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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 29, 2011 at 3:45 PM

Baker River fish trap fixed, and more sockeye trucked to Baker Lake

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All is right again in the Baker Lake sockeye fishery.

“The fish trap got fixed (on Wednesday) and they’ve been hauling fish like crazy since then,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Barkdull estimated they hauled 800 sockeye on Wednesday, and about 1,000 on Thursday up to the lake.

Through July 28, 18,009 have entered the fish trap on the Baker River, and 11,839 have been transferred to Baker Lake.

Some of the sockeye have also been used for spawning production, Barkdull says, and the Upper Skagit Tribes also took some fish on Thursday.

Barkdull also took time off to fish Baker Lake for sockeye on Thursday and Friday, and managed to catch a limit of fish for three anglers using four rods on Friday.

“We got the bugs worked out on our sockeye technique (Friday) after struggling (Thursday), and we got them to bite but we just couldn’t land them and ended up with four fish,” Barkdull said.

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“I would tell folks to throw everything, but the kitchen sink at the, and if you’re not getting bite on one thing or a particular depth, then try something else,” Barkdull said. “We threw everything and caught them on everything even on spin-n-glos of all things.”

Barkdull sys the anglers who are consistently doing well will keep switching things like their speed, leader length and terminal gear.

“The kokanee gear worked, but it wasn’t the only thing we got them on,” Barkdull said. “The biggest challenge was finding the fish as they are scattered all across the lake. We didn’t catch them any deeper than 40 feet and found them as shallow as 12 feet.”

Barkdull says to watch your fish graph carefully and once you locate them at a certain depth put it the gear in their face.

“It is a little more crowded than in was the past two years, and I counted boats (on Thursday) and there was something like 125 or 130 boats on the lake,” Barkdull said. “For a Thursday that is pretty busy. I saw all the boats heading up to the lake (Thursday) and it is really insane. I’d hate to see what the pressure will be like this weekend.”

Barkdull said the fishing reports are reasonably good, although it is a mixed bag and not many limits.

“As of (Thursday) we’ve seen less than 10 limits overall, and people are catching a fish or two,” Barkdull said. “Overall it is a little higher percentage of people that are catching fish from previous years, and they’re learning what to do.”

The catch average was just a smidge under half a fish per rod, Barkdull said.

(Magnificent photos courtesy of my good friend and Seattle Times columnist Ron Judd, who fished Baker Lake recently from his kayak.)

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