CONCONULLY Water levels were up a bit and crowds were down for the opening day of fishing Saturday on local lakes.
A check of fish found many anglers taking home jumbo trout of a pound or more caught during the opener.
Dustin Ehinger, who stayed at a place just outside of Conconully with Marcie Ehinger (also fishing) , netted a 17-inch, 1.14-pound jumbo that came right to shore for him.
“This morning there was nobody,” said Pam Klotz of Omak, who hit the water at 5 a.m. “I was wondering if it was opening day.”
Klotz said she thought the fish were freezing due to the morning cold.
Linda Oules of the state Fish and Wildlife Department, who was checking fish sizes, said both the upper lake and the lower Conconully Reservoir received plants of the jumbo fish prior to the opener.
“I’ve been coming here 46 years,” said Tim Corner, 72, of Renton. He caught his limit in about two hours, which he took back to his place in Conconully.
“I’m enjoying life after retiring from Rainier Brewery in Seattle after 28 years,” he said. “I started with Ralph Pistoresi (former Omak spirit distributor) as route driver for Coke. Gosh it’s a nice day. Last year I did not get anything in four hours. So this year is good for me.”
Ray and Virginia Shapley, along with Cody Hawley of Okanogan, appeared to be the most successful Saturday morning. They were hauling in a trout while being the lone anglers on the upper lake’s dike near Sinlahekin Road.
“It’s sure a nice day for fishing,” Ray Shapley said. “Usually opening day, Cody and I go fishing. This is the first time sis has been up here.”
Alta Lake’s shoreline was full of families Saturday morning, some launching boats but many content to cast their lines from the beach.
Randy Doull of Seattle, his sister Cheryl Doull and other family members brought their catch of the day to shore via boat.
“We got four nice big ones. Just enough for breakfast,” Randy Doull said.
The Doulls have four generations of family members in the Alta Lake area. Doull said they’ve been coming to the lake to fish since about 1959.
A smaller-than-usual crowd hit Fish Lake for this year’s opener, with many hauling in half-pound rainbows from the lake in the Sinlahekin area.
Alexis “Lulu” Taylor, 6, of Grand Coulee landed her first-ever fish at the lake Sunday using PowerBait.