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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 28, 2011 at 8:19 AM

Sections of the Skagit and Cascade rivers open June 1 for hatchery kings

The big question most anglers have who are getting their salmon fishing gear ready for the hatchery chinook opener on the Skagit and Cascade rivers this coming Wednesday, June 1 is will the fish be there?

“We definitely know there are some fish around as they’ve got over 100 chinook at the hatchery (on the Cascade River at Marblemount),” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

“The water conditions are OK at the moment, but it can change from day to day. We’ve got tons of snow on the hillsides that has got to eventually come off, and the big question is when? All it has to do is get warm or have a heavy rainfall with warmer temperatures, and then watch out.”

The Cascade will fish just fine up 3,000 (cubic feet per second.), and the fish will cooperate, but once you get above that you might as well forget it,” Barkdull said. “The fish bite better in the Cascade when there is a little more water in the river.”

Barkdull said last year’s opener wasn’t super hot in the beginning, and it seems to have been that way the past few years.

“This year might be no different (than last year), and the fish haven’t been very cooperative and running straight to the hatchery,” Barkdull said.

“They are not holding anywhere in the rivers and I’m not sure what is causing that. It could be they’re reacting to the fishing pressure, and will only hold in the holes where no one is throwing big red corkies. I think they don’t like all that gear in their face, and that is my impression.”

Barkdull says chinook spawning escapement in the Cascade and Skagit has never been an issue.

The Cascade River from the mouth to Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge is open June 1-July 15. Daily limit is four hatchery chinook and only two may be adult fish with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.

The Skagit River from Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to the Cascade River Road (Marblemount Bridge) is open June 1-July 15. Daily limit is four hatchery chinook and only two may be adult fish with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.

The Skagit River from the Cascade River Road (Marblemount Bridge) to the Gorge powerhouse at Newhalem is open June 1-March 15 for catch and release except up to two hatchery may be retained. Selective gear rules and no internal combustion motors.

A section of the Skykomish River from the mouth to the Wallace River also opens Wednesday, June 1 to July 31 for hatchery chinook salmon, and those out scouting have reported seeing fish in the river already. Daily limit is two hatchery chinook with a minimum size limit of 12 inches.

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