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Washington trout fishing season opens Saturday

There are more than 800 prizes with a total value of more than $37,000 for anglers who can catch tagged trout in more than 100 lakes across Washington.

SPOKANE COUNTY, Wash. — Trout fishing season opens Saturday, April 23 across hundreds of lakes around Washington.

The annual opening day offers an opportunity for anglers to fish on thousands of trout planted over the winter and spring seasons.

“Opening day is truly a statewide celebration,” Steve Caromile, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) Inland Fish Program manager, said in a written statement. “It’s a great opportunity to get back out on the water after a long winter, to spend time with friends and loved ones, bring home a healthy meal, and even possibly win some prizes.”

There are more than 800 prizes with a total value of more than $37,000 for anglers who can catch tagged trout in lakes across Washington. Each trout comes with a prize, and the 2022 Trout Derby runs from April 23 through Oct. 31. 

More than 100 lakes across Washington contain tagged fish, including Fish Lake and Liberty Lake in Spokane County. The WDFW planted over 16 million trout and kokanee across Washington in the past year.

According to the WDFW, to participate in the opener and the derby, residents need to have an annual freshwater, combination, or a Fish Washington fishing license.

The license must be valid through March 31, 2023. A temporary combination license for game fish cannot be used from April 23 through April 30, 2022, except for active-duty military personnel serving the U.S.

How the 2022 Trout Derby works:

1. Catch a tagged fish in any of the participating lakes in Washington.
Winning derby trout will have a white tag attached to their fin. Keep the tag! You will need it to claim your prize. 

3. Fill out a form provided by the  WDFW and enter the tag number listed on the side of the derby tag, the lake you caught it in, the date it was caught, and your contact information. 

4. Take your tag to the business location you were provided and claim your derby prize.

5. Take a photo of yourself and your winning derby trout to share on social media and tag #watroutderby.

Licenses can be purchased online or by phone at the WDFW website. WDFW employees and their immediate families are not eligible to claim fishing derby prizes.