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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

November 29, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Winter steelhead have arrived in some Western Washington rivers

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The pilot run of winter steelhead are starting to filter into many Western Washington rivers, and some appeared in catches off the west side of Whidbey Island.

“We’ve already had a fairly good early winter steelhead season as far as the Skykomish River goes,” said Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood.

“Some were nice fish, and we know of a winter buck that weighed between 17 and 18 pounds, and those same guys also had a 7, 8 and 10 pounder,” he said.

The best steelhead reports happened in the Upper Skykomish at Reiter Ponds, Cable Hole and Proctor Creek areas. Catches on Sunday showed about 20 winter runs caught in the Reiter Ponds area.

Chamberlain says the rivers were still giving up some over the hill colored coho and chum that were in marginal shape.

Plunking anglers along the Snohomish River sandbars have also been catching some winter steelhead.

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Early winter-runs were also being caught in the Cascade River, and even during high water times it remains fishable.

Some early reports indicate a mix of summer- and winter-run steelhead in the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River as well as the Skagit River.

Many are anxiously waiting for the festive like opening of Fortson Hole on the Stillaguamish, which beginning this Saturday, Dec. 1 switches from a fly-only area to conventional gear such as lures and bait.

Just like Black Friday after Thanksgiving expect some big crowds at Fortson when it opens at midnight.

(Photos by Mark Harrison, Seattle Times staff photographer)

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