Peninsula Paddlers.

Leland Lake

• Size: 99 acres.

• Location: Four miles north of Quilcene just off U.S. Highway 101 (a sign will point you to the lake).

• Fish: Received 5,000 trout fry and 75 rainbow trout 14 inches or larger at the end of March.

Also has a number of different resident fish, including bass, blue gill and brown bullhead catfish.

• Few facts: Not to sound like a broken record, but Leland has also has some trouble with blue-green algae in the past.

With a wonderful grab bag of fish, public dock and boat launch, there’s all sorts of reasons to give the lake a try (and it’s open year around).

Like most lakes, it’s best fished by boat.

Ludlow Lake

• Size: 15 acres.

• Location: A little less than five miles west of Port Ludlow off Highway 104.

• Fish: Received 1,000 trout 8-12 inches in size and 100 rainbows weighing a little less than a pound.

There could be a few eastern brook trout and largemouth bass swimming around as well.

• Few facts: You’ve got to carry in a small boat, canoe or float tube for this one.

Fishing is supposed to be best after the opener. Bass fishing generally picks up in the summer.

Sandy Shore Lake

• Size: 36 acres.

• Location: Two miles south of Highway 104 off Sandy Shore Road.

• Fish: Received 2,000 trout fry, 50 rainbows averaging 1.4 pounds and 75 averaging 3.4 pounds.

There should also be some eastern brook trout and largemouth bass.

• Few facts: Trollers tend to do pretty well at Sandy Shores, with plugs recommended.

Early mornings and late evenings are generally the best times to run into a bite . . . just like pretty much every other lake in the world.

Silent Lake

• Size: 11.9 acres.

• Location: Sits near the middle of the Coyle Peninsula off Coyle Road.

• Fish: Receives 3,000 cutthroat fry plants this spring, and already has seen 800 8-12-inch rainbows plus 25 weighing nearly a pound each.

• Few facts: This lake lives up to its name.

I’ve personally heard very little about it, and nobody seems to want to talk about it.

Someone go fish this thing, please, and send me a report on what it’s like and how it fishes.

Teal Lake

• Size: 15.3 acres.

• Location: Just south of Port Ludlow off Teal Lake Road.

• Fish: Received 500 rainbow fry and 60 rainbows averaging 3.4 pounds in size on April 1 (no fooling). It’s slated to receive some more larger fish in May.

• Few facts: This lake was recently opened to year-round fishing.

It now has a one-trout daily limit and selective gear rules. A boat is absolutely necessary.

Lake Sutherland

• Size: 360 acres.

• Location: A few miles east of Lake Crescent off U.S. Highway 101. It’s open year-round.

• Fish: A total of 10,000 8-12 inch rainbows are expected to be dumped into the lake in the next few weeks.

There’s also a fair amount of kokanee and cutthroat around.

• Few facts: Everyone has their own method with this lake, but trolling seems to be a favorite.

One can also have a fair amount of luck with chironomids and woolley buggers if they can find a dock to fish off.

Wentworth Lake

• Size: 53 acres.

• Location: About 7.7 miles northwest of Forks, accessed via logging roads off Dickey River Road.

• Fish: Is slated to receive 3,000 8-12 inch rainbows sometime this month. Already had 200 hatchery steelhead added in late January.

• Few facts: This year-round lake continues to grow in popularity among fly guys.

Again, a boat is a must, although internal-combustion motors are now prohibited.

_____

Matt Schubert is the outdoors and sports columnist for the Peninsula Daily News. His column appears on Thursdays and Fridays. He can be reached at [email protected]

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