Despite rain, weekend should provide opportunities for anglers, including those in the 500-plus square mile Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby’s Winter Blackmouth Classic.

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Another round of heavy rain and winds have put a temporary halt on most fishing activities, but anglers should be able to get back on the water in time for the holiday weekend.

The top spot for hatchery chinook remains the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, where a check this past weekend at Ediz Hook boat launch in Port Angeles showed 56 boats with 109 anglers taking home 61 chinook. Note: The daily catch limit for hatchery-marked chinook was reduced from two to one daily.

A good gauge will happen Friday to Sunday when anglers take to the water for the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby’s Winter Blackmouth Classic.

The derby – held for more than 40 years and part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series – covers more than 500 square miles of salmon-fishing grounds, five weigh stations and a $10,000 prize for the largest fish.

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Many will be heading out to northern Puget Sound and the western Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu, which both opened Thursday for winter chinook.

The coastal razor clam digs during the last opener (Feb. 7-12) were good at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks (both open six days) and Copalis (open three days).

“Overall 18,000 digger trips on the three beaches produced 210,000 clams, so it averaged to about 12 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit),” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “We should get test results on the next series of digs by (Thursday).”

Those tentative digging dates are Feb. 24-26 at Copalis, Mocrocks and Twin Harbors.

Long Beach remains closed due to elevated levels of domoic acid – a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae – that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

More digs are scheduled for March and April, and could be announced as soon as Thursday. Those digs will switch to morning low tides.

Fishing Report
Location  Comment
Marine areas The east side of Whidbey Island has been fair to good in Saratoga Pass, Elger Bay, Hat Island and Columbia Beach. Central Puget Sound piers and the Edmonds Pier are open year-round for salmon. Hatchery chinook fishing in south-central Puget Sound is open daily through April 30; Hood Canal is open daily through April 30; and southern Puget Sound is open daily through June 30.
Biting: YesRating: ★★  
Statewide rivers Heavy rains have most river levels high and in marginal fishing conditions, but once they drop look for steelhead in the Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc, Hoh, Queets, Quinault, Satsop, Humptulips and Salmon. Just a few steelhead caught in Cowlitz. Reiter Ponds on Upper Skykomish and Wallace River are now closed to fishing. Rocky Ford Creek offers good trout fly-fishing. Lower Columbia mainstem commercial smelt catches improved Monday, and lots of sea lion were observed on the docks at Port of Rainier. Sport fishing for smelt remains closed at this time.
Biting: MaybeRating: ★  
Statewide lakes Latest trout plants in Clark County are Battle Ground Lake with 3,035 trout planted on Feb. 2 and Feb. 7; and Klineline Pond with 1,500 on Feb. 7. Others recently planted are Fort Borst Park Lake (Lewis County) with 1,500; Horseshoe Lake (Cowlitz County) with 75; and Lake Sacajawea (Cowlitz County) with 2,500. Goodwin in Snohomish County is worth a try for planted trout. Fair to good for cutthroat trout in Lake Washington. Good for kokanee and rainbow trout in Lake Roosevelt. Fair to good for lake trout and kokanee in Lake Chelan.
Biting: YesRating: ★★