Neither hot nor hopeless, but much better than bleak. That best describes chinook fishing in Puget Sound where it had been virtually a dead sea.

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Neither hot nor hopeless, but much better than bleak.

That best describes chinook fishing in Puget Sound where it had been virtually a dead sea. In recent days, baitfish and salmon reappeared not in vast numbers, but enough to keep anglers interested in going out.

“It could be better fishing, but there are some blackmouth (chinook) around, and if you put in the time you’ll get some chances,” said Peter Sergeef, a state Fish and Wildlife employee who fished aboard the test fishery boat Wednesday off Possession Bar.

Three salmon fishing derbies were held last weekend, and each offered a glimpse on how fishing fared.

“It is far from hot, and fair at best,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, who fished in the Bayside Marine Salmon Derby around Elger Bay. “The bait and fish were there, but we just couldn’t get them to go.”

For the Bayside Salmon Derby, 255 tickets were sold with 46 fish weighed in. Glen Helton of Sedro-Woolley took first place with a hatchery chinook caught in Elger Bay that weighed 15.52 pounds.

The Grady White Salmon Derby was Sunday, and there was 23 boats with 68 anglers who weighed in 10 fish at the Edmonds Yacht Club.

The winning fish was caught by Keith Robbins, owner of A Spot Tail Salmon Guide in Seattle, with an 11.1-pound hatchery chinook caught on the west side of Possession Bar.

The Tengu Winter Blackmouth Derby, held every Sunday, finally yielded a 7.7-pound hatchery chinook caught by Benny Wong of Seattle. It was the first legal-size chinook since the derby began three weeks ago and the first after eight consecutive Sundays dating back to last season.

The Tengu Derby is held at daybreak on Sundays through Dec. 18 at Seacrest Boathouse in West Seattle. Details are available by calling 206-324-7600.

The hatchery chinook fishery is open in North Sound (Marine Catch Area 9), south central Sound (11), Sekiu (5) and the east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2). Central Sound (10), South Sound (13) and Hood Canal (12) also are open for salmon.

The chum salmon fishery picked up around many Puget Sound estuaries.

A check this past Saturday at the Hoodsport Hatchery shoreline in Hood Canal showed 46 anglers caught 24 chum.

Other places worth a try are Kennedy Creek estuary in Totten Inlet, Johns Creek estuary in Oakland Bay, North Bay near Allyn, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet and Chico Creek in Bremerton.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

Fishing report
Location Comment
Coastal razor clams Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks are open Friday (low tide is minus-0.4 feet at 6:48 p.m.) and Saturday (-0.4 at 7:23 p.m.), and digging should be excellent barring any bad weather. Digging will be allowed at noon each day. Copalis and Kalaloch beaches will remain closed. The first dig Oct. 28-29 generated an average of 13.8 clams per person. The next tentative digs are Nov. 25 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; and Nov. 26 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 4 stars

Statewide lakes There was a big turnout Wednesday at Beaver Lake near Issaquah, and fishing was fairly good for the 2,500 freshly planted rainbows averaging 3 pounds apiece. Other lakes that were recently planted with 25,400 rainbow trout (each weighing nearly a pound) are Gibbs, Leland and Teal lakes in Jefferson County; Island, Kokanee, Lost, Nahwatzel, Spencer and Trails End lakes in Mason County; and Island and Kitsap lakes in Kitsap County. Slow for perch and cutthroat in Lake Washington. Good in Rufus Woods for trout. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout. Fair for trout at Lone Lake on Whidbey Island and Lake Goodwin in Snohomish County.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Statewide rivers “Still seeing some fairly good coho fishing in the local rivers like the Snohomish, Skykomish, Stillaguamish and Skagit,” said Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood.

Good for coho in Chehalis and Satsop, and fair for kings, coho and chum in the Humptulips. Good for coho in the Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Calawah and Hoh. Fair for sturgeon on Lower Columbia in gorge and Woodland areas. Fair boat fishing in Kalama for coho and steelhead. Fair in Lewis for chinook and coho.

Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Marine areas Smelt jig fishing is good at the Cornet Bay Pier. Good squid jigging at night off Seattle waterfront at Pier 86, Searcest Pier in West Seattle, Bremerton Boardwalk Pier and Illahee State Park Pier. Good for Dungeness crab in open areas of Puget Sound. Slow for salmon in Tacoma area.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars