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Ecology and salmon related articles

Anglers Have Many Good Options

by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, June 6, 2012

A chinook salmon The doors to fishing opportunities have broken wide open with plenty of species to target.

"The Skykomish has good numbers of fish, and we've seen some nice hatchery summer steelhead up to 16 pounds (most are 7 to 9 pounds), but it slowed down from the initial opener (last weekend)," said Mike Chamberlain at Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood.

Most are fishing the Skykomish at Reiter Ponds, Cable Hole and Proctor Creek, while boat anglers below Sultan were finding them.

The Skagit River from Rockport to the Cascade River mouth, and the Cascade River started off on a high note for spring kings.

"The boat anglers on the Skagit did pretty well, averaging a fish per boat with some reporting (two adult fish daily limits)," said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "Bank anglers averaged one fish for every five rods."

The Cascade was also fairly good for chinook, although the only stretch of fishable river on Saturday's opener was a tight spot at the hatchery outlet.

Many anglers are also looking forward to Saturday's opening of hatchery chinook in the ocean from Westport to Ilwaco.

To gauge how good it will be, one needs to look at the commercial troll fishery, which has been productive when the weather allows them to get out of port.

The average size of the fish caught by trollers is 15 pounds, but usually more like 10 to 11. Since the troll fishery opened May 1, they've caught 15,000 fish, which is decent. Neah Bay and La Push open June 16 for hatchery chinook.

The inside marine areas, like south central Puget Sound, have been spotty for hatchery chinook.

"If you were in the right area -- like Point Dalco off Vashon Island or the The Flats, a deep shelf between Dalco and Point Defiance -- it was OK. But places like the Clay Banks were absolutely dead," said Art Tatchell, manager at the Point Defiance Park Boathouse in Tacoma.

On the Lower Columbia River, shad and summer steelhead are the main targets, peppered with a few sockeye.

"Shad fishing is pretty darn good just below Bonneville, and (on Tuesday) the count at the dam was 54,000 shad," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "It was about 10 shad per rod average and some had 40 or more with good fishing from Longview upstream."

Hymer has also seen an uptick in the summer steelhead fishery on the Columbia below Longview, and the bigger tidal flows this week have boosted catches.


* This is Free Fishing Weekend, when fishing licenses aren't required, nor are a Vehicle Access Pass (which comes with a fishing license); a Discover Pass; a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement; and the Two-Pole Endorsement.

Catch Record Cards (first one is free) are required to fish for salmon, sturgeon, steelhead and halibut.

Check the regulation pamphlet for specific rules and restrictions.

Mark Yuasa
Anglers Have Many Good Options
Seattle Times, June 6, 2012

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