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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 21, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Good salmon fishing in Western Washington rivers, and Central Puget Sound decent for chinook

Copy of kellysfirstking23.jpg

Word has it that many coastal rivers are giving up some decent numbers of salmon, and those brave enough to get out the saltwater should find some fish biting in Central Puget Sound.

One happy angler is Kelly Eppley of Lynnwood who managed to catch her first two kings of her life this past week in the Humptulips River that weighed 40 and 35 pounds. Eppley was fishing with Bryan Nelson of Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville and they were backbouncing plugs when the big fish hit.

Soon after the duo headed out to the coast where Nelson then showed her the ropes of digging up their nice limit of razor clams. Way to go!

“Fishing is pretty good now that the river water levels have dropped back down after the rain on the coast at places like the Humptulips, Salmon, Quillayute and Hoh,” said Nelson. “I’ve heard of a few early winter run [steelhead] in the Quillayute system.”

Other good rivers are the Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Queets, Quinault and Calawah.

Locally, the Snohomish has good numbers of coho and chum. The Skykomish near Sultan, the Wallace and the Cascade at Marblemount were fairly good for coho. The Green River also has some dark, nasty pink salmon and a few coho.

In the Columbia River, the coho returns have been so good that fisheries boosted the adult coho daily limit to three in two sections of the lower river and from Bonneville Dam to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco.

Through Oct. 18, 196,300 adult coho were counted at Bonneville Dam compared to a preseason forecast of 160,100. Fisheries managers say overall the coho run was tracking at or slightly ahead of expectation of a return of 700,000 coho.

Coho returns to Lower Columbia River hatchery facilities have generally been meeting or exceeding expectations. Tributary dam counts have been strong and some hatcheries are reporting very good returns to date.

“The best areas for coho are the mouth of the Klickitat and Camas Slough in the Lower Columbia,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We are also seeing more bright coho in the Lewis and Kalama, and the Cowlitz is producing good fishing. Four early winter run steelhead were reported last week at Cowlitz River Hatchery.

This year, the Camas Slough area salmon daily limit follows the Washougal River rules where up to six hatchery adult coho may be kept. Also under permanent rules, Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam will close to fishing for salmon beginning Nov. 1.

The Chehalis river system slowed down big time for coho, and the commercial nets have gone back into the water this week.

“It is slow fishing around Cosmopolis, Fuller Bridge and the Johns River area,” said Scott Barbour, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We went from seeing two to three fish per boat last Friday to zero or at best maybe one fish per boat now.”

“There are lots of fish in the Wynoochee and Satsop, but you can’t keep adult chinook, wild coho and chums,” Barbour said. “With more rain expected to fall we might see more fresh fish coming in.”

In the saltwater areas, Central Puget Sound has been fairly good for blackmouth but it looks like the further south you go toward Tacoma the slower it gets.

We have been out there at least three or four times a week, and are still getting blackmouth at Jefferson Head. but we haven’t gotten any chums,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Everett. “I was out [Tuesday] and we got two fish we could take home, and have averaged to four fish per day of take home fish, and one or two put backs [wild fish]. Not tons of shakers [chinook under the 22-inch legal size limit] but about six to 10 shakers each day.”

Krein said there is just tons of herring schools around. Most of the legal fish he’s caught averaged 21 to 28 inches long.

“It has been best at low tide, and hasn’t been an early in the morning bite, which you usually find during blackmouth season. It is more tidal influenced and on the midday tide change,” Krein said.

In case you missed it here was some other fishing related items that ran in my Sunday outdoor notebook:

The Tengu Blackmouth Derby in Elliott Bay, the longest-running derby in Puget Sound, begins next Sunday (Oct. 25).

For 65 years, salmon anglers who participate in this derby are faced with a myriad of obstacles including bitter cold, high winds and rain or snow.

To further challenge participants only blackmouth [resident chinook] are eligible, fishing is limited to the bay where legal-size chinook [22 inches or longer] are sometimes scarce and only mooching [drift-fishing using only a banana-lead weight tied to a leader with a herring] is allowed.

Many say the term “mooching” was created by Japanese-American immigrants between the 1920s and ’30s in Elliott Bay.

The derby itself was started by Japanese-Americans before World War II at the old Harbor Island Boathouse in West Seattle, and has been ongoing since 1946.

The derby was named after Tengu, a fabled Japanese character known for not telling the truth. Like the American classic Pinocchio, Tengu’s nose grew with every lie he told.

Last year, 68 anglers participated in the derby and managed to catch 35 blackmouth and four chum. The largest was 15 pounds, 5 ounces caught by Marcus Nitta.

Of those 68 anglers, 24 of them caught all the salmon last season. That was also 64 less blackmouth than was caught in 2007, and it was the eighth-lowest total of the past 64 derbies.

Since 1946, the largest blackmouth caught in the derby’s history was by Tom Osaki in November 1958, which weighed 25 pounds, 3 ounces. The most blackmouth caught in an entire season was 234 in 1979.

Derby rules are all fish must be caught with the boundary line of Alki Point to Fourmile Rock, and no artificial lures, flashers, hoochies [plastic squids] and downriggers are allowed.

The Tengu Derby is held every Sunday, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. from Oct. 25 to Dec. 27 at the Seacrest Boathouse in West Seattle. The fee is $15 and $5 for kids 12 and under. Boat rentals are available. Details: 206-324-7600.

Purchase tickets at the Seacrest Boathouse, Linc’s Tackle Shop, Auburn Sports and Marine, Sportco and Outdoor Emporium.

World Fishing Network to air on Comcast

The World Fishing Network, the only 24-hour fishing channel, has announced an agreement with Comcast and will soon air on both standard and high-definition channels.

“We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Comcast and we look forward to launching WFN in Comcast markets around the country,” said Mark Rubinstein, president & CEO of WFN.

“By offering WFN to Comcast customers, our hope is to bring the content that 60 million anglers are passionate about directly to their living rooms.”

WFN offers more than 1,000 hours of original programming each year dedicated to fishing and the fishing lifestyle.

WFN features popular programs such as Hookin’ Up with Mariko Izumi, who recently filmed an episode in Seattle that will air in 2010. WFN launched its network in 2005 and is available in more than 20 million households throughout North America.

(Photo taken by Bryan Nelson with Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville)



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