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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 29, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Popular Lake Wenatchee sockeye fishery opens Sunday

The sockeye salmon runs around Washington continue to wax expectations, and this time Lake Wenatchee anglers will benefit from a portion of the record-sized 400,000 sockeye return in the Columbia River.

Anglers can head to Lake Wenatchee which will open for sockeye fishing this Sunday through Tuesday (Aug. 1-3).

Fishing will be allowed one hour before official sunrise and close one hour after official sunset each day.

Daily limit is two sockeye, 12 inches in length or greater. Selective gear rules and night closure in effect. Release bull trout, steelhead and chinook.

Once the fishery has concluded sport catches and the number of sockeye returning to Tumwater Dam will be evaluated to see if more openings are possible.

Through July 25, 20,715 sockeye have passed Tumwater Dam. In Lake Wenatchee, 23,000 are needed for spawning escapement, and 24,000-plus are needed for any type of harvest.

Release sockeye with one or more holes punched in the tail (caudal fin). The fish are part of a study and have been anesthetized. The FDA requires a 21-day ban on consumption of these fish.

Just like the popular tactic used in Lake Washington, Wenatchee anglers should use 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 effective in getting down to where the fish are, but a 4 to 6 ounce banana sinker will work.

This comes on the heels of an unexpected large sockeye return to the Baker River, which allowed fisheries manager to open Baker Lake for sockeye fishing. Fishing has been fairly good with some anglers now scoring easy limits of fish.

In the Upper Columbia River anglers around Brewster and at the mouth of the Okanogan River are reaping the rewards of an excellent fishhery from the record sockeye return.

While no fishing will be allowed in Lake Washington this summer, it appears the returns have been relatively strong with more than 150,000 counted at the Ballard Locks fish ladder.

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