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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 3, 2009 at 2:22 PM

No license needed to fish as this is Free Fishing Weekend

cottagefishermen.jpg

What better way to get someone hooked on fishing than by offering some tips during Free Fishing Weekend, this Saturday and Sunday (June 6-7), when no license is required to fish or gather shellfish.

Anglers are required to obtain a catch-record card to catch some species like salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, halibut and crab.

Statewide, there are more than 500 miles of coastal shoreline and more than 2,000 miles of inner marine shoreline offering decent fishing and shellfish gathering.

Add 4,000 rivers and streams, more than 7,000 lakes and 208 reservoirs, and you’ve got plenty of places to wet a line.

I asked some experts for a few of their top chocies.

“I would tell them to take a look at Pine or Beaver lakes because those are both planted very heavily and offer some good bank access,” said Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood. “Padden Lake in Bellingham has fairly good shoreline access too. Martha Lake [at Alderwood Manor] has some public access in the south end of the lake.”

Chamberlain said Grime Lake located north of Jameson Lake in Douglas County is a quality water fishery for Lahontan cutthroat trout that can weigh up to 12 pounds. Good reports have also come from Fish Lake up by Wenatchee, and anglers can fish off the dock at Cove Resort or rent a boat there. Fish has been great for pan-size trout of late.

It is not one of the more peaceful places to fish but Green Lake in North Seattle has wide open bank access and docks to choose from, and the lake is heavily planted so fishing should hold up through this month.

Other lakes recently planted or offer good fishing are American, Meridian, Stevens, Battleground, Mayfield and Mineral (boat rental available).

Another good place to take out the beginner for pan fish such as bluegills, perch and catfish are the finger docks and shoreline of Foster Island located in the Montlake Cut across from the UW Husky Stadium, which is part of Lake Washington.

Lake Washington itself is lined with many docks and piers at Leschi, Mount Baker, Seward Park, Coulon Park in Renton, Luther Burbank on Mercer Island, Kenmore, Newport Beach, Madison Park and Juanita just to name a few. The lake has a wide variety of species of fish to catch including trout, perch, catfish and bass.

By far one of the easiest and most accessible things to do this weekend is to go shellfish-gathering at Puget Sound and Hood Canal beaches where another series of low tides occur.

As a standard rule all eastern mainland beaches from Everett south into southern Puget Sound are closed for shellfish harvesting due to unsafe pollution levels. Before going to a beach is to call the shellfish safety hotline at 800-562-5632.

Puget Sound low tides: Saturday, June 6, minus-1.9 feet at 10:43 a.m.; Sunday, June 7, -2.0 at 11:17 a.m.

Fishing from a saltwater pier is a good option for older kids or beginning adults. Try Edmonds, Pier 86 in Elliott Bay, Seacrest, Point Defiance Boathouse and Les Davis piers.

Down in the Columbia River, there is a no-brainer bank fishery creating a buzz, with the shad migrating in by the thousands and thousands. As of June 2, almost 500,000 shad had passed up the Bonneville Dam fish counter so far this spring.

“The [single day] numbers are still up there between 60,000 and 80,000 the last few days,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Bank anglers can find ample access from the shoreline from Bonneville in the gorge down to Woodland, Kalama, Cathlamet and Longview.

Many rivers open this Saturday (June 6) for fishing, and while most are running high and swift from snowmelt run off some should be fishable like the Green, Cedar, Skagit, Cascade, Cowlitz and Snoqualmie.

Those willing to hop on a charter boat should head to Westport this Sunday for the halibut fishery’s final day. Anglers were averaging almost a halibut per rod and they weighed on average about 19 pounds.

All rules still apply when fishing, including daily limits, lure and bait restrictions and size limits of fish. If you aren’t sure be sure to pick up a regulation pamphlet at the local tackle shop or view it at the state Fish and Wildlife Web site.

(Photo by Dean Rutz, Seattle Times staff photographer)

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