PORTLAND, Ore. - Our lakes, ponds and waterways are about to be filled with a lot of fish just waiting to be caught.
Trout season starts this Saturday in both Oregon and Washington - and both states will be ramping up their trout stocking efforts throughout the next several months to give anglers a chance to catch some of the freshwater bounty.
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) releases millions of hatchery-reared trout at 349 locations across the state and they've got some interactive maps to help you find the best fishing holes.
And the maps now include stocking sites in Central and Southeast Oregon (in addition to the Northwest, Southwest and Northeast regions that were unveiled last year).
The fishing maps allow folks to zoom in for a close-up in either map, satellite or terrain view.
And if you click on any of the fish icons on the map you'll find a description of the fishing hole, along with the weekly recreation report, a schedule showing when ODFW plans to stock that particular spot and the fishing regulations you should be aware of before you go.
According to ODFW, more people in Oregon fish for trout than for any other kind of fish. If you've never tried it, check out this trout fishing guide (pdf) for tips, pointers, techniques, the type of tackle to use and the license requirements.
Although dozens of Washington lakes are open for fishing year-round, trout season signals the start of heavy stocking and anglers have a much better chance of catching some fish. And you'll be happy to hear that the fish will be bigger this year.
The state will be planting over 2 million trout that will be around 11 inches in length. In the past, the trout were an average of eight inches long. There will also be over 110,000 'jumbos' (up to 11-pounders) and 52,000 triploid trout (trout that average 1.5 pounds each) dropped into the state's lakes and ponds.
Some lakes, particularly in Eastern Washington, opened for trout fishing on March 1 to give anglers a jump on the season in the warmer climates. Trout generally bite well when the water is cold, but tend to lose interest once the water temperature warms up.