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There are plenty of fishing events on the table, including the Northwest Salmon Derby Series that began last weekend at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.

The Roche Harbor Salmon Classic kicked off the 15-event series, and Andy Holman of Friday Harbor took home $11,000 along with the largest hatchery chinook that weighed 20.2 pounds. Despite bone-chilling weather, the derby lured 100 boats with 344 anglers who caught a remarkable 172 hatchery chinook last Friday and Saturday.

Next is the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby Saturday through Monday in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca. Details:

“How good anglers do in the derby will depend on the weather,” said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife creel checker in the Strait. “There are some fish around off Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend.”

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The Northwest Series, which began with seven events in 2004, now draws between 7,000 and 8,000 people annually. The grand prize is a raffle drawing at the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 22-23 for a $65,000 fully-loaded 21-foot River Hawk boat. There will also be a sleek fishing boat given away in a kids raffle.

Derby series schedule: Everett Blackmouth Derby, March 22; Bellingham Salmon Derby, July 11-13; Harbor Marine Salmon Tournament in Everett, July 26-27; South King County Puget Sound Anglers Salmon Derby in Des Moines, Aug. 2; Gig Harbor Puget Sound Anglers Salmon Derby, Aug. 9; South Sound Salmon Derby, Aug. 16; Sekiu Salmon Derby, Aug. 23-24; Willapa Bay Salmon Derby, Aug. 30; Columbia River Fall Salmon Derby in Vancouver, Aug. 30; Edmonds Coho Derby, Sept. 6; Everett Coho Derby, Sept. 20-21; Bayside Marine Salmon Derby in Everett, Nov. 1-2; and Resurrection Salmon Derby in Friday Harbor, Dec. 5-6. Details:

Other fun fishing activities are the Northwest Ice Fishing Festival from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday on Sidley Lake, just east of Oroville in northeastern Washington. Details: 509-485-4002 or 509-476-2739 or

The LaConner Smelt Derby in Skagit County is 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Feb. 22, and the action takes place at the marina on the south end of the Swinomish Slough. Details:

Fishing Report
Location  Comment
Marine areas The daily limit for hatchery chinook in northern Puget Sound has been reduced from two to one to hopefully slow down what had been a good fishery last month. Hatchery chinook fishing when the weather cooperates is fair to good at Point No Point, Double Bluff off Whidbey Island, Pilot Point, San Juan Islands, Port Townsend, Mats Mats Bay, Possession Bar. Slow for salmon in the Tacoma area, and fair in Hood Canal off Misery Point. Sekiu in the western Strait reopens for salmon this Sunday. Slow for hatchery chinook in Saratoga Pass, Camano Head, Hat Island, Elger Bay and Columbia Beach. Upcoming tentative evening low-tide razor clam dates are: Feb. 26, March 3 and March 26-27 at Twin Harbors; Feb. 27-28, March 2 and March 28-29 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; and March 1 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis. Tentative morning low-tide razor clam dates are: March 31 and April 14 at Twin Harbors; March 30 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; and April 1-3 and April 15-20 at Twin Harbors and Long Beach. Final approval on digging will be announced by state fisheries usually a week before each series of dates.
Biting: YesRating: 2 stars
Statewide rivers The first sport smelt dip-net fishery since 2010 occurred in the Cowlitz last Saturday, and a half dozen people braved the winter weather with no catch observed. A commercial smelt fishery Thursday in the Lower Columbia mainstem should offer some insight if smelt are present. Smelt dip-nettting will reopen this Saturday from 6 a.m. until noon, and will also reopen every Saturday through March 1. The daily limit is 10 pounds. No reports of spring chinook caught in the Lower Columbia below I-5 this past week although angler pressure has increased. Slow to fair at best for winter steelhead fishing in Bogachiel, Calawah, Washougal, Hoh, Cowlitz, Sol Duc, Skykomish at Reiter Ponds and Tokul Creek. Many Puget Sound region rivers close after this Saturday, so check the rules pamphlet.
Biting: YesRating: 1 stars
Statewide lakes Klineline Pond was planted with 2,355 catchable-sized trout on Feb. 5. Rufus Woods Reservoir is fair for rainbow trout. Battleground Lake and Lake Sacajawea were recently planted with thousands of trout. Fair options in the Puget Sound region are Green in North Seattle; Flowing, Blackman’s and Goodwin in Snohomish County; and American in Pierce County. Slow to fair for cutthroat in Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. Lake Roosevelt is good for trout. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout.
Biting: YesRating: 2 stars

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780


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