There are plenty of new opportunities to reel in next month, on top of what has been a blissful spring fishing season.

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There are plenty of new opportunities to reel in next month, on top of what has been a blissful spring fishing season.

The Cascade River and Skagit River from the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport to Marblemount Bridge opens for hatchery chinook Saturday, and initial reports indicate fish are lurking.

“I heard a couple hundred chinook were already at Marblemount Hatchery (on the Cascade River), and the 2,800 hatchery fish forecast this year is the highest since we’ve had this fishery,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

The Skykomish River also opens for hatchery chinook Saturday, and should be decent on opening day.

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“We’ve already got 35 chinook at the Wallace (hatchery) through Monday, and I looked back at data over the last four years and didn’t see any fish reported during this same time period,” said Steve Thiesfeld, a state Fish and Wildlife salmon manager.

Summer steelhead fishing off beaches on the west side of Whidbey Island was some of the best anglers have seen in a few years.

This bodes well for summer steelhead migrating to Puget Sound rivers that open Saturday, including the Skykomish (as well as the popular Reiter Ponds area) and Snoqualmie.

Many other statewide rivers open Saturday. Anglers should check the regulation pamphlet for specific rules and what sections are open or closed.

On the saltwater scene, south central Puget Sound opens Saturday for hatchery chinook, and good bets are the Clay Banks off Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Point Dalco on Vashon Island, Colvos Passage and south of the Southworth Ferry Landing.

Central Puget Sound also opens Saturday north of a line from Point Monroe to Meadow Point for salmon catch-and-release. The Tulalip terminal salmon fishery opens Friday, but don’t expect much action early on. Tulalip is open Fridays to noon Mondays, but is closed on June 15.

Shad catches in the Lower Columbia ramped up this week. Numbers at Bonneville Dam increased, with 38,713 counted Tuesday (highest single-day figure so far was 69,263 on Sunday) for a season total of 271,178.

Looking ahead

• The ocean hatchery chinook fishery off Westport and Ilwaco opens June 8, and Neah Bay and La Push open June 22.

• Free Fishing Weekend, when licenses aren’t required, is June 8-9. Catch Record Cards (first one is free) are required for salmon, sturgeon, steelhead and halibut. Check the regulation pamphlet for specific rules and restrictions.

Fishing report
Location Comment
Statewide lakes Good for kokanee at Stevens, Merwin, American and Cavanaugh. Fair to good trout fishing at Pine, Ballinger, Beaver, Gissburg, St. Clair, Curl, Copper, Mineral, Green, Jameson, Serene, Stickney, Angle, Desire, Walker, Geneva, Spanaway, Campbell, Pattison, Wilderness, Cottage, Padden, Anderson, Ohop and Conconully. Potholes is good for perch, walleye, bass and some trout.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 4 stars

Statewide

rivers

Lower Columbia is open for hatchery spring chinook. Icicle River near Leavenworth is open, but slow to fair for hatchery spring chinook. Fair for spring chinook at Drano Lake and Wind River. Fair for spring chinook in Cowlitz. Try for steelhead in Washougal. A good bet is Cedar River, which opens Saturday for catch-and-release trout fishing.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Marine areas Fair for lingcod at Possession Bar off south side of Whidbey Island and Point Evans near Narrows Bridge. Puget Sound south of Narrows Bridge is open for salmon but is slow. Westport, Neah Bay and La Push halibut fisheries are closed, and only Ilwaco remains open Fridays to Sundays. Westport remains excellent for black rockfish, but slow to fair for lingcod. Western Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu remains open and is good for halibut Thursday to Saturday. Eastern Strait, San Juan Islands, eastern Whidbey Island, northern Puget Sound and central Puget Sound are open Thursday and Friday only.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars