That said there is a very dark cloud on the horizon. With the expected state budget shortfalls WDFW is being asked to contribute with significant budget reductions. Those proposed budget cuts include a number of hatchery closures in Region IV (King, Snohomish, Skagit, Whatcom, San Juan and Island counties). A quick review of 2020 stocking reports indicates that those closures will result in a 60% reduction in the numbers of catchable trout released in region IV lakes.
Such an excellent example of the low regard WDFW has for the constituents (taxpayers and license buyers) who fund the Department's very existence. I've expressed (to no avail) that during a funding crisis, hatcheries producing trout should be the last to go, and that hatcheries raising salmon that contribute the least to WA recreational fishing should be the first to close. Preserving as much of the status quo is far more important to WDFW than serving the interests of taxpayers and license buyers. There is no better example of screwed up thinking.
To underline your point - The Counties of Region IV are the home of 46% of the state's population. Those residents buy 35% of the annual fishing licenses. 25% of the State-wide lakes with public access are found in region IV. Yet somehow WDFW thought it was proper management to plant only 17.6% of the statewide production of catchable trout in Region IV. That portion of the production will fall to even lower levels with that 60% cut; the majority of the State's catchable production reduction will come from Region IV hatchery closures.
The steelhead situation is even bleaker; the target hatcheries to be closed include Arlington, Whitehorse, Reiter and Tokul creek. I t looks there will be 84% reduction in winter steelhead planted and 63% in summer-runs. The icing to the whole situation is that Arlington and Tokul Creek produces all the fish for all the Alpine lakes planted in the Western Cascades north of I-90.
Obviously the message from WDFW seems to be that for those of us who live in Region need to be prepared to travel more to find our lake trout fishing, steelhead fishing or alpine lake fishing.
I wonder if in some cases in regards to lowland lake trout fishing if reduced plants might not improve fishing.
Some of the popular c & r lakes are over stocked in my opinion, which can lead to good numbers but lack of fish size.
I’ve always caught my largest west side lowland lake trout in general regulations, catch and keep lakes. There is a huge amount of pressure the first few weeks but that diminishes throughout the spring.
The fish that do make it through and carryover are nice, hard fighting fish.
For my own personal fishing, I’d rather fish for bass over 8” stocker bows.