Tag Archives: wdfw

Salmon Limit Reduced From Hoh To Harbor Rivers

THE FOLLOWING IS A WDFW EMERGENCY RULE CHANGE NOTICE

Adult portion of salmon daily limits reduced in coastal freshwater systems from Hoh River south to Grays Harbor basin and Marine area 2-2

Action: Reduces the adult portion of salmon daily limit to no more than 1 adult fish.

LIMITS ON ADULT COHO AND OTHER LATE SALMON ARE DROPPING TO ONE A DAY ON A NUMBER OF WASHINGTON COAST SYSTEMS. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: Nov. 16, 2019, until further notice.

Species affected: Salmon.

Locations:

  • Marine Area 2-2 (Grays Harbor)
  • Black River (Grays Harbor/Thurston Co.), from mouth to bridge on 128th Ave. SW.
  • Chehalis River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 101 Bridge in Aberdeen) to the high bridge on Weyerhaeuser 1000 line.
  • Copalis River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to Carlisle Bridge.
  • Elk River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 105 Bridge) to the confluence of Middle Branch.
  • Hoh River (Jefferson Co.), from Olympic National Park boundary upstream to Morgans Crossing boat launch. 
  • Hoquiam River, including West Fork (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 101 Bridge on Simpson Ave) to Dekay Rd. Bridge (West Fork).
  • Hoquiam River, East Fork (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to confluence of Berryman Creek.
  • Johns River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth (Hwy. 105 Bridge) to Ballon Creek.
  • Moclips River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to Quinault Indian Reservation boundary.
  • Newaukum River, including South Fork (Lewis Co.), from mouth to Leonard Rd. near Onalaska.
  • Quinault River, Upper (Clallam Co.), from mouth at upper end of Quinault Lake upstream to Olympic National Park boundary.
  • Salmon River (Jefferson Co.) outside Quinault Indian reservation and Olympic National Park.
  • Satsop River and East Fork (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to bridge at Schafer State Park; and from 400′ below Bingham Creek Hatchery to the dam.
  • Skookumchuck River (Lewis/Thurston Co.), from mouth to 100 feet below outlet of TransAlta WDFW steelhead rearing pond located at the base of Skookumchuck Dam.
  • Wishkah River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to 200′ below the weir at the Wishkah Rearing Ponds; and from 150′ upstream to 150′ downstream of the Wishkah adult adult attraction channel/outfall structure (within the posted fishing boundary).
  • Wynoochee River (Grays Harbor Co.), from mouth to WDFW White Bridge access site.

Reason for action: Coho returns to tributaries along the coast from Hoh River south to Grays Harbor appear to be significantly lower than preseason predictions. These conservation measures are being taken to ensure escapement goals are met.

Additional information: Once the adult portion of the salmon daily limit has been retained, anglers may not continue to fish for salmon.

Anglers should refer to the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for other ongoing fishing opportunities available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

Refer to updated regulations in waters within the Olympic National Park online at http://www.windsox.us/VISITOR/ONPS_Fishing/Fishing_Regulations.html.

The Ol’ Coho Fumblerooski Fails For 2 Hood Canal Anglers

There’s catching a second wind in the second half, but two anglers are having second thoughts about recently trying to catch a second limit of salmon.

The duo reportedly were observed at a Hood Canal boat access stashing eight coho — the daily limit — into their rig, and then heading back out onto the water for round two.

(WDFW)

Responding to the report, WDFW Officers Isaac Stutes and Jesse Ward watched as the two men netted and kept another pair of fish.

That was enough for the game wardens to contact the anglers, but then things got slippier than the football in last night’s turnover-ridden (but still glorious) Seahawks-49ers game.

“One of the men began fumbling around with the fish when they saw the officers,” WDFW Police stated on its Facebook page today. “The man dropped both fish in the water between the boat and the dock.”

Only problem, the water was so shallow that Ward could see both coho a mere 4 feet below the boat, according to WDFW.

At first the two men said they hadn’t caught any salmon besides the pair that were fumbled.

But given another chance to tell the truth, one responded, “You probably keep asking me because I’m such a bad liar,” according to WDFW.

They eventually allegedly admitted to all 10 salmon they caught, which were seized, and now the county prosecutor will be referred charges.

SW WA Fishing Report (11-12-19)

THE FOLLOWING WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

November 12, 2019

Tributary Fishery Reports

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 4 bank anglers had no catch

Elochoman River – 2 bank anglers had no catch.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 84 bank rods kept five coho and one coho jack. 42 boats/110 rods kept 28 coho, 3 coho jacks and released 4 Chinook and 42 coho.

Above the I-5 Br – 44 bank rods kept three coho and released 37 Chinook. 5 boats/15 rods kept five coho, 3 coho jacks and released one Chinook and four coho.

Kalama River – 10 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 32 bank anglers kept one coho. 16 boats/43 rods kept four Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, 10 coho, one coho jack and released five Chinook and three coho.

TRAVIS GOTTSCH SHOWS OFF A NICE LEWIS RIVER FALL CHINOOK CAUGHT A FEW MID-OCTOBERS BACK AND FORWARDED BY HIS PROUD UNCLE PATRICK. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 39 bank anglers kept 15 Chinook, 13 coho, 2 coho jacks and released 15 Chinook and 11 coho.

Klickitat above #5 Fishway – 1 bank angler had no catch.

Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Stocker Rainbows Adding Color To Fall Fishing Ops In Washington

A number of Western and Central Washington lakes are being stocked with nice-sized trout for fall fishing.

FALL ANGLERS FISH OFF A DOCK AT SEATTLE’S GREEN LAKE, WHICH RECEIVED 1,511 TWO-THIRDS-POUND RAINBOWS IN LATE OCTOBER. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

WDFW says these rainbows average 15-plus inches, with some bouncing the scales at 3 pounds.

Releases are slated to occur prior to Black Friday at:

Clark County: Battle Ground Lake and Klineline Pond
Cowlitz County: Kress Lake
King County: Beaver, Fivemile, Green and Steel Lakes
Klickitat County: Rowland Lake
Lewis County: Fort Borst Park and South Lewis County Park Ponds
Mason County: Spencer Lake
Pacific County: Cases Pond
Pierce County: American and Tanwax Lakes
Skagit County: Clear and Cranberry Lakes
Snohomish County: Ballinger, Silver and Tye Lakes and Gissberg Ponds
Thurston County: Black, Long, and Offut Lakes
Whatcom County: Padden Lake
Yakima County: North Elton Pond

To narrow down the timeframe, keep an eye on https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/stocking/trout-plants.

THANKS TO STATE HATCHERY RELEASES, WASHINGTON ANGLERS CAN ENJOY CATCHING AND EATING NICE-SIZED RAINBOWS LIKE THESE IN FALL. (JOSHUA MYERS VIA WDFW)

Steel and Padden were scheduled to close after Halloween, but have been kept open past New Year’s Day via a rule change that came out last week, and were both recently stocked and will be again around Thanksgiving.

WDFW is running a pilot program focusing on expanding fishing opportunities in Pugetropolis’s I-5 corridor.

“I’m really excited to offer these fisheries and hopefully it leads to getting more people into the sport,” WDFW biologist Justin Spinelli in Mill Creek told Mark Yuasa for an article in our latest issue. “We’re trying this out in urban-centered areas. We know a lot of people in the cities may be interested in getting outside and going fishing. This allows them to access nearby lakes and it’s not too complicated and doesn’t require a whole bunch of gear.”

In Eastern Washington, Fourth of July Lake on the Adams-Lincoln County line, Hatch and Williams Lakes in Stevens County, and Hog Canyon Lake in Spokane County will open on Black Friday for a winter fishery powered by previous years’ trout fly plants.

“WDFW’s trout stocking and hatchery programs are active year-round,” said Steve Caromile, the agency’s Inland Fish Program manager. “We provide the gift of spending time with friends and family on lakes around the state, at any time of the year.”

Anglers 15 years and older need a freshwater fishing license to dangle worms, eggs and other offerings for trout in lakes. Licenses are available online and at numerous local outlets.

SW WA Fishing Report (11-4-19)

THE FOLLOWING WAS FORWARDED BY BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report

Salmon/Steelhead:

Columbia River Tributaries

Grays River – 6 bank anglers released six coho.

BARRY DUBNOW SHOWS OFF A NICE MIDFALL CHINOOK CAUGHT ON THE LEWIS RIVER SEVERAL SEASONS BACK. HE WAS HOVER FISHING WITH GUIDE RON HOLT. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 35 bank rods kept one coho and released one coho. 7 boats/20 rods kept 24 coho and released one Chinook and four coho.

Above the I-5 Br – 17 bank rods kept two coho and released 18 Chinook and 1 coho.  1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Kalama River – 18 bank anglers had no catch.  2 boats/5 rods had no catch.

Lewis River – 19 bank anglers kept two coho and one coho jack.  13 boats/44 rods kept five Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, 5 coho, 3 coho jacks and released one Chinook and four coho.

Wind River – 1 boat/1 rod had no catch.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 16 bank anglers kept seven coho and released two Chinook.

 

  • Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Lower Col mainstem sport Oct 28-31, 2019

Bonneville bank: 26 anglers with 7 coho kept and 6 Chinook released
Camas/Washougal boat: 5 anglers with nothing
I-5 area boat: 3 anglers with nothing
Woodland boat: 1 angler with 1 coho kept
Kalama bank: 2 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 5 anglers with nothing
Longview bank: 2 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 7 anglers with 3 coho kept

Judge Dismisses SEPA Portion Of Lawsuit Over WDFW Wolf Removals

A Thurston County Superior Court judge today ruled against out-of-state environmentalist groups targeting Washington’s protocols for lethally removing problem wolves.

The Center for Biological Diversity of Arizona and Cascadia Wildlands of Eugene said the guidelines adopted in 2017 should have been evaluated under the State Environmental Policy Act and before three kill orders were issued last year, but Judge John C. Skinder dismissed their two claims to that effect.

(WIKIMEDIA)

In court papers, WDFW argued that taking out livestock-attacking wolves falls “squarely within several SEPA categorical exemptions” and pointed to state Supreme Court case law, state statutes and administrative codes.

The agency said that the organizations were misreading the act to try to include its wolf-livestock protocols, which guide nonlethal and lethal responses to attacks on cattle, sheep and other domestic animals, as part of the SEPA process.

WDFW’s wolf management plan did go through the environmental review before it was adopted in 2011, and the protocols are said to “flow from” that document.

Even as it represents another court victory against those chivvying WDFW over its predator management, wolf policy manager Donny Martorello was subdued early this afternoon in response to Judge Skinder’s decision.

“Our preference is not to be in court. I’m not a fan of winners and losers. I prefer the Wolf Advisory Group’s collaborative process,” he stated. “I concur that the judge’s decision was concurrent with case history, concurrent with state statute and Fish and Wildlife Commission rules, and I think it’s the right decision.”

The lawsuit was filed last fall by the two pro-wolf organizations after agency Director Kelly Susewind issued authorizations to kill members of three packs that were depredating cattle in Ferry and Stevens Counties.

WDFW, CBD and Cascadia Wildlands agreed to drop a third claim over a kill permit that had been extended to a Togo Pack range rancher.

A fourth claim, a merits hearing on whether removals violate the state’s Administrative Procedure Act, has not yet been scheduled, according to Martorello.

Killing wolves is a hot topic in Washington as WDFW attempts to balance recovering the species with the impact the animals have on local ranchers and herds.

Earlier this fall, Governor Jay Inslee told the agency to “make changes in the gray wolf recovery program to further increase the reliance on non-lethal methods, and to significantly reduce the need for lethal removal of this species” in Ferry County’s Kettle Range.

The agency is currently in a public scoping period for what’s important to hunters and other residents as it begins planning for postrecovery management of wolves in Washington.

Wolves A Topic As WDFW Director Appears On TVW

While Washington hunters’ and anglers’ kids were out trick-or-treating last night, WDFW Director Kelly Susewind was on TVW’s Inside Olympia, speaking on agency hot-button items of the day — if not the past decade.

Budget; wolves; salmon production, fishing seasons and orca recovery; sea lion management; and Columbia gillnetting.

WDFW DIRECTOR KELLY SUSEWIND (RIGHT) APPEARED ON INSIDE OLYMPIA WITH HOST AUSTIN JENKINS TO TALK ABOUT VARIOUS FISH AND WILDLIFE ISSUES. (TVW)

Given Governor Jay Inslee’s recent letter to WDFW on wolves and its response, and a court hearing today with two environmental groups, host Austin Jenkins dedicated a full third of his near-hour-long show to the subject of Canis lupus in Washington.

Watching it this morning, my ears perked up when the subject of wolf hunting came up for several minutes.

“It’s a legitimate hunting activity.”
–WDFW Director Kelly Susewind

That topic is among the boxes, per se, folks can check off as an important one to them in the agency’s extended scoping survey as it begins planning for postrecovery wolf management.

In the interest of sharing with fellow hunters where WDFW’s at with the issue, here’s how the conversation went down, based on a corrected transcript:

Austin Jenkins: In a kind of post-protected status environment, can you imagine a management plan that allows for the hunting of wolves?

Kelly Susewind: It’s certainly on the table. It’s a controversial issue. I don’t know if we’ll get there or not — that will be the outcome of our processes — but it certainly needs to be on the table. It’s been an activity that occurs in other states when they’ve reached the recovery stage.

AJ: And why does it need to be on the table? Is that a management question?

KS: Well, I guess it doesn’t have to be. To me it’s a process question, it’s good governance. We’re going into this with an open mind; we have no preconceived notions of what a postdelisting plan looks like. And so I want virtually everything on the table. Let’s give it a thorough vetting with a broad public base. Let’s understand where the citizens want to be on this issue.

We could manage with or without a hunting season. I think as you get the bigger numbers, there’s just the realities of what it’s going to take to manage, and we have to manage: It’s an apex predator. It’s wonderful that we’re getting to recovery; we have to manage in a way where they can coexist with humans.

A WASHINGTON HUNTER TAKES A LOOK AT A MOUNTAINSIDE AS HIS SHADOW STRETCHES OUT. (ANDY WALGAMOTT)

AJ: I think people can, and even if somebody who doesn’t hunt themselves might, understand hunting fowl, they might understand hunting deer and elk, because clearly when you hunt those animals you’re getting meat and you can eat them and there’s sort of this reason for, you know, getting your own food source. Hunting wolves doesn’t necessarily have that correlation, so what would be the purpose for hunting wolves other than somebody doesn’t like them and wants a tag to go kill them, or the sport of it, or perhaps because it’s a way to augment population control to the extent the agency wants and needs to do that?

KS: I would hope it would be the latter two. We don’t want folks out there killing wolves because they don’t like wolves. It’s a legitimate hunting activity. It’s not for protein, as you said, but hopefully — not hopefully, it has to be if we allow it — it has to be done as a part of management control, population control. 

From that perspective, there are a lot of folks out there who would like to enjoy going out and pursuing. It would be a challenge, to say the least. To do this from the ground in the way that we hunt in this state would be a challenge for folks. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing, we again no preconceived notion of how that turns out.

Certainly there’s less of an appetite for hunting that’s not associated with food, with gathering protein, so it’s tougher in general. Then you bring in the passion people have for wolves. We’re a long ways from getting to a hunting season, I think.

TWO WOLVES ROAM ACROSS A SNOWY EASTERN WASHINGTON LANDSCAPE. (UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON)

Since they were delisted in the early years of this decade wolves have been hunted in northeastern Washington by the Colville and Spokane Tribes, both on and off reservation, and now year-round with no limit on how many can be taken.

State managers have never worried that tribal hunting seasons would be a conservation concern either in that well-wolfed corner of Washington, or beyond.

Then again, there’s not much they — or even the fiercest of pro-wolfers — can do about it, as the tribes are sovereign nations and can manage wildlife how they want.

As for whether state hunters will one day be able to pursue wolves, there’s a two-part answer to that.

The technical process — the road map to a hunt — is easy.

It needs to be part of the environmental impact statement that will be developed out of this fall’s scoping process. The Fish and Wildlife Commission has to approve the plan with that element, downlist the status of wolves from state endangered to game species as they meet the recovery goals, and then set regulations and seasons.

The more difficult part is that wolf hunts are a “magnitudes bigger issue” than wolf-livestock conflict, which itself is huge.

There will be titanic headwinds and icy waters to steer through.

One avenue may be mediation between the sides — hunters, wolf lovers and other interested instate parties — just like how the disparate interests on WDFW’s Wolf Advisory Group came together to agree on nonlethal preventative work and lethal protocols for removing wolves that attack cattle, sheep and other domestic animals.

Yet even as the idea is now percolating, as it were, it may also be on that stove for quite some time.

“We’re a long ways from getting to a hunting season, I think.”
–Susewind

Meanwhile, the scoping period that will help shape the draft environmental impact statement for how to manage wolves postrecovery continues through 5 p.m., Nov. 15.

It would behoove us hunters to register our thoughts formally. The time it takes to leave yet another comment on a Facebook wolf post isn’t much longer than it takes to fill out the seven-field questionnaire.

Go here.

Lower Icicle Creek Opening For Coho

THE FOLLOWING IS A RULE CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHIGNTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Portions of the Icicle River to open for coho salmon retention

 Action and rules: Opens retention of coho salmon.

Salmon: Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release all salmon other than coho, except release all coho marked with a colored floy (anchor) tag (tags located near dorsal fin). Fishing with bait is prohibited. Night closure in effect.

SCOTT FLETCHER SHOWS OFF ONE OF EIGHT COHO FOR FOUR ANGLERS DURING 2014’S FISHERY. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Effective date: One hour before official sunrise on Nov. 2 through one hour after official sunset on Nov. 30, 2019.

Species affected: Coho salmon. 

Locations:

  1. From the closure signs located 800 feet upstream of the mouth of the river to 500 feet downstream from the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery Barrier Dam.
  2. From the shoreline markers where Cyo Road intersects the Icicle River at the Sleeping Lady Resort to the Icicle Peshastin Irrigation Footbridge (approximately 750 feet upstream from the Snow Lakes trailhead parking area).

Reason for action:  An estimated 4,500 coho are expected to return to the Wenatchee River basin this year and will be in excess of spawning escapement goals on the Icicle River and hatchery broodstock needs. The population is not listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Additional information: Barbless hooks optional. Anglers may not use the two-pole endorsement in this fishery.

Motorized vessels are not allowed on the Icicle River (Chelan County ordinance 7.20.190 Motorboat restrictions).

WDFW will be monitoring the fishery closely and may close the season early if necessary due to excessive incidental catch and release impacts to ESA listed summer steelhead. For emergency rule updates, please visit https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Hanford Reach, SW WA Fishing Report (11-1-19)

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORTS WERE FORWARDED BY PAUL HOFFARTH AND BRYANT SPELLMAN, WDFW

Hanford Reach Fall Salmon Fishery

The Hanford Reach fall salmon fishery closed on October 31. For the season there were an estimated 30,678 angler trips with 11,820 adult chinook, 1,321 chinook jacks, and 53 coho harvested.

JASON VOORHEES ENJOYED A PRETTY GOOD FINAL DAY OF THE LOWER HANFORD REACH FALL SALMON SEASON YESTERDAY BEFORE GOING BACK TO THE TRI-CITIES AND SCARING THE SH*T OUT OF KIDS LATER THAT EVENING. OK, THAT’S ACTUALLY TROY BRODERS BEHIND THE MASK, BUT WE CAN REPORT THAT THE FISH WAS HARMED IN THE MAKING OF THE IMAGE — NOT TO MENTION DINNER. (YO-ZURI PHOTO CONTEST)

Lots of jacks returning this year which means we should have a good return of three year olds next year in the 6-10 pound range. WDFW will have a complete forecast for 2020 available in February.

Washington Columbia River and Tributary Fishing Report Oct 21-27, 2019

Salmon/Steelhead:
Columbia River Tributaries

Elochoman – 3 bank anglers released one steelhead.

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 9 bank rods kept one coho. 7 boats/19 rods kept 12 coho and released three Chinook, 2 coho and 1 coho jack.

Above the I-5 Br – 40 bank rods kept two steelhead and released 14 Chinook. 6 boats/17 rods kept four coho and released two Chinook, 6 coho and 1 coho jack.

Kalama River – 7 bank anglers had no catch.

Lewis River – 17 bank anglers kept one coho. 9 boats/23 rods kept 11 Chinook, 2 Chinook jacks, 3 coho and released seven Chinook, 1 coho and 1 coho jack.

Wind River – 1 boat/2 rods released one Chinook.

Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge – 42 bank anglers kept 30 Chinook, 1 Chinook jack, 25 coho and 3 coho jacks.

Sturgeon:

Cowlitz River – I-5 Br downstream – 2 boats/7 rods released three sublegal sturgeon.

Tributaries not listed: Creel checks not conducted.

Lower Col mainstem sport Oct 21-27, 2019
Salmon

Bonneville bank: 37 anglers with 15 coho kept and 4 coho and 9 Chinook released
Camas/Washougal boat: 16 anglers with 3 coho kept and 1 coho and 29 Chinook released
Vancouver boat: 9 anglers with 2 coho kept and 2 Chinook released
Woodland boat: 1 angler with 1 coho and 1 Chinook released
Kalama boat: 3 anglers with 3 coho kept and 1 coho and 2 Chinook released
Longview boat: 7 anglers with 3 coho kept
Sturgeon
Bonneville bank: 9 anglers with nothing
Camas/Washougal boat: 4 anglers with nothing
Vancouver boat: 30 anglers with 1 legal kept and 2 sublegals and 3 oversize released
Woodland bank: 1 angler with nothing
Woodland boat: 13 anglers with nothing
Kalama bank: 4 anglers with nothing
Kalama boat: 33 anglers with 1 legal kept and 8 sublegals released
Longview bank: 12 anglers with nothing
Longview boat: 28 anglers with nothing

Yuasa: I-5 Fall Trout Releases Boosted, Plus Squid, Crab, Salmon Ops In November

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

We’ve been hanging our salmon fishing lines in the water for more than five months, and I’d like to switch gears and set sights on another exciting opportunity to get through the impending holiday madness.

Yes, take some time to let go of your snobbish salmon attitude and harken back to days when you pursued trout with nothing more than high hopes, a jar of salmon eggs, Power Bait or a container of worms.

Now is the time to hit the refresh button and replay those memorable moments or share it with someone new to fishing.

“We’re trying out a couple of pilot programs, which allowed us to be creative on how we structure trout fisheries in our region, and we’ve kept intact a couple others that have been successful,” said Justin Spinelli, a WDFW biologist in Mill Creek.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

Earlier this year, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) strategized ways to boost trout prospects at a time when many have holiday plans or shopping on their minds.

According to Spinelli, WDFW hatchery staff had space in some hatcheries and funding to raise thousands of rainbow trout to catchable size (8 to 11 inches) this past spring and summer.

“During this pilot program, we plan to monitor and conduct creel surveys so we can get an idea on participation and success,” Spinelli said. “Keeping fish in hatcheries longer was expensive. We need to make sure for budget purposes that it’s worth our effort to provide this special opportunity.”

WDFW is planting 27,000 rainbow trout along the I-5 corridor in 12 lakes within Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish and King counties.

“I’m really excited and hopefully it leads to getting more people into the sport,” he said. “We’re trying this out in urban centered areas. We know a lot of people in the cities may be interested in getting outside and going fishing.”

Spinelli says this offers easy access to nearby lakes and it’s not too complicated of a fishery to learn, doesn’t take a whole bunch of expensive fishing gear and provides fish that are willing to bite.

Two popular local lakes where late-season annual plants have become the norm are Beaver Lake in Issaquah and Goodwin Lake in Snohomish County.

Beaver was expecting a plant – possibly as soon as this week – of 1,250 trout averaging 2 pounds apiece and another 1,250 just prior to Thanksgiving. Goodwin will receive 5,000 in December.

Here are other scheduled plants (most lakes are open year-round except two have seasonal dates):

King County – Green, 3,600 (1,611 planted last week); Steel, 1,600 (open Nov. 1-Jan. 5 only and 804 were planted last week); and Fivemile, 1,200 (616 were planted last week). Snohomish County – Gissburg Ponds, 2,000; Tye, 2,000; Silver, 2,000 (1,005 were planted last week); and Ballinger, 1,600 (804 were planted last week). Skagit County – Clear, 1,500; and Cranberry, 1,750. Whatcom County – Padden, 1,750 (open Nov. 1-Jan. 5 only and 1,000 were planted last week).

“Some lakes we plant will have fish biting for quite a while,” Spinelli said. “I’m thrilled with this new program and hope we can demonstrate that this can be a stimulus for our trout fisheries at a time when choices of fishing activities are much slimmer.”

The popular “Black Friday” trout fisheries also give anglers a chance to get out and burn off the calories from a Thanksgiving feast. This includes thousands of beefy trout averaging 1 to 1.3 pounds going into more than a dozen southwest Washington lakes.

Clark County – Klineline, 2,000; and Battle Ground, 2,000. Cowlitz County – Kress, 2,000. Klickitat County – Rowland, 2,000. Lewis County – Fort Borst Park Pond, 2,000; and South Lewis County Park Pond, 2,000. Pierce County – American, 2,000; and Tanwax, 1,000. Thurston County – Black, 1,000; Ward, 300; Long, 1,000; and Offutt, 1,000.

Millions of fry-size trout were planted this past spring in eastern Washington lakes that are open from Nov. 29 through March 31. These fish should have grown to catchable size (8 to 11 inches). They include Hatch, 10,000, and Williams, 12,000, in Stevens County; Fourth of July, 80,000, on Lincoln/Adams county line; and Hog Canyon, 20,000, in Spokane County.

Elton Pond in Yakima County open from Nov. 29 through March 31 will be planted with 2,000 trout averaging 1.2 pounds.

Be sure to check the WDFW website for additional lakes open year-round, which are expected to be planted in late fall and winter. For weekly stocking reports, go to www.wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly.

Other holiday fishing opportunities

This is a magical time of the year with opportunities blooming for squid, salmon and Dungeness crab just to name a few.

Hitting up many Puget Sound piers has become a nightly affair as millions of tasty squid – known in the culinary society as “calamari” – are pouring into Puget Sound marine waterways from Edmonds south to Tacoma.

Squid jigging is good at the Les Davis Pier in Tacoma; Des Moines Marina Pier; Seacrest Boathouse Pier in West Seattle; Seattle waterfront at Piers 57, 62, 63, 70 or the Seattle Aquarium Pier; Edmonds Pier; A-Dock and Shilshole Pier; Point Defiance Park Pier; Fauntleroy Ferry Dock; Illahee State Park Pier; and the Waterman and Indianola piers in Kitsap County.

Night-time on a flood tide are the best periods to catch squid as they’re attracted to lighted public piers. Squid like to lurk in the darker edges of lighted water and dart out into the light on their unsuspecting prey. The WDFW website has a wealth of information on squid jigging at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/squid/.

Salmon chasers still have opportunities in central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 10), which is open for chum and maybe a late coho through Nov. 15. Target chums around Jefferson Head, West Point south of Shilshole Bay, Point Monroe, Kingston, Allen Bank and Southworth near Blake Island, and the east side of Bainbridge Island.

Southern Puget Sound (Area 13) is open year-round and should be fair game for hatchery winter chinook off Fox Island, south of the Narrows Bridge, Anderson Island and Johnson Point.
Hood Canal (Area 12) is often an underfished location in the winter for hatchery chinook around central region at Misery Point and Oak Head.

A reminder the daily catch limit is two coho, chum or hatchery chinook in southern Puget Sound (Area 13). The daily limit in Areas 10 is two salmon but only one may be a coho (you can retain chum, pink and coho but need to release chinook).

Central Puget Sound (Area 10) and south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) reopens Jan. 1 for hatchery chinook. Northern Puget Sound (Area 9), San Juan Islands (Area 7) and east side of Whidbey Island (Areas 8-1 and 8-2) reopens Feb. 1 for hatchery chinook.

There’s nothing sweeter than having a plate of Dungeness crab sitting on the holiday dinner table and fishing has been fairly good since it reopened back on Oct. 1. Dungeness crab fishing is open daily through Dec. 31 at Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line (Marine Area 4); Sekiu area in western Strait of Juan de Fuca (5); Port Angeles area eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (6); San Juan Islands (7); and northern Puget Sound/Admiralty Inlet (9) except for waters south of a line from Olele Point to Foulweather Bluff. The east side of Whidbey Island in Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay (8-1); Port Susan and Port Gardiner (8-2) has closed for crabbing.

Sport crabbers are reminded that setting or pulling traps from a vessel is only allowed from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset. For more information, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/.

Can you dig it? Coastal razor clam success very good since opening in late September

The coastal razor clam digs have gotten off to a stupendous start and be sure to get some for the holiday dinner table.

The first digs of the 2019-2020 season began Sept. 27-29 at Long Beach and success was excellent with 18,000 diggers taking home 296,000 clams.

(MARK YUASA, NMTA)

“Digging went really well during the first series opener at Long Beach,” said Dan Ayres, the head WDFW coastal shellfish manager. “It was as close to limits as you can get (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily per person limit).”

Digging this week also was off-the-charts good at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. There’s still a last chance on tonight (Nov. 1) at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis (minus-0.2 feet at 10:38 p.m.). No digging is allowed during PM low tides only.

Many night-time low tide digs are planned in the weeks ahead on Nov. 1, 11, 13, 15, 17, 24, 26, 28 and 30 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis; and Nov. 12, 14, 16, 25, 27 and 29 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks. Dec. 10, 12, 14, 16, 23, 27 and 29 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Dec. 11, 13, 15, 26 and 28 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Copalis.

Final approval is announced by WDFW about one or two weeks prior to each series of digs and are dependent on marine toxin levels being below the cutoff threshold.

WDFW shellfish managers are saying this could be one of the best seasons seen in quite a while for many digs planned from winter through spring. For details, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/razor-clams.

New name and new events happening in 2020 during the NW Fishing Derby Series

A quick look back at the 2019 derby season saw a total of 6,176 anglers entered into 13 derbies (one was cancelled) which is up from 4,690 in 2018 and there’s plenty of excitement coming up in 2020.

We’ve now hit the refresh button and renamed it the “Northwest Fishing Derby Series” with a tentative 18 derbies scheduled. It will include two lingcod/rockfish “For the Love of Cod Derbies” in Coos Bay, Charleston and Brookings, Oregon in March 21-22 and March 28-29 respectively, and the Something Catchy Kokanee Derby at Lake Chelan in April.

The highlight is a chance enter and win a sleek $75,000 fully loaded, grand-prize all-white KingFisher 2025 Series Hardtop boat powered with Yamaha 200hp and 9.9hp trolling motors on an EZ Loader Trailer. Our newest sponsor of the derby – Shoxs Seats (www.shoxs.com) – has provided a pair of top-of-the-line seats that are engineered for maximum comfort in the roughest of seas.
The good news is anglers who enter any of the 18 derbies don’t need to catch a fish to win this beautiful boat and motor package!

A huge “thank you” to our other 2020 sponsors who make this series such a success are Silver Horde and Gold Star Lures; Scotty Downriggers; Burnewiin Accessories; Raymarine Electronics; WhoDat Tower; Dual Electronics; Tom-n-Jerry’s Marine; Master Marine; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News; Outdoor Emporium and Sportco; Harbor Marine; Prism Graphics; Lamiglas Rods; KIRO/ESPN 710AM The Outdoor Line; Salmon, Steelhead Journal; Rays Bait Works; and Salmon Trout Steelheader Magazine.

First up in the series are the Resurrection Salmon Derby on Feb. 1-2; Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8; and Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 13-15. For details, go to http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

In the meantime, take a break from holiday shopping and hit up a lake or open saltwater areas for a feisty fish tugging on the end of your line.

I’ll see you on the water!