Heads up, Whidbey Island halibut and lingcod anglers: If you launch at Fort Casey for this week’s openers, you won’t have floats to tie up to after putting your boat in or while taking it out.
A December storm pummeled a breakwater and broke a piling for the floating docks, which were also damaged, at the water access site next to the Keystone-Port Townsend ferry terminal dock.
Brett Payne, a Washington State Parks ranger for the middle part of the island, says you can still put in and take out. It just will be less convenient without the piers.
He said that his agency is working to get a permit to put in a temporary dock, though it may take some time to get that go-ahead.
Payne said that because of the damage, complexities of permitting and funding needed, it could be a year before the ramp is back to how it was before the storm.
In the meanwhile, anglers and other boaters are being asked to be patient and courteous with one another as this year’s fishing seasons begin.
Wednesday, May 1, marks the lingcod opener and Thursday, May 2, is the first halibut opener of the season in Marine Area 9, which the Fort Casey ramp provides access to.
Later in the month shrimping opens and then in July crabbing will be a go.
In late July these waters will open for hatchery summer Chinook, while coho will be going in late August and September.