December 11, 2013 at 8:19 AM
Steelhead fishing in some eastside rivers has come to a close due to a smaller return and a higher number of wild steelhead.
State Fish and Wildlife fisheries managers say the closures are necessary in order to keep wild steelhead encounters below the allowable threshold.
This includes the Upper Columbia River from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam, and the Wenatchee and Icicle rivers. Whitefish fishing is also closed on the Wenatchee.
In the meantime, steelhead and whitefish fishing in the Okanogan, Similkameen, Methow and Columbia from Wells Dam up to Chief Joseph Dam remains open until further notice.
In these areas only hatchery steelhead may be kept with a two-fish daily limit. Once an angler catches their limit they must stop fishing.
There are night closures and selective gear rules in all open areas, but bait is allowed in the open section of the Columbia mainstem.
Fishery managers are reviewing the catches and will provide a run update in January. If possible some areas could reopen for fishing at a later time.
December 10, 2013 at 10:08 AM
This is an interactive map that shows the best and worst places to cast a line in Western Washington. It’s usually updated on Tuesdays.
December 10, 2013 at 8:08 AM
Cowlitz River – Boat and bank anglers are catching steelhead mainly around the trout hatchery while bank anglers at the barrier dam are mainly catching coho.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 583 coho salmon, 194 coho jacks, 107 winter-run steelhead, one summer-run steelhead and 14 cutthroat trout during seven days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 242 coho adults, 104 coho jacks and one fall Chinook adult into the Tilton River at Gust Backstrom Park in Morton, 19 coho adults and 27 coho jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at the Skate Creek Bridge in Packwood, 201 coho adults and 44 jacks into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek, and 55 coho adults and 11 jacks into Lake Scanewa behind Cowlitz Falls Dam.
River flows at Mayfield Dam are approximately 14,500 cubic feet per second on Monday, December 9. Water visibility is seven feet.
Kalama River – Low effort and catches last week though some coho jacks were released.
Lewis River – Mixture of fall Chinook, coho, and steelhead on the North Fork Lewis. Mainstem Lewis was slow.
Under permanent rules, the North Fork Lewis from Colvin Creek upstream to the overhead powerlines below Merwin Dam opens to fishing for Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead Monday Dec. 16.
Washougal River – Mixture of coho and winter/summer steelhead are being caught, primarily by boat anglers.
Klickitat River – Light effort and no catch was observed.
Plants of catchable size rainbows last week:
Battle Ground Lake – 4,000
Klineline Pond – 1,900
Lacamas Lake – 4,800
December 9, 2013 at 8:02 PM
The next series of coastal razor clam digs have been set to begin Saturday, Dec. 14 through Wednesday, Dec. 18 during evening tides only.
“Even though it was pretty darn freezing during the last digs and effort dropped off considerably there was a few people who turned out each night (between Nov. 30 to Dec. 7),” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “It is a function of this season when we have a lot of digging days so many probably didn’t feel they needed to go when the weather was so cold.”
A total of 13,250 clam digger trips were taken from Nov. 30 to Dec. 7, and the diggers averaged 14.2 clams per person (a daily limit is the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition).
Upcoming digs are:
Saturday, Dec. 14, low tide is minus-0.1 feet at 4:45 p.m. at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis.
Sunday, Dec. 15, -0.3 at 5:26 p.m. at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.
Monday, Dec. 16, -0.4 at 6:03 p.m. at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.
Tuesday, Dec. 17, -0.4 at 6:38 p.m. at Twin Harbors.
Wednesday, Dec. 18, -0.3 at 7:12 p.m. at Twin Harbors.
Provided marine toxin levels are good, more digs are also planned to ring in the New Year on:
Here are the additional evening digging dates going into the winter holiday period:
Sunday, Dec. 29, -0.2 at 4:05 p.m. at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Monday, Dec. 30, -0.9 at 4:55 p.m. at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
Tuesday, Dec. 31, -1.4 at 5:42 p.m. at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.
December 9, 2013 at 11:40 AM
December 8, 2013
|Bellingham Ramp Squalicum Harbor||5||10||2||0||0||0||0|
|Camano Island State Park Public Ramp||2||3||0||0||0||0||0|
|Cornet Bay Public Ramp||1||1||1||0||0||0||0|
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December 7, 2013
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December 6, 2013
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December 5, 2013
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December 4, 2013
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|Cornet Bay Public Ramp||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
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|Everett Public Ramp||6||9||0||0||0||0||0|
|John Wayne Marina||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Kingston Public Ramp||1||1||0||0||0||0||0|
|Point Defiance Boathouse||1||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Shilshole Public Ramp||1||1||1||0||0||0||0|
|Washington Park Launch Ramp||5||10||7||0||0||0||0|
December 3, 2013
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December 2, 2013
|Shilshole Public Ramp||1||1||2||0||0||0||0|
December 9, 2013 at 10:01 AM
Resurrection Derby anglers brave arctic blast in San Juan Islands, and end up catching a good numbers of hatchery chinook
While the majority of folks all across Puget Sound retreated to the warmer comforts of home, there was a big group of anglers who braved fierce freezing cold winds, unbearable temperatures and iced over boats decks all for the chance at winning the Resurrection Salmon Derby in Friday Harbor on Friday and Saturday.
And the payoff for the 85 boats with about 250 anglers was a whopping catch of 185 chinook (95 were caught on day one), according to Chris Long, a derby spokesman.
“It was pretty cold, but there was some pretty good fishing in the islands,” Long said.
In the end Dale Nelsen of Anacortes took home top honors with a 16.92 pound Chinook.
Second place went to Randy Welch with a 15.8 pound fish; third was Kevin Kurras with a 15.29; fourth went to Jennifer Payne with a 14.68; and fifth was Mike McAuley with a 14.51.
The team with the most weight of fish went to Greg Gorder, Chuck Payne, Hugh Allen and Jennifer Payne who weighed in 79.37 pounds and took home $10,000.
The mystery secret weight was 9.23 pounds, and the closest to that was Erin Parberry with a 9.36 pound fish.
The derby was part of the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s Northwest Salmon Derby Series. Next up in the derby series is the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8. For details, go to http://www.northwestsalmonderbyseries.com/.
December 8, 2013 at 11:16 AM
Here is the latest fishing report from Dave Graybill, longtime Eastern Washington outdoor radio host and angler:
I mentioned earlier that there was good trout fishing at Lake Roosevelt, so I just had to go and try it myself.
I took my time getting up there and when I was set up on the beach at Spring Canyon, it was already past 12:30.
I rigged two rods and began to cast off the shore.
The action had its lulls but by 2:15 I had my five fish limit. I had lost two fish and missed three bites in this time, too.
The rainbow averaged 15 inches and were very heavy bodied, and the meat is a deep pink. I was using medium size marshmallows and a jar of shrimp left over from sockeye fishing.
The bait was on a size 1 Octopus Circle Hook, and these big trout had no trouble inhaling it all. The hook was tied onto an 8-pound fluorocarbon leader. You will need to cast quite a ways out from the beach, but a half-ounce slip sinker is enough weight to get it to where the trout are cruising.
The bait was doused with Graybill’s Guide Formula salmon scent, too. I had to beach to myself, but there is plenty of room here for a bunch of anglers.
For details or Graybill’s weekly report visit his website at http://www.fishingmagician.com/.
December 8, 2013 at 8:08 AM
Here is Tony Floor’s monthly Tackle Box:
Here is your early December quiz question for the month: What northwest city and county is recognized for their dairy products such as cheese and yogurt? If you guessed Tillamook, advance to “GO” and collect $200.
I’ve been looking forward to writing this column for the last several weeks, as the result of a recent trip to Tillamook Bay chasing big chrome king salmon in shallow water. But before I make the dive into the details of the trip, follow me while I put it into perspective.
Tillamook Bay hosts a wonderful return of wild king salmon bound for five tributaries to the Bay. More recently, small hatchery productions of chinook salmon have augmented the wild stocks.
These fish arrive at the entrance to Tillamook Bay in late September and continue to migrate into the Bay throughout the fall, much later than most Pacific northwest chinook salmon stocks. They are notorious for their size and brightness, although the size seems to have declined during the last two decades.
Turning back the pages of time, I was at a national sport fish policy meeting at the invitation of the Feds, back in the spring of 1988 when a dude walked up to me and introduced himself as Bill Shake from the US Fish and Wildlife Service in Portland. I thought it was a potential set-up and I was under arrest. He said, “I’ve heard a thing or two about you regarding your passion to fish for king salmon and I want you to join me for a day of fishing down at Tillamook Bay next fall, on the north Oregon coast.” I said, “Sign me up and let’s do it.”
I had heard about Tillamook Bay and their unique run of wild king salmon, big kings that enter the Bay in late September and continue to enter the system into December. How can that be? King salmon here in Washington, with the exception of a few coastal stocks, are making babies in late September and early October. I was about to learn more about these Tillamook fall kings.
I met Bill and John Polansky in Portland during the last week of September, back in ‘88 and off we went, trailering Bill’s 17-foot Arima to Garabaldi, on the northwest corner of Tillamook Bay. We launched and ran out into an area where the Bay meets the ocean, called “The Jaws” and began motor-mooching for king salmon, dropping our plug-cut herring to the deck and reeling up a few cranks. Boom! Something large ate my worm and about 15 minutes later a 45 pound chrome bright king salmon consumed a significant portion of the deck in Bill’s Arima. I was in disbelief. We went on to catch four more, between 32 and 38 pounds. You have to be kidding me! Huge, chrome king salmon in late September! I was an instant Tillamook convert, in search of real estate.
During ensuing years, further into the late 80-s and early 90’s, one of my longtime fishing partners, Larry Carpenter from Master Marine Inc. in Mt. Vernon and I made our annual pilgrimage down to Tillamook, three hours south of Olympia. During those last days of September, every year, we caught, and caught, and caught some more. Big kings, mid-20’s to mid-30’s, every year, like clockwork. They became very special trips in my lifetime of saltwater salmon fishing.
But something happened during that decade of trips to Tillamook. The ocean, particularly around the entrance to the Bay continued to become increasingly unpredictable similar to trying to train a king cobra snake to become pet friendly. Good luck with that!
It must have been around ’94 or ’95 when Larry and I were trolling around the south side of the south jetty when I looked to the west, on a clear early morning during a flat ocean. Waves, big waves, huge waves, estimated by some as upwards of 20-feet came out of nowhere and were barreling directly toward us at a remarkable speed. I immediately, without a word spoken, jumped on the helm in Larry’s 23-foot Wellcraft and charged the incoming waves. Before the rogue waves met us, I witnessed three boats and a total of five people instantly inhaled by the waves only 200 feet in front of us. Two did not survive the capsizing.
As I charged the first steep wave, the biggest in a group of 15, the curl on the top of the wave was estimated at 6 feet. We punctured through the curl which went over the entire top of the Wellcraft, and we instantly began free-falling back down to sea level off the backside of the huge rogue wave.
I continued to charge each of the waves, as they became increasingly smaller. We were lucky as we knew we had burned one of our lives that day. I was also lucky to have the experience kick in gear from my Coast Guard motor life boat training days back in the early 70’s contributing in how to deal with the waves. Clearly, the strategy is to use enough power to accelerate to the top of the wave, then cut power immediately to maintain enough of a horizontal position when the freefall part of the nightmare begins. Too much power would result in a broach. This task is more difficult to accomplish, based on the steepness of the wave. I recall seeing nothing but clear sky during the freefall, gripping the helm, as we were approaching a broach.
Larry and I became a new shade of white boys for days, weeks and months. We agreed to abandon our annual Tillamook trips and transferred our fishing efforts during late September and early October to Grays Harbor, which can produce late-time king salmon too in much friendlier conditions. Unfortunately, especially in recent years, Grays Harbor has been a disappointment.
About six months ago, I received a call from Seattle boating insurance guru Neal Booth who invited me to join him on a guided fishing trip to Tillamook, with Northwest Marine Trade Association Prez George Harris. I said yes while my experiences of trips to Tillamook began playing reruns in my head.
We fished with John Childs (www.fin-addictions.com) on a Monday, October 14th. It was incredible. We boated five kings, four of them caught in 11 feet of water inside Tillamook Bay, trolling big spinners off a drop sinker with three ounces of lead. In shallow water, it’s similar to hooking an Amtrak passing you at 75 miles per hour. As you may recall, the weather pattern back in mid-October of gray skies and fog, seemingly every day, was a drag. The weather down at Tillamook was sunny and flat calm. Our fifth king, all in the mid-teens to low 20’s was out in the ocean. Yes, a very flat friendly ocean while my eyes continued to search the horizon for rogue waves. Six crab pots produced limits (12 per person) of Dungeness crab in a three hour soak. Incredible, as we cruised back home, along the beautiful Oregon coast with a cooler full of king salmon and Dungeness. My kind of a Monday!
I’m going back to Tillamook in 2014, as a Christmas present to me (what a guy!). It was a blast and John Childs not only knows Tillamook, he is a class act and a gentleman. I recommend booking a trip with him in early October next year too. In fact, I asked John about how the king salmon fishing had been prior to our arrival. He said, “Tony, the first two weeks of October was stupid!” Stupid, in case you’re wondering, is the new word for white hot. “These kings will continue to migrate into the Bay through early and-mid December. No way!”, I replied. “Yes way,” he said. Book it, Dano!
And while you’re thinking about December and Christmas shopping closer to home, I continue to recommend, as my first choice, booking a local winter blackmouth fishing trip to the San Juans with Derek Floyd who fishes out of Anacortes (Derek@reelclasscharters.com). As you may recall, I have shared fishing experiences with Derek in this space during the last two years. Now is the time to get on the train. The San Juans continues to open on December 1st and will remain open through April with a two-hatchery chinook per day limit. Derek and John Childs have impressed me with their fishing skills and first class personalities. I think you will be impressed too!
This December I’m off to corner some winter blackmouth in the San Juans when the weather allows. The fish are there and here we go with another awesome winter/spring blackmouth season. I love this game. See you on the water!
(Tony Floor is the Director of Fishing Affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) and a former 30-year veteran of state Fish and Wildlife. NMTA advocates for and promotes recreational boating and fishing in the region.)
December 7, 2013 at 8:08 AM
The sixth week of the Tengu Blackmouth Derby, one of the most challenging and longest running salmon derbies, was held this past Sunday in Elliott Bay, and 21 anglers braved the elements and only catching one blackmouth.
“It was tough fishing for derby members who ventured out in the wind storm on Sunday,” said Doug Hanada, the Tengu Derby Club president. “Only one nice blackmouth made the board and was caught off the West Waterway late in the morning. Members fishing from areas that were somewhat protected from the wind reported marking some scattered bait and fish.
Sunday derby results: 1, Gary Wong, 8 pound-1 ounce Chinook.
This winter derby is still being dubbed the Wong Family Derby as Justin Wong still holds onto the largest fish of the season with a 9 pound-7 ounce chinook caught on Nov. 24. So far this season, 14 chinook, four chum and one coho have been caught. The Wong family (Benny, Justin and Dennis) have tallied a whopping nine of the 14 blackmouth caught for the season.
Last year, the 10-week derby produced 23 legal-size (more than 22 inches long) hatchery-marked chinook for 46 anglers. The best fishing came in the second half of the season with 27 anglers Dec. 9 catching three, including the derby winner; 29 on Dec. 16 had four; 30 on Dec. 23 had five; and 28 on Dec. 30 had three.
In good years, it is not uncommon to have 50 to 100 fish weighed in for the season, but catches have dropped off since 2009. The record-low catch total since the derby began in 1946 was four fish in 2010, and the record catch was 234 in 1979.
The derby was named after Tengu, a fabled Japanese character who stretched the truth. Like Pinocchio, Tengu’s nose grew with every lie.
In the derby, only mooching (fishing using a banana-style lead weight to a leader with a herring) is allowed. No artificial lures, flashers, hoochies (plastic squids) or other gear like downriggers are permitted.
The derby is held from daybreak to 11 a.m. every Sunday through Dec. 29 at the Seacrest Boathouse in West Seattle. Cost is $15, and $5 for kids under age 12. Rental boats are $65, and $85 for boat and motor. Details: 206-324-7600.
December 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM
State Fish and Wildlife would like anglers input on how to manage the Grays Harbor salmon fisheries.
State fisheries is in the process of developing a new draft policy for Grays Harbor salmon management, and plans to make a decision in mid-February.
The current Grays Harbor fisheries were developed in 2007, and the state fishery officials are looking at ways to boost and attain wild salmon spawning goals, plus providing sport and commercial fishermen a much clearer picture of what fishing opportunities they can expect each year.
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission will accept public comments during a meeting Friday and Saturday (Dec. 6-7) 8:30 a.m. in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E. in Olympia. An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/.
During the past month, state Fish and Wildlife managers have been working with a citizen committee to develop options to address conservation and catch allocation for Grays Harbor salmon fisheries. The goal is to provide a much clearer picture on sport and commercial fisheries in this highly popular area for coho and kings.
Addtional meetings are:
Jan. 13 – Grays Harbor Advisory Committee, from 6-8 p.m.; public input from 8-9 p.m.; WDFW’s Montesano office, 48 Devonshire Road.
Jan. 15 – WDFW fishery managers will host a public workshop from 6-8 p.m.; Montesano City Hall, 112 North Main Street, Montesano.
The state Fish and Wildlife Commission will make a final decision on the fishing options at a February meeting.
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