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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

January 15, 2014 at 12:36 PM

Eastern Strait on the winter chinook radar with some boats limiting; North Sound opens Thursday

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The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca mainly off Port Angeles has seen some glory moments this winter for hatchery chinook fishing.

“They’re catching some fish at the humps and Winter Hole (both are located just west of Port Angeles), and a few were hooked right in the harbor itself,” said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife sampler in the Strait. “I checked 16 boats with 21 fish (Tuesday at the Ediz Hook boat launch), and a couple were about 10 pounds and the rest in the 5- to 6-pound range.”

Other checks from Ediz Hook ramp, Port Angeles on Jan. 7 showed six boats with 10 anglers caught six chinook; Jan. 8: Two boats with two anglers caught one chinook; Jan. 9: Five boats with 10 anglers caught eight chinook; Jan. 10: Three boats with five anglers caught 10 chinook; Jan. 12: Four boats with eight anglers caught 14 chinook.

“The tides haven’t been that great with a high tide in the morning, and usually the best time to fish those areas are during a morning outgoing tide,” Bennett said. “That is when the fish start stacking up as they and the baitfish get pushed onto the ledges.”

“We are going to get switched around to a morning low tide by the end of the weekend,” Bennett said. “There are a lot of wild fish around and some baitfish schools. Jigging and those trolling and covering some area have been getting the fish. I had a couple of boats come in with their four-fish limits.”

Elsewhere, the San Juan Islands have been the other top choice this winter.

Try the eastern Rosario Strait area, Tide Point off Cypress Island, Thatcher Pass, Point Thompson to Lawrence Point and Presidents Channel along Orcas Island.

Many are also getting ready for the northern Puget Sound hatchery chinook fishery, which opens Thursday, Jan. 16 through April 15.

“I expect Port Townsend, Possession Bar, Point No Point and Double Bluff (off the south side of Whidbey Island) will be the places to go, but you’ll likely have to sort through the shakers (fish under the 22-inch minimum size limit) to get the keepers.”

Central Puget Sound remains open for hatchery chinook through Jan. 31, and has been fair at times off Kingston, Edmonds oil dock-Richmond Beach area, Shilshole Bay, Jefferson Head, Allen Bank off Blake Island, Manchester and Southworth.

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