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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 16, 2010 at 5:31 PM

First ever sockeye sport fishery in Baker Lake opens July 22

A first time ever sport sockeye fishery in Baker Lake will now become a reality after a stronger than expected return of these highly tasty fish.

Beginning July 22 until further notice, anglers can keep two adult sockeye daily from Baker Dam to the mouth of the Baker River. Sockeye must be longer than 18 inches.

All other salmon must be released, and no fishing will be allowed between the dam and the log boom at the lower end of the lake.

More than 10,000 sockeye have returned to hatchery facilities and artificial spawning beaches on the lake, exceeding this year’s 6,300-fish escapement goal.

“This has always been one of those place holder fisheries that we talk about at the (salmon season setting process meetings in the spring) and they’ve always been contingent upon getting enough fish and so now it has become a reaility,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

With so many other salmon fisheries happening right now around western Washington including the northern and central Puget Sound hatchery chinook fishery, Barkdull believes it will draw a modest crowd that is until anglers figure out how to catch them. Then it could become a big draw.

Anglers should try tactics similar to Lake Washington where you troll very slowly 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, but a 3 to 4 ounce banana lead weight will work.

The lake has excellent access points, and the two largest boat launch and parking facilities are the Kulshan Campground and Forest Service’s Horseshoe Cove. Others are Panorama Point, Baker Lake Resort and Shannon Creek.

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