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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

April 19, 2011 at 3:55 PM

San Juan Islands hatchery chinook fishery picking up steam on the heels of a local salmon derby

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The Frank Wilson Memorial Blackmouth Derby in the San Juan Islands ended Friday, April 15 on a hot note.

Here is a fishing report from Kevin Klein of Friday Harbor with the Puget Sound Anglers San Juan Islands Chapter and CCA Northsound on the last day of the derby, and a rundown on how his fish ended up in second place: “I headed to Salmon Bank at first light, and a flotilla of boats soon followed. We were all looking for that “last day fish” to unseat one of the money placings. After three hours of trolling, no fish. I had, however, lost two entire downrigger set-ups, 12-pound ball, snubber, rudder, cable and all. I was fishing solo, and down to one last 10 pound ball.”

“Debating whether to run in and go shopping I figured I might as well make a pass on the west side of Lopez Island while heading in the direction of the tackle shop. I got the gear down and started marking fish. A lot of bait and birds showed up, and the place was looking a little more interesting. My rod soon yanked down, and I had a hold of something pretty big. After a good fight I scooped it one handed with the net, dropped the rod, closed the purse and hauled her aboard. Beautiful, about 19 (pound) and clean shaven (hatchery-marked chinook with a missing adipose fin).”

“That was the one I had been looking for all year. I got back in the water, released two more and then finally tagged out on a nice 10 (pounder). All (caught) on the Irish Cream Hootchie Hooker. More boats showed up, along with the Orcas, as I was running for the scales. Turns out I should have run a little sooner, as my fish knocked Rich Warin out of third, but weighed two-hundredths of an ounce less than Marty Chevalier Jr.’s second place fish.”

That wasn’t the only excitement for the day, as Carol Davis weighed in not one, but two fish bigger than Karen Rhineharts 12.70-pounder in the final hours. The 13.48-pound fish gave Carol the win in the Women’s Division.

Marshall Clarke caught a 7.74-pound fish to win the kids top prize on the last day as well.

In all, 56 anglers weighed in 72 blackmouth. The first annual Women’s Division saw 10 participants in a heated race.

Results: 1, Raymond Ploghoft, 20.70-pound chinook, $1,000; 2, Marty Chevalier Jr., 19.25, $500; 3, Kevin Klein, 19.23, $250. Women’s Division: Carol Davis, 13.48, $250. Kids Division: Marshall Clarke, 7.74, $250. Mystery Fish Weight Division: Jerry Greene, 6.74, $250.

Klein says it turns out the ending of the derby was just the beginning of the good fishing in the San Juan Islands. A lot of fish were hooked throughout the weekend, with limits and multiple releases being the norm. Salmon fishing in the island chain is open through April 30.

(Photo courtesy of Jeff Redburn who caught this nice 15 pound hatchery chinook downrigger trolling off Point Lawrence in the San Juan Islands this past Friday.)

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