Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, San Juan Islands, the ocean or a year-round lake or open stretch of river — what it all boils down to this week for anglers is how far you want to go and what kind of fish you want.
State Fish and Wildlife continues to plant many local year-round lakes with trout to provide anglers with early spring fishing opportunities.
“The fish stocked in year-round lakes were already starting to bite, and definitely worth your time to get out there now,” said Justin Spinelli, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist for Region Four, which covers Island, King, Snohomish, Whatcom and Skagit counties. “We’ve been very busy planting lakes the past few weeks.”
“The spring catchable-sized trout (usually averaging 10 to 12 inches) plants in Region 4 will total 458,000, and hopefully little bit more than that will actually go into the lakes,” Spinelli said.
King County lakes recently planted were Angle, Beaver, Green, Alice, Meridian, Sawyer and Rattlesnake.
The list of planted lakes in Snohomish County is extensive, and includes Ballinger, Blackmans, Cassidy, Chain, Flowing, Gissburg, Ketchum, Loma, Shoecraft, Lost (Devil’s Lake), Martha (Warm Beach), Panther, Silver and Tye. In Island County, Cranberry was also planted.
In Pierce County soak a line at Bonney, Bradley, Whitman, and Harts. In Mason County, try Island, Lost, and Spencer. In Kitsap County, look for active trout at Island, and in Thurston County go to Offutt and St. Clair.
Marine salmon fishing continues to provide fair to good action for hatchery chinook.
Windy conditions this past Saturday during the Anacortes Salmon Derby didn’t stop 1,100 anglers who weighed in a total of 156 hatchery chinook that were caught throughout the San Juan Islands. The winner of the $15,000 first-place prize was Bill Robillard of Anacortes, who caught a 24.62-pound chinook. Second went to Mike Bredeson of Everson with a 20.24-pound fish, and third was Steve Martin of Bellingham with an 18.72-pound fish.
Proceeds from the derby fund scholarships.
Other locations where action was decent include Port Angeles, Freshwater Bay, Sekiu, Hood Canal, Port Townsend, Point No Point, Double Bluff off the south side of Whidbey Island, Pilot Point, and Possession Bar.
Salmon fishing is open from Sekiu to Port Angeles until April 10; San Juan Islands, Hood Canal, and south-central and southern Puget Sound through April 30; and northern Puget Sound through April 15.
“We had off-the-charts crowds on Saturday, and it was pretty darn close to a record turnout, and then by Sunday it dropped off a little bit,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “On Saturday, the weather was disappointing and the surf was up, plus the clams weren’t showing up well anywhere, and then it was just the opposite (on Sunday).”
On Saturday, about 8,200 diggers surveyed at Mocrocks averaged only 6.8 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit) although some managed to get their limits, and by Sunday it increased to 13.4. At Long Beach on Saturday, 6,800 diggers managed just 4.1, but improved dramatically at Long Beach and Twin Harbors by Sunday.
Digging is open Thursday until noon at Twin Harbors and Long Beach. More digs are also planned April 14 at Twin Harbors; April 15-17 at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; April 18 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; and April 19-20 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks. Charter boats report a very good bite for lingcod and black rockfish at Westport, La Push and Ilwaco. Neah Bay opens April 16 for lingcod. Good for bottomfish at Westport jetty. Slow for salmon in the Tacoma area, south of the Narrows Bridge, east side of Whidbey Island, and Saratoga Pass.
“The water is dirty (in the Lower Columbia) below the Cowlitz and Willamette, which makes it tough to catch fish,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We’re still in that time frame where it’s good one day and kind of slow the next. The commercial net fishery (Tuesday) did get quite a few fish, and were mainly upriver-bound spring chinook.”
Last week on the Lower Columbia, 9,500 angler trips produced 677 adult chinook kept and 156 released, plus 35 steelhead kept and 31 released. Fairly decent catch last weekend on Washington side below Bonneville Dam. Cowlitz was good this past week with 79 boat anglers hooking one spring chinook and 54 steelhead. Fair in the Kalama for steelhead, but slow in the Lewis. No effort for salmon in the Wind River and Drano Lake. Steelhead action picked up in the Hanford Reach area of the Columbia. Good for walleye in The Dalles and John Day pools. Fair to good for steelhead in the Bogachiel, Calawah, Skookumchuck, Sol Duc and Hoh.
||In southwest Washington, Battleground Lake was planted on March 24 with 1,500 trout averaging a half-pound, Klineline got 2,000 brown trout on March 24, and Lacamas received 5,000 brown trout on March 18. More than a dozen lakes opened this month in Adams and Grant counties for trout, including Dry Falls, Pillar-Widgeon chain, and North and South Teal. Spectacle in Okanogan County should produce some trout this month. Fair to good for trout at the Seep Lakes, Martha, Burke, Lenice, Dusty, Nunnally and Merry. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout and kokanee. Slow for cutthroat trout in Lake Washington. Fair for kokanee at American Lake. Good at Lake Roosevelt for kokanee and rainbows.