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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 23, 2013 at 10:06 AM

Baker Lake sockeye fishery still moving along at a fair clip

Lake Union and Baker 002

(Alec Schantz of Bonney Lake, age 17, with a 9 and 6 pound sockeye caught Tuesday, July 16 at Baker Lake. Photo by Frank Urabeck.)

The Baker Lake sockeye fishery has been fair to good, but the number of fish returning to the Baker River fish trap has started to drop off.

“The numbers of sockeye are dropping off, and (Tuesday, July 23) we’ll have an inseason update and none of us believe we’ll make it (to the preseason forecast of ) 21,557 sockeye,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Depite the sockeye numbers tailing off, Bafrkdull says the catches haven’t been too bad especially for those 10 percent of anglers catching 90 percent of the fish.

“Even with the small numbers of fish in the lake, people are still doing extraordinarily well up there,” Barkdull said. “It is a fishery so far this summer that is not hard to get dialed into.”

A check on Sunday showed 60 anglers had 29 sockeye and released one, and 44 anglers Friday had 16 sockeye with three released.

“The counts slowed down, and July 16 we put 363 sockeye into the lake, July 17 we dumped another 310, but then it dropped down to 51 and 34 fish the last couple of days,” Barkdull said.

Through July 19, 9,032 had been trapped in the Baker River and 4,620 transferred up to Baker Lake. Baker Lake is open for sockeye fishing through Sept. 2, and the daily limit is two sockeye with a minimum size limit of 18 inches.

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