The state Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning to release some of those big rainbow trout you may have seen in a rearing pond at the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery. In fact, you may have fed them through the fence with fish food provided by the Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery during Salmon Days.
Beaver Lake in Sammamish will be the fortunate recipient site. The department announced it will release about 2,000 rainbow trout weighing from 2-3 pounds, and open the lake for fishing at sunrise Nov. 8. The lake was to be closed for fishing Tuesday and Wednesday prior to the reopening.
The daily limit for Beaver Lake is five fish of which only two may exceed 15 inches in length. Two of those big trout should be more than enough to feed most families.
Now, here is an easy-to-access, urban lake that is close by and only 15 minutes from downtown Issaquah. To cast and wade from shore, do so from Beaver Lake Park, maintained by the city of Sammamish. It has a lot of parking and is accessible from Southeast 24th Street that intersects 228th Avenue Southeast at Discovery Elementary School.
Being that the mean depth of Beaver Lake is 21 feet, it is best fished from a small boat. There is a public-access site off of Issaquah-Beaver Lake Road, with a launch ramp and parking from which to launch your boat. However, a Department of Fish and Wildlife Vehicle Access Pass or Discover Pass must be visible in vehicles parked there.
Gas motors are prohibited on the lake but the lake is small enough that paddles, oars and electric motors give adequate propulsion.
What to use on these hatchery-raised trout? Well, they have instinctive feeding prompters still wired in, so worms and power bait are the best bet. However, they will strike flies and standard lures, such as spinners and spoons. Taking a clue from their learned feeding routine at the hatchery, try a red color, as this was the color of the end of the rod they learned to bump at the hatchery to drop food down to them.