Not only are the days getting longer, but opportunities to hook a fish are springing up as quickly as the pollen from the alder and birch trees.
Chinook fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands remains the best choice.
“The fish finally showed up at Sekiu (in the western Strait), and some anglers managed to get out in between the wind and rain storms,” said Larry Bennett, a state Fish and Wildlife creel checker in the Strait.
A check at Olson’s Resort in Sekiu last Saturday showed seven boats with 20 anglers caught 14 chinook.
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“One of the fish we checked was probably 18 or 19 pounds, and the rest were 6 to 10 pounds,” Bennett said. “The baitfish moved into the Sekiu area, and they were catching them off Slip Point and the west end of the Caves.”
Bennett also mentioned Freshwater Bay generated a fair to good catch, while places such as Winter Hole and the humps just west of Port Angeles were mediocre and Port Townsend was downright slow.
The San Juan Islands is another ideal location for chinook at Rosario Strait, as well as the north end of Orcas Island, Thatcher Pass, Lopez Pass, Spring Pass, Hein Bank, Middle Bank and Burrows Island.
The early ocean spring lingcod fishery opened last Saturday at Westport, La Push and Ilwaco, but none of the charter boats made it out due to stormy weather.
Once it calms down, expect lights-out lingcod fishing along the south-central coast. Jetty fishing for lingcod and an array of other bottomfish can also be found for shore-bound anglers at Westport and Ilwaco. The minimum size for lingcod is 22 inches, and the daily limit is two.
Charters will also hook customers into schools of abundant black rockfish (10-fish daily limit), then head out to catch lingcod in deeper water. The northern coast off Neah Bay opens April 16 for lingcod.
Trout anglers don’t have to wait for the traditional lowland lakes opener on April 26 to catch fish. Many year-round lakes have or will be planted this month to boost prospects.
In King County: Green got 17,450; Alice, 1,124; Meridian, 10,000; and Rattlesnake, 2,470. In Jefferson County: Gibbs, 740; Horseshoe, 260; and Teal, 300. In Kitsap County: Kitsap, 4,828. In Mason County: Kokanee, 3,000; Lost, 100; Nahwatzel, 5,360; and Spencer, 200.
In Pierce County: Kapowsin, 20,050. In Snohomish County: Ballinger, 6,488; Blackmans, 3,949; Flowing, 6,035; Loma, 1,713; Martha (Warm Beach), 2,800; Silver, 6,025; Tye, 1,523; and Chain, 2,000. In Thurston County: Lawrence, 10,075; and Offutt, 430. For planting updates, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html
|Marine areas||Coastal razor clam digs are tentatively scheduled for March 26-27 at Twin Harbors; and March 28-29 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks. Digging is allowed from noon to midnight only. Final approval should be known later next week. Slow to fair for hatchery chinook at Double Bluff off south side of Whidbey Island, Point No Point, Pilot Point, Port Townsend and Possession Bar. Slow for salmon in the Tacoma area, and fair in Hood Canal off Misery Point. Slow for hatchery chinook in Saratoga Pass, Greenbank, Camano Head, Hat Island and Elger Bay.|
|Statewide rivers||The Lower Columbia River is still spotty, although water conditions have improved. From March 1-16, anglers on the Lower Columbia made 7,200 trips with 40 spring chinook kept and 23 released. Fishing below Bonneville Dam is closed for all salmon, steelhead and shad on March 25 and April 1. The Wind River and Drano Lake are open for hatchery spring chinook, but with just a few fish crossing Bonneville don’t expect this to pick up until later in April. Fair for steelhead in the Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc and Hoh. Slow to fair for steelhead in the Cowlitz. Decent in The Dalles Pool for walleye, and the John Day Pool of the Columbia for walleye and bass. The Hanford Reach area of the Columbia is fair for steelhead.|
Trout are biting in Eastern Washington at Caliche, Martha, Burke, Lenice, Merry, Nunnally and Dusty. The Tucannon River impoundments in Columbia County like Big Four, Blue, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson were planted with trout. Rufus Woods Reservoir is slow to fair for trout. Roosevelt is fair to good for trout. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout and kokanee. Spotty for cutthroat in Lake Washington off the I-90 bridge, and south side of Mercer Island. In Southwest Washington, Lake Sacajawea in Longview was recently planted with 3,583 trout averaging a half-pound; Battleground got 1,500; and Lacamas in Camas got 4,000. Klineline Pond was planted March 10 with 1,516 trout averaging a half-pound. Leroy Burns Pond in Wahkiakum County was planted with 2,500 trout on March 1.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org