Tag Archives: Westport

Yuasa Reviews Washington 2018 Salmon Seasons, Looks Ahead To Halibut, Shrimping

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

The months are flying by faster than a coho hitting your bait in the prop wash.

It felt like “Yesterday” – an ode to a classic Beatles song – when we gathered in Lacey on Feb. 27 to see what the salmon forecasts had in store for us. Now a season package is “Signed, Sealed and Delivered” – did you say Stevie Wonder? – for anglers to digest and begin making plans on where to wet a line.

The process known as “North of Falcon” (NOF) culminated April 6-11 in Portland, Oregon, and I was on-hand as a sport-fishing observer.

JUSTIN WONG HOLDS UP A NICE KING SALMON HE CAUGHT LAST SUMMER IN THE OCEAN OFF WESTPORT. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

When proposed seasons came to light in mid-March it was like a feisty trophy king tugging on end of a line, which after a long battle unhooked itself at the boat causing the lead weight to smack you right in the eye.

While grief and a swollen black eye set in, you might have been down in the dumps. But, my mantra has been to never whine about what you can’t do or lost (the trophy king in paragraph above), and more on making the most of the present moment.

Life throws you lemons so make sweet lemonade because if you don’t your head will go into a swift-moving tidal tail-spin and turn your fishing line into a messy tangled web of hurt.

The initial good news is environmental conditions – El Nino, warm water temperatures, a “Blob” and droughts – that have plagued us with restrictions going back to 2015-16 appear to be in the rear-view mirror.

Secondly, was the warmth (albeit mixed feelings by some NOF attendees) of unity and transparency between user groups despite a usual difference in opinions over how the whole pie of sport, tribal and non-tribal fisheries was divvied up.

These are signals of “baby steps” in a complicated process that long has been filled with arguments, bitterness, cultural indifference, protests and a fight over that “last salmon” dating back to Boldt Decision.

The true litmus test of how long this “hand-holding” philosophy will last between all parties is essential as we move forward to ensure our iconic Pacific Northwest salmon runs will be around for generations to come. Even more so as we carry the torch of a long-term Puget Sound Chinook Management Plan to the federal fishery agency’s table later this year, which will dictate how we fish from 2019 to 2029 and beyond.

“Now that we’ve finished this process we need to work on being responsible with conservation, habitat issues and simply change our philosophy to create a long-term management plan,” Ron Warren, the WDFW salmon policy coordinator said at conclusion of Portland meetings.

While being mindful of that briny future, let’s go over highlights of our fisheries at hand.

A positive are extended seasons – something that hasn’t happened for several years – for hatchery coho in northern Puget Sound (Area 9) from July through September, and non-select coho in central Puget Sound (Area 10) from June through mid-November. The Puget Sound coho forecast is 557,149.

Another shining star is a South Sound hatchery chinook forecast of 227,420 up 21 percent from 10-year average and a 35 percent increase from 2017.

The northern Puget Sound summer hatchery chinook catch quota is 5,563 – a similar figure to 2017 – and is expected to last one-month when it opens in July.

The elevated forecast is a blessing when south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) opens June 1 especially in popular Tacoma-Vashon Island area. A central Puget Sound hatchery chinook fishery starts July 16 with a cap of 4,743. Area 10 has a coho directed fishery in June at popular places such as Jefferson Head-Edmonds area.

A hatchery king season opens at Sekiu on July 1, and Port Angeles on July 3. Both switch to hatchery coho in mid-August through September.

A summer king fishery in San Juan Islands (Area 7) opens July to August, but September is chinook non-retention.

Late-summer and early-fall coho fisheries will occur in Areas 5, 6, 7, 8-1, 8-2, 11, 12 and 13.

On coast, Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay open daily starting June 23, and Westport opens Sundays to Thursdays beginning July 1. Hatchery coho quotas are same as 2017 although chinook quotas are down a decent amount. The popular Buoy 10 salmon fishery opens Aug. 1.

On freshwater scene, a sockeye forecast of 35,002 to Baker River is strong enough to allow fisheries in Baker Lake from July 7-Sept. 7, and a section of Skagit River from June 16-July 15.

The Snohomish, Skykomish and Snoqualmie open Sept. 16 for coho. Sections of Skykomish, Skagit and Cascade open for hatchery chinook beginning June 1. For details on seasons, visit WDFW at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.

Bounty of May fishing options

There’s nothing more exciting than pulling up a pot loaded with prawn-size spot shrimp during a season that begins May 5.

“I am more positive this year on our spot shrimp projections than the last couple of years,” said Mark O’Toole, a WDFW biologist who is retiring May 18 after an illustrious 36 years with the department, and many thanks for your valued input on shrimp and other fish policies!

BIG PRAWN-SIZE SPOT SHRIMP COME INTO PLAY IN THE MONTHS AHEAD AROUND THE PUGET SOUND REGION. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

“In general, last year was another good season with relatively high abundance,” he said. “The catch per boat ended up being higher for all areas.”

Look for good shrimping in Strait; San Juan Islands; east side of Whidbey Island; central, south-central and northern Puget Sound; and Hood Canal. Test fishing conducted this spring showed marginal abundance in southern Puget Sound.

Hit pause button on spring chores since trout fishing in statewide lowland lakes is now underway.

Justin Spinelli, a WDFW biologist says 460,000 trout went into Puget Sound region lakes on top of 500-plus statewide lakes planted with 16,840,269 trout – 2,171,307 of them are the standardized size averaging about 11 inches compared to 8-inches in past seasons.

If you prefer a large-sized halibut then head out on May 11. The Washington catch quota is 225,366 pounds down from 237,762 in 2017, and a bump up from 214,110 in 2016, 2015 and 2014. Dates for Neah Bay, La Push, Westport and Strait/Puget Sound are May 11, 13, 25 and 27. Depending on catches other dates are June 7, 9, 16, 21, 23, 28 and 30. Ilwaco opens May 3 with fishing allowed Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays.

Once you get your halibut fix add some black rockfish and lingcod to the cooler. Ilwaco, Westport, Neah Bay and La Push are open for both, and some Puget Sound areas are open for lingcod.

NW Salmon Derby Series hits pause button

While we take a break from a spectacular winter derby series be sure to keep sight of the PSA Bellingham Salmon Derby on July 13-15.

2018 NORTHWEST SALMON DERBY SERIES GRAND PRIZE BOAT. (MARK YUASA, NMTA)

More great news is Edmonds Coho Derby on Sept. 8 and Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 22-23 – the largest derby on West Coast – are likely back on “must do” list. In mean time, check out derby’s grand-prize KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with Honda 150hp motor and 9.9hp trolling motor at Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show on May 17-20 at Cap Sante Marina. The $65,000 boat also comes on an EZ-loader trailer, and fully-rigged with Scotty downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; custom WhoDat Tower; and Dual Electronic stereo. Details: http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

I’m sprinting out the door with rod in hand so see you on the water!

Westport Commercial Crabber Fined $5,000 For Stealing Others’ Pots

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

A Grays Harbor County judge has sentenced a commercial crab fisherman to 90 days of electronic home monitoring and fined him $5,000 for stealing crab pots offshore of Westport, concluding a case that began with an investigation last year by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Larrin Breitsprecher, 57, of Westport, was sentenced Dec. 1 by Grays Harbor County Superior Court Judge Mark McCauley after a jury found him guilty of possessing stolen property and related charges. Beginning May 1, Breitsprecher will be required to remain at home for three months unless he requires medical attention.

WITH STOLEN CRAB POTS PILED AS EVIDENCE IN THE CORNER OF A COURTROOM, GRAYS HARBOR DEPUTY PROSECUTOR RANDY TRICK (LEFT, BACKGROUND) CONFERS WITH ATTORNEYS FOR DEFENDANT LARRIN BREITSPRECHER, WHO WAS ON TRIAL FOR STEALING CRAB POTS. IN THE FOREGROUND, WDFW FISH AND WILDLIFE OFFICER ED WELTER STANDS BY. (WDFW)

WDFW Police Captain Dan Chadwick said the department began its investigation after a deckhand on Breitsprecher’s crab boat told officers that his boss directed him to steal crab pots while fishing near Westport.

After obtaining a search warrant, police officers from WDFW and the Quinault Indian Nation seized 32 commercial crab pots from Breitsprecher’s gear stack at the Port of Westport and determined that at least 24 of them belonged to other crabbers, Chadwick said.

OFFICER WELTER POSES WITH COMMERCIAL CRAB POTS HAULED INTO A GRAYS HARBOR COURTROOM. (WDFW)

“A commercial crab pot fully rigged can run $200 to $250, so the loss of multiple pots can really add up,” he said. “We appreciate that the Grays Harbor prosecutor’s office pursued this case, because it demonstrates that the law extends to ocean waters.” Chadwick said the department also appreciated the assistance of the Quinault tribal police.

WDFW currently licenses 223 coastal crab vessels, which landed 16.4 million pounds of Dungeness crab with a dockside value of $52 million during the 2016-17 season.

Editor’s note: This WDFW press release has been updated with the correct spelling of the defendant’s last name. It is Breitsprecher, not Brietsprecher as originally reported by the agency.

Westport Serves Up 2 New State Record Fish: Opah, Blue Shark

THE FOLLOWING IS A WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE PRESS RELEASE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) confirmed today that two state sport fish records fell during one late September weekend.

Mike Benoit, of Gig Harbor, set a new state record for the largest opah caught off the coast of Washington on Sept. 23. The 37.98-pound fish measured 32.5 inches. Benoit was live bait fishing with anchovies out of Westport.

MIKE BENOIT AND HIS STATE RECORD OPAH. (WDFW)

The new record exceeded the previous opah record by more than two pounds. That record was held by Jim Watson on a fish caught 45 miles off the coast of Washington.

Then, on Sept. 24, Erik Holcomb of Lynden set a new state record for the largest blue shark. The 49.50-pound fish measured 71 inches. Holcomb was also live bait fishing with anchovies out of Westport.

ERIK HOLCOMB AND HIS STATE RECORD BLUE SHARK. (WDFW)

The new record exceeded the previous blue shark record by almost 22 pounds. That record was held by Zachary Jackson on a fish caught 57 miles off the coast of Washington.

A complete list of Washington’s sport fishing records is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/records/.

Get Out Your Calendars! Tentative WA Coast Razor Clam Season Announced

THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced a tentative schedule for the fall razor clam season set to begin in early October.

Final approval of all scheduled openings will depend on results of marine toxin tests, which are usually conducted about a week before a dig is scheduled to begin.

RAZOR CLAMMERS WORK THE BEACH DURING AN EARLY 2010 SEASON OPENER. (JASON BAUER)

“We’re releasing a tentative schedule to give people plenty of time to make plans to go digging this fall,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.

State shellfish managers are also seeking public input on management options, including scheduling for spring digs. Comments on the spring digs can be sent via email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov.

A summary of last season and an overview of the recently completed razor clam stock assessment are available in WDFW’s 2017-18 Razor Clam Management Plan at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fi…/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.

Based on beach surveys conducted this summer, WDFW estimates the total razor clam population on Washington’s beaches has decreased significantly from last season, which means fewer days of digging this season.

Ayres said the decline in clam populations was likely caused, at least in part, by an extended period of low salinity in surf zone ocean waters, particularly those near Long Beach and Twin Harbors.

“The total number of clams may be down this year, but we still expect good digging on most beaches,” Ayres said.

Proposed razor clam digs through December are listed below, along with evening low tides and beaches:

· Oct. 6, Friday, 7:49 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

· Oct. 7, Saturday, 8:33 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

· Nov. 2, Thursday, 6:03 p.m.; 0.1 feet; Copalis

· Nov. 3, Friday, 6:47 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Nov. 4, Saturday, 7:31 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

· Nov. 5, Sunday, 7:16 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Dec. 1, Friday, 4:42 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Copalis

· Dec. 2, Saturday, 6:49 p.m.; -1.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Dec. 3, Sunday, 6:15 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis

· Dec. 4, Monday, 7:02 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

· Dec. 31, Sunday, 5:12 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks

With Coho Quota Almost Full, WDFW Says Ilwaco, Westport Salmon Fishing To Close After Aug. 22

THE FOLLOWING IS A EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE

Ocean salmon fishery off Ilwaco and Westport to close early

Action:   Close Marine Areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport) to salmon fishing.

Effective Dates:  Effective 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 22.

HUNTER HIGGINBOTHAM SHOWED OFF HIS SKILLS WHILE SALMON FISHING OUT OF WESTPORT. THIS COHO BIT A HERRING BEHIND A FISH FLASH FOR THE LAD. (VIA JAROD HIGGINBOTHAM)

Species affected:  All salmon.

Locations:  Marine Areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport), Cape Falcon, Oregon to Queets River, Washington.

Reason for action: Estimates indicate that anglers will reach quotas for coho salmon by the end of the day Tuesday. Closing the salmon fishery early will help ensure compliance with conservation requirements.

Other information: Recreational fisheries in Ilwaco and Westport would have closed earlier in August but were able to remain open due to transfers of quota by the commercial troll fishery to the recreational fishery. 

Marine Areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) and the Buoy 10 fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River remain open as scheduled.

WA Ocean Salmon Fishing Report (8-16-17)

THE FOLLOWING REPORT IS FROM WENDY BEEGHLEY, WDFW

Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

A total of 7,052 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 1,667 Chinook and 5,578 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 5,747 Chinook (44% of the area guideline) and 16,581 coho (79% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

 

Westport

 

A total of 4,339 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 796 Chinook and 2,995 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 5,828 Chinook (27% of the area guideline) and 13,766 coho (76% of the revised area sub-quota) have been landed.

La Push

A total of 287 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 78 Chinook and 369 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 337 Chinook (14% of the area guideline) and 763 coho (70% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Neah Bay

A total of 476 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery August 7-13, landing 273 Chinook and 167 coho.  Through August 13, a cumulative total of 7,116 Chinook (90% of the area guideline) and 2,378 coho (54% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

 

Washington Ocean Salmon Update (8-9-17)

THE FOLLOWING REPORT IS FROM WENDY BEEGHLEY OF WDFW

Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

A total of 4,709 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 31-August 6, landing 732 Chinook and 3,293 coho.  Through August 6, a cumulative total of 4,082 Chinook (31% of the area guideline) and 10,999 coho (52% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

HUNTER HIGGINBOTHAM SHOWED OFF HIS SKILLS WHILE SALMON FISHING OUT OF WESTPORT WITH FAR CORNERS ADVENTURE FISHING. THIS COHO BIT A HERRING BEHIND A FISH FLASH FOR THE LAD. (VIA JAROD HIGGINBOTHAM)

Westport

A total of 4,444 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 31-August 6, landing 789 Chinook and 4,114 coho.  Through August 6, a cumulative total of 5,032 Chinook (24% of the area guideline) and 10,771 coho (69% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

La Push

A total of 226 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 31-August 6, landing 43 Chinook and 223 coho.  Through August 6, a cumulative total of 259 Chinook (10% of the area guideline) and 394 coho (36% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Neah Bay

A total of 778 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 31-August 6, landing 465 Chinook and 398 coho.  Through August 6, a cumulative total of 6,843 Chinook (87% of the area guideline) and 2,210 coho (51% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Washington Coast Salmon Fishing Report (7-26-17)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS ARE FROM WENDY BEEGHLEY OF WDFW (TOP) AND JOHN KEIZER OF SALTPATROL.COM (BOTTOM)

Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

A total of 2,701 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 17-23, landing 281 Chinook and 2,527 coho.  Through July 23, a cumulative total of 2,845 Chinook (22% of the area guideline) and 4,330 coho (21% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Westport

A total of 2,587 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 17-23, landing 987 Chinook and 2,054 coho.  Through July 23, a cumulative total of 2,540 Chinook (12% of the area guideline) and 3,404 coho (22% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

JENN STAHL SHOWS OFF A COHO SHE CAUGHT OUT OF WESTPORT LAST WEEKEND WHILE FISHING WITH JOHN KEIZER. (SALTPATROL.COM)

La Push

A total of 75 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 17-23, landing 28 Chinook and 39 coho.  Through July 23, a cumulative total of 184 Chinook (7% of the area guideline) and 92 coho (8% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Neah Bay

A total of 1,698 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 17-23, landing 1,156 Chinook and 570 coho.  Through July 23, a cumulative total of 5,854 Chinook (74% of the area guideline) and 1,258 coho (29% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

…………………………………….

Had a great weekend fishing the Jenn Stahl on Saturday. Jenn caught some kings and coho. The fished have arrived in numbers now and we’re just south of the harbor with most of the fishing taking place just outside the GH buoy. We had great action on a Green Spatterback squid behind a Pro-Flasher and on a Fish Flash and KingFisher spoon. Pro-Cure Bloody Tuna Gel scent worked very well as a scent.

I also had Amercian Idol winner Taylor Hicks on the boat this weekend. Taylor hosts a new show called State Plate which airs on the INSP network. This episode will air in the upcoming season.

Washington Coast Salmon Fishing Report (7-12-17)

THE FOLLOWING REPORTS ARE FROM WENDY BEEGHLEY OF WDFW (TOP) AND JOHN KEIZER OF SALTPATROL.COM (BOTTOM)

Columbia Ocean Area (including Oregon)

A total of 1,885 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 3-9, landing 770 Chinook and 177 coho.  Through July 9, a cumulative total of 2,212 Chinook (17% of the area guideline) and 318 coho (2% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

“I JUST LOVE HOW THESE OCEAN ‘NOOKS REFUSE TO QUIT!” SAYS JEFF ANDERSON, HERE WITH A RECENT ONE. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

Westport

A total of 2,355 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 3-9, landing 498 Chinook and 261 coho.  Through July 9, a cumulative total of 1,269 Chinook (6% of the area guideline) and 261 coho (2% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

La Push

A total of 86 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 3-9, landing 54 Chinook and 6 coho.  Through July 9, a cumulative total of 89 Chinook (4% of the area guideline) and 25 coho (2% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

Neah Bay

A total of 1,975 anglers participated in the all-species salmon fishery July 3-9, landing 1,472 Chinook and 245 coho.  Through July 9, a cumulative total of 2,346 Chinook (30% of the area guideline) and 397 coho (9% of the area sub-quota) have been landed.

…………………………….

Fished Westport this weekend landed 2 kings and a coho Saturday and one king one coho Sunday pretty slow fishing overall. Top producer for us was a Gold Star Spatter squid behind a Pro-Troll flasher with Bloody Tuna Jell Scent on it. We fished 300 ft of water NW of the harbor best downrigger depth was 110ft. The ocean is full of pink Pyrosome Tunicates. They are a colony of plankton eating clones. They get caught on the downrigger wire and will also trip your rod off the release clip.

THE BANE OF COMMERCIAL FISHERMEN EARLIER IN THE YEAR, RECREATIONAL ANGLERS ARE ALSO FINDING PYROSOMES CLOGGING UP THEIR GEAR. (SALTPATROL.COM)

 

Westport Salmon Opener Kicks Out A Few

THE FOLLOWING FISHING REPORT WAS WRITTEN AND SUBMITTED BY DAVE ANDERSON

July 1st marked the opener for Salmon in Area 2 Westport, so we ended up bringing the Lumacat down to Westport to embark on its 1st ocean trip. Westport will be her home for the summer.

(DAVE ANDERSON)

After talking with all the usual guys in my network we pointed north to fish on the beach up by the casino Saturday morning. Started out fishing 3-inch Silver Horde Irish cream and cookies n cream spoons behind nuclear crush flasher on the bottom in 30 feet of water and picked up quite a few smaller undersized fish, but were able to pick out three keepers.

(DAVE ANDERSON)

From there, we headed out straight from Grays Harbor in about 200 feet of water and picked up a bunch of undersized fish with 80 to 100 feet of wire with the same flasher and spoon set-up as well before we decided to call it a day and head back in.

Sunday morning, pointed the nose back north again and set up right out front of the casino in 30 feet of water and fished the same nuclear crush flasher with a small 3-inch Silver Horde Irish cream spoon. Picked up a keeper and a few undersized fish before things really slowed down.

(DAVE ANDERSON)

We ended up just grinding it out in the same area and switched over to some Short Bus flashers with a 6-foot leader to a herring. With the downriggers down on the bottom we ended up finding some bait balls and worked them hard and picked up a nice grade of Chinook, with one in the low 20s.

The biggest was for Amanda Bennet and it was awesome watching her fight the fish and seeing her excitement and enthusiasm as it came aboard.

(DAVE ANDERSON)

.