Here are Some Good Bets for
by Mark Yuasa
Memorial Day weekend is expected to draw plenty of anglers out on the water for a variety of fish to catch.
Many will head to the Lower Columbia River for hatchery spring chinook this Saturday and Sunday.
"There is still a decent chance to catch a spring chinook in the lower river despite the water level being a little up, so folks should concentrate their fishing in the more shallow water areas," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Fishing will be allowed from Buoy 10 to Beacon Rock for boat and bank fishing, and from Beacon Rock to the Bonneville Dam deadline for bank angling only.
Daily limit is two adult hatchery spring chinook or steelhead, but only one can be a chinook. Sockeye may also be kept as part of the two-fish daily limit.
Fisheries managers upgraded the in-season run size to 216,500 upriver spring chinook with about 1,400 left in the sport allocation.
Spring chinook counts at Bonneville Dam were 2,503 Sunday, 1,987 Monday, and 1,097 Tuesday, bringing the season total to 145,174.
The summer chinook season on the Lower Columbia opens June 16. Fisheries managers will meet on May 29 to update run forecasts and see if more fishing time can be tacked on.
The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca will be the focus of many halibut anglers trying their luck in the Port Angeles Halibut Derby this weekend, where the largest fish is worth $5,000.
"Fishing was a little better last week, but still down overall from last year," said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife checker in the Strait. "They're catching some bigger ones, and the largest I've heard about was 168 pounds off Freshwater Bay along with a couple over 100 pounds."
Last year, Chuck Brown of Renton caught a winning 138-pound halibut. Details: 360-452-2357 or www.swainsinc.com.
Another place to focus on halibut will be Sekiu in the western Strait, which opens Thursday.
Halibut fishing in the eastern Strait and Puget Sound is allowed this Thursday to Monday, and May 31-June 2 only. Sekiu is open this Thursday to Monday, and then Thursdays to Saturdays only until June 23. On the coast, Ilwaco is open for halibut on Thursdays to Saturdays of each week. Neah Bay and La Push reopen for halibut May 31 and June 2.
As the weather warms up, many are heading to lakes Stevens, American, Cavanaugh and Samish in pursuit of kokanee, a landlocked sockeye known for tasty red meat.
The Lake Stevens Kokanee Derby was last Saturday, and 235 adults and 60 kids participated with slow to fair success. "The kokanee fishing was below average, but there was some nice fish caught (and) the derby turned out to be pretty good," said Mike Chamberlain at Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood.
The largest kokanee in the adult division weighed 1.43 pounds, and was caught by Ryan Hansen, who took home $1,000. In the kids division Bernadette Miles caught a 1.33-pound kokanee worth $100.
Spring Chinook Fishing to Reopen in Lower Columbia by Allen Thomas, The Columbian, 5/22/12
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