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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 11, 2011 at 11:23 AM

Spot shrimp opener was good despite a lower than expected turnout

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The spot shrimp fishery will come to an end in some areas of Puget Sound after today (Wednesday, May 11), but there is still time to set pots for these tasty prawn-sized denizens of the deep, and more openings could be possible in the weeks ahead.

“Effort was generally down on the (May 7) opener probably due to the weather (and maybe gas prices), but the catches were pretty good overall,” said Mark O’Toole, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Preliminary figures showed in the San Juan Islands, 144 boats (133 in 2010) caught an estimated 13.46 spot shrimp per boat (7.58) and averaged 13.2 pounds per boat (15.9). The total estimated catch was 1,934 pounds (1,008).

In the Everett/Saratoga Pass area, 294 boats (445) caught 16.85 (18.04) and averaged 12.1 (11.5). The total estimated catch was 4,957 pounds (8,063).

In the Edmonds/Possession Bar area 127 boats (150) caught 17.65 (12.85) and averaged 124. (13.1). The total estimated catch was 2.236 pounds (1,923).

In Hood Canal, 1,458 boats (1,477) caught 14.84 (16.00) and averaged 14.5 (15.2), and catches were way down in the southern portion. The total estimated catch was 21,627 pounds (23,674). The average pots per boat was 3.6 and number of anglers was 3.5 per boat. The total pots soaking in the hood was 5,200 pots and 5,170 anglers turned out.

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In Discovery Bay, 43 boats (38) caught 10.39 (7.53) and averaged 17.2 (17.8). The total estimated catch was 441 pounds (285).

At Bainbridge Island, 41 boats (108) caught 17.89 (16.37) and averaged 11.9 (13.4). The total estimated catch was 733 pounds (1,763).

In Elliott Bay, 106 boats (111) caught 17.33 (14.46) and averaged 11.8 (11.4). The total estimated catch was 1,838 pounds (1,610).

In Vashon Island/Des Moines area, 65 boats (99) caught 10.66 (4.40) and averaged 12.2 (12.6). The total estimated catch was 685 pounds (436).

Hood Canal is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. this Saturday and May 25; Discovery Bay is open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. May 14; San Juan Islands are open 7 a.m. this Friday and Saturday, and May 25 and 28; and Sekiu, Port Angeles and South Puget Sound are open daily.

Central, northern and south central Puget Sound and Saratoga Pass (Marine Catch Areas 8, 9, 10 and 11) are now closed.

Additional dates and times for spot shrimp could be announced for certain areas if catch quotas aren’t achieved.

“We’ll need to wait until after (Wednesday’s fishing) to have a better feeling, but clearly there are two areas that might get another day just from looking at the data from (last Saturday),” O’Toole said.

Those two areas are south central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 11) and central Puget Sound outside of Elliott Bay (10).

“One thing we have to do is look at the overall catch balance between sport and commercial before we announce any openings,” O’Toole said. “Sometimes we end up not reopening it to sport if we went way over the catch in other places. We’ll know better by (Thursday) for sure.”

(Photos taken by The Seattle Times staff)

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