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Originally published Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 8:02 PM

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Tuna make early arrival along coast

From Ilwaco to Neah Bay, albacore tuna have been showing up in larger numbers than recent years.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Reel Time Northwest

Seattle native and lifelong angler Mark Yuasa blogs on fishing in the Pacific Northwest.

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While salmon continue to dominate the coastal fishing scene, many are also getting excited about the early arrival of albacore tuna.

"The tuna are everywhere off the coast from Ilwaco all the way up to Neah Bay," said Wendy Beeghley, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

The Ilwaco Tuna Classic was held July 27-29, and many anglers fared well considering it doesn't peak until mid-August.

"At Ilwaco, they did really well at the classic with some boats getting over 10 tuna per person," Beeghly said. She added that the average was between four and five fish per person, and the closest catch was 20 miles out while most were between 30 and 40 miles.

"The salmon boats are also getting a lot of mackerel, which means the water off the coast must be warm," Beeghly said. "It has been a few years since we've seen mackerel off the coast."

The coastal salmon fishery remained decent, and Westport will be open daily starting this Friday.

Westport anglers averaged 0.9 salmon per rod with about three coho caught for every chinook. At La Push, it was 0.7 fish per rod with a 4-to-1 ratio of chinook to coho. At Neah Bay it was just over one fish per rod with a 2-to-1 ratio coho to chinook. At Ilwaco, it was a fish per rod, and a little more than half the catch was chinook.

At Baker Lake, sockeye fishing has slowed down from its decent start a week ago.

"We've updated the run size to 42,400 fish at this point for Baker," said Brett Barkdull, a biologist with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Through July 31, 14,227 sockeye had been transferred up to the lake with a total of 20,388 at the fish trap. Some did well at Baker Lake, while others got nothing.

East of the Cascades in the Upper Columbia River at Brewster and Wanapum continues to be very good for sockeye and a few chinook. The morning bite remains the prime time.

The Brewster Salmon Fishing Derby is this weekend, and details for that event can be found at brewstersalmonderby.com.

Lake Wenatchee will open for sockeye fishing this Saturday through Aug. 31. Fishing is allowed one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset each day.

More than 30,000 fish are predicted above Tumwater Dam on the Wenatchee River. At least 7,000 of those fish are available for the sport fishery.

The daily limit is three sockeye, and they must be 12 inches or longer. The sport fishery could close sooner depending on catch rates and angler participation.

Fishing report
Location Comment
Statewide lakes Good for perch and cutthroat in Lake Washington and Sammamish. Fair for kokanee in Stevens and American lakes. Decent for trout in Lone, Shoecraft and Goodwin. Good for large lake trout in Lake Chelan. Hit Potholes Reservoir for trout, bass and walleye. Council Lake planted with 5,000 rainbows, and Takhlakh Lake planted with 3,207 rainbows on July 24. Goose Lake north of Carson planted with 2,000 cutthroat averaging 3/4 pound apiece on July 23.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Statewide rivers "We may have a new record for steelhead handled in July on Lower Columbia (current record is 18,516 in August 2011)," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "We are starting to see a switch to more hatchery fish now."

Good catch of steelhead both inside and outside of Drano Lake and off the White Salmon River. Columbia River from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco is open for fall chinook, and two adult fish were caught Wednesday in the Lower Columbia at Kalama and below Bonneville Dam. Slow to fair in the Skykomish for hatchery king and steelhead bite throughout open sections up to Reiter Ponds. Fair for steelhead in the Cowlitz. Good for steelhead and chinook caught in The Dalles Pool of Columbia River.

Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Marine

areas

The hatchery king fishery is fair at Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, Possession Bar, Pilot Point, Point No Point, Kingston, Richmond Beach, Jefferson Head, West Point south of Shilshole Bay and Yeomalt Point, but spotty at Southworth and Dolphin Point off Vashon Island. Fair to good for hatchery kings and coho at Sekiu and Port Angeles. Slow to fair for kings in the San Juan Islands. A few kings caught off the Edmonds Pier and Seacrest Pier. Slow to fair for hatchery kings off Tacoma and the Narrows area. Slow for salmon in Hood Canal south of Ayock Point. Very good crabbing in Puget Sound and Hood Canal; all are open Thursdays through Mondays only.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

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