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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 14, 2010 at 2:30 PM

Baker and Skagit rivers open for sockeye Friday, and first ever Baker Lake fishery could happen shortly

Those looking to get their sockeye salmon fishing fix locally can soon head to the Baker River and parts of the Skagit River, which will open for sockeye salmon fishing Friday, July 16 through Sunday, July 18.

“The sockeye have been piling in,” Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist said who also noted that DFW is in the process of possibly opening Baker Lake as soon as July 22 for the first time ever.

Through Tuesday, July 13 there was 4,868 sockeye in Baker Lake, and another 2,994 at the hatchery.

The hatchery spawning goal this summer is 3,800 sockeye, and the lake goal is 2,500. The preseason forecast was 4,485.

“The tribal fishery went in (Wednesday, July 14) and they weren’t catching fish at the rate we thought,” Barkdull said. “This is not red hot fishery, and the Baker and Skagit are usually good in first two weeks of the season which we would have opened it July 1 a normal opening schedule.”

Sockeye fishing is allowed from Baker mouth to Highway 20 Bridge; and Skagit from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to a point 200 feet above the east bank of the Baker River. The daily limit Is two sockeye.

“If we open up (Baker Lake) my guess is that you would fish it like Lake Wenatchee,” Barkdull said. “There (at Lake Wenatchee) the fish tend to stack up on the inlet side, and it is a crack of dawn first thing in the morning show.”

If Baker Lake opens anglers should try tactics similar to Lake Washington where you troll very slow with one or two bare 2/0, 3/0 or 4/0 red, blue or black hooks on a short 9- to 12-inch leader trailed behind a 0-size chrome dodger. Downriggers are used to get down to the right depths.

The king fishery on sections of the Skagit River and Cascade River are winding down.

“The kings have been running straight up and making a beeline right to the hatchery, which is an unfortunate thing for the fishery,” Barkdull said.

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