Frequently Asked Questions
This web site's goal is to be the number one source for current fishing reports in Washington. It does this by relying on the readers who send in first person fishing reports. WL.com gives anglers a place to share fishing techniques, reports, and places to go fish. It provides a neighborhood for fishing comradery. Readers are encouraged to send in current fishing reports, information on lakes posted, and submit new lakes to add to the data base. The bulk of content is supplied by the readers of this site. WL.com supports a fellowship of fishers helping one another and being their own forum to improve the fishing knowledge and opportunities in this state. WL.com is in a very real sense a giant "online fishing diary" made up of reports from thousands of anglers since it's begining in 1997.
WashingtonLakes.com was started in 1998. In 1996, Editor Mike Carey wrote Dave Weitl, editor of NWFishing.com about a few changes he thought would make the lakes section more user friendly. Dave's response was "how about editing that section?". One thing led to another and WashingtonLakes.com was born. WL.com is now a separate web site run entirely by Mike Carey.
Up until April 2005 Mike did all the web design using Microsoft Front Page. In July of 2004 WL.com was contacted by Aaron Borg, fishing enthusiast and web programer. He made the same suggestion that Mike made to Dave Weitl back in 1996 - "I'd like to help with some neat ideas to improve the site". Ten months and uncounted hours of hard labor later, you see the results. WL.com is now a searchable database. This change has allowed the site to move to a whole new level with rich possibilities and benefits to the readers. Now readers can search for old reports, better view current reports, and access information in a much easier and logical manner. WL.com will never be the same, and this is thanks in large part to Aaron's hard work and dedication. We all owe him a huge THANK YOU for his efforts.
If there is no recent report it's because no one has sent in a report for me to post. This site relies on readers to submit reports and tell us about lakes that aren't yet in the data base. In the last few years, I've seen a tremendous increase in the number of reports people have sent in. I hope that continues. The idea is simple- you tell me how you did on a lake, I tell you how I did. Enough of us telling each other adds up to a useful tool for deciding where we want to fish and what may work well (and what may not work).
Sometimes reader's express concern that they are giving away their best spots. I wouldn't want you to report on your favorite 10 acre fishing hole unless you wanted to share with the rest of us. There are well over 3,000 lakes in our state - that's plenty of water to go around! Most of the lakes readers send reports on are regularly stocked by WDFW. They are hardly "secrets". But if you feel uncomfortable about sharing a spot - don't! You have the option of submiting a "Secret lake" report. You can share you're fishing trip but not reveal the name of the lake. Make us guess it! Everyone is welcome to this site - whether you send in reports or not. (but we do hope you'll share in the spirit of goodwill that other readers display)
"Why don't you have a section for...?" I often get a question like "Why don't you have a section for pan fish?" The reason is I haven't had a chance to add it, or maybe I never even thought to add it, or maybe I just haven't had the time or energy to add it. I definitely look to the readers for ideas and suggestions. Unfortunately, I'm not always able to add the things people want. I have to allocate the amount of time I have to work on the web site to first keep up to date with submitted reports, and then look to adding new features to the site. And, the features have to have enough interest to be used by the readers. So you may not always get the sections you request, but I will always give them full consideration and try to respond to you with the reason I decided not to add it. Finally, I am always looking for help with this web site. If you have an idea and want to "flesh it out" for me, I would be very grateful. I am always looking for help, especially as the site grows in size and readership.
WL is a non-profit site. By that I mean, I've never made a profit! Seriously, I have managed to sell ads for the site - much of the money covers the server costs and other web related expenses. What little is left over doesn't match up very well compared to the amount of time Aaron and I have put into the site. I didn't start this website to make money. I like to return something back to the readers in the form of monthly contests. So it really does help this site when you support the sponsors - and they are helping us to keep this web site online. I do reserve the right to take this site public as a dot-com and become filthy rich someday.
I may not have the information to begin with. If a resort wants to post it's information, there are several ways to do this. They can add their listing to the free Reader's Links Section and Classified Ads section. Because some resorts have paid to be sponsors, I don't include information on resorts that haven't contributed to the site. I feel this is only fair to the resorts that have helped to support this web site.
Reports may not get posted for several reasons. Sometimes I can't find the lake in any data bases I have so I can't confirm the lake exists. Sometimes the lake may be under a different name than the names locals use. Sometimes I get reports that are blatantly ridiculas as to fish caught, techniques used, etc. Sometimes the reports have illegal fishing practises in them. Sometimes readers forget to put the name of the lake in the report form. Sometimes reports are just plain rude or vulgar. They never get posted (I strive to keep this site "G" rated). I always try to e-mail the sender requesting further clarification on reports before just deleting them. That's why it's helpful to include your e-mail address with the report.
From time to time I receive a report for a lake that may be closed, or maybe the fisherperson is using bait when it's a no bait lake, or maybe some other regulation is broken. Usually a reader will pick up on this and send me an e-mail wanting to know what's up? Because there are so many lakes in this state, I am unable to keep track of the various regs for each lake. So if I get a report and it has something illegal in it, I'm not always aware of this, and it gets posted. When readers alert me to violations, I will amend or remove or make note of it on the report. There is no way I can keep up with the specific rules on every lake in this state. While this web site can provide a lot of useful information, it is the responsibility of each individual to know the regs for the lake they are fishing.
The Top Rated Lakes list is composed of any lake that has ten or more reports. All reports are rated 1-5 by readers. The average is computed and the result is the Top Rated Lakes list. If you move your mouse pointer over the boxes of the Top Lakes you will see a number pop up. This is the actual average. All lakes have a generic average of 1 to 5 displayed next to their names on the county lists. This will give you a good sense of the over-all success rate that anglers have reported for a lake. The more reports a lake has, the more consistent the average should be.
When you submit a report, on the bottom of the form is a browse box. If you have a picture to submit with your report you can use the browse box to point to where your picture is on your computer. Once you've done this, just click "Upload" and the picture will be submited to WL.com. It's vital that you do this first, wait for the picture to be accepted, and then click on submit report. If you don't you won't be able to connect the picture to the report. Once I get your report with the picture attached I just add it to the Picture Corner. These pictures change randomly and each time you log on you'll most likely see a new picture. You can also see your picture in the Photo Gallery.
Yes, maybe. It depends how consistent you've been with including your name in the report. Try using the Search feature. Type in your name and all reports that have that name in it will come up. So if you have a distinct name or moniker you should have good luck. If you have been posting with a popular name, say "Bob", then all the reports posted by all the "Bobs" will show up. So it helps if you have a distinct name or include your last name. You can also search the database for any key word you chose. Give it a try!
Probably not. I've posted most all the maps that are available on the web or from WDFW. Many of these maps were made years ago by the then Dept of Game. But if I find more I will post them to the site.
You bet! We are always looking for more content to add to the site. If you have a digital camera and want to take pictures of your favorite lake you can mail them to me at: Mike@washingtonlakes.com. Mail your six best shots. Include a description of the lake and any first person information you'd like other anglers to know about. For example, ramps, parks, shore access. I'll take the information you send me and turn it into a Featured Lake. And for your efforts I'll send you some gifts from our sponsors.
The first thing you can do is just visit the site. It's very encouraging for me to see the way the site has grown over the years. Second is to take the time to send in a report when you go fishing. It doesn't have to be long or have great grammar. But without the reader's reports this site is just a hollow shell. If you have new lakes to add, stories to share, pictures to post, or anything else of interest, by all means send it in. If you have comments or suggestions I want hear them. If you want to donate stuff for contests or to help pay for server costs, that would be nice, too. But most importantly just log in and enjoy the site. Happy Fishing! Mike Carey, Editor
Our readership numbers have been growing at about a 20% pace per year. In 1998 for the entire year we were visited 47,220 times. In 2005 that number had grown to 754,361! Our busiest months are April to August. Our total visit count from 1998 to present (Dec 2005) is 3,368,163 visits. Fishing reports yearly have averaged over 1,200 reports per year the past four years. Our total reports posted to the site is over 8,000. Our data base contains information on around 675 lakes. There are 369 articles and stories about fishing in our database. There are around 65 pictures in the Photo Gallery (with hundrends in storage waiting to be transfered). We have 55 Featured Lake articles. There are over 250 Topo lake maps. Whew!
The report form is for reports only. If you send in general questions to other readers on the report form they will not get posted. I try to respond to the sender to tell them, but if there is no e-mail address then the question just gets deleted. Questions to other readers should be posted on the WashingtonLakes.com Readers Forum.