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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 19, 2012 at 8:38 AM

Baker Lake sockeye fishery still in its infancy, but will pick up soon

BakerLakeSockeye.jpg

I heard from three reliable sources who fished or have their ear to the ground (so to speak) on the Baker Lake sockeye fishery the past couple of days, and overall it seems that people are still just trying to figure out where the sockeye are lurking.

“It sounded like the sockeye were shallow and scattered, which is similar to last year,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We are still in transporting mode, and more fish should be going in each day through Saturday.”

“We’ve met the spawning escapement goals, and there will be some disposition with the tribes,” Barkdull said. “Whatever goes into the fishtrap will go into the lake.”

Ron Judd, Seattle Times columnist got a jump start and headed up to Baker Lake on Tuesday among about 100 other boats.

“Seemed pretty slow overall – way less than a fish per boat, I’d say,” Judd said. “I got mine (an 8 pound sockeye) around 6:15 a.m., then nothing all morning. I don’t think the “fleet” has figured out where all these fish are. I never saw any substantial schools on my scope – seemed like just freelancers milling about.”

Frank Urabeck, a member of the Cedar River Council and longtime sport angler, hit Baker Lake (Wednesday, July 18) morning, and reported spotty fishing.

Urabeck was on the water fishing at 5:30 a.m., and had three hits but no fish in the net.

“Looking around the estimated 80 boats across from Swift Creek on up to Noisy Creek, did not see a lot of action,” Urabeck said. “Many boats had no fish like ours while a few others had three to four.”

“My guess is that the overall catch rate was less than a sockeye to the rod,” he said. “Sounds like we were fishing too deep – started out at 22 to 24 feet per tip of folks that fished yesterday. Then went down to 35 and 40 feet as we marked fish at these depths. At end of the day a couple that had fair success said they got most of their fish at 15 feet.”

(Photo courtesy of Ron Judd)

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