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Originally published Wednesday, September 26, 2012 at 6:55 PM

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Digs for coastal razor clams should start around Oct. 13 | Fishing report

The coho salmon fishing in Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca remains a hot topic. Now razor clam lovers can start making plans to hit...

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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The coho salmon fishing in Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca remains a hot topic. Now razor clam lovers can start making plans to hit coastal beaches.

The first tentative razor clam digs will start Oct. 13 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

State Fish and Wildlife will make the final approval about a week before, once marine toxin testing shows the clams are safe to eat. Dates are Oct. 13-14 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 15 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors; Oct. 16-18 at Twin Harbors only.

Public comments are being accepted on the fall, winter and spring seasons through Oct. 9. Details: at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.

The coho salmon fishing remains excellent from the Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into Puget Sound, and the Everett Coho Derby last weekend saw phenomenal catches.

More than 1,500 coho were weighed in the derby, and 1,831 adult tickets were sold along with 232 free youth tickets.

"It was a record number of coho caught (1,146 caught in 2005), and the best catches we've seen since the derby began in 1993," said Jim Brauch, a derby spokesman. "The lowest coho weight to win one of the 275 prizes in the derby was 9 pounds so there was a quite a few nice-sized fish."

First place went to Harvey Aney of Everett who took home $3,000 with a 17.08-pound coho.

For a full list of winners, go to www.everettcohoderby.com.

The coho action remains very good off the west side of Possession Bar; Sekiu; Port Angeles; west and east sides of Whidbey Island; Mukilteo south the Meadowdale; Edmonds; Browns Bay; Shilshole Bay; Jefferson Head; Point No Point; Elliott Bay; and Possession Bar.

Bank anglers are catching a fair number of coho off Bush Point; Fort Casey; the southeast side of Whidbey Island; Edmonds Pier; Deception Pass; Dash Point Pier; and Picnic Point Park near Lynnwood.

The Grays Harbor salmon fishery remains another decent bet with many anglers catching a nice mix of kings and coho off the channel markers near the mouth of the Johns River.

"The weekend was pretty good for the harbor," said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "On good days it was a fish per person, and on the slower ones it was half-a-fish, which is still not bad."

Fishing report

Statewide lakes

Coho is open north of the 520 Bridge, and best places to try are outside of Yarrow Point, west of Juanita Bay or the north side of Magnuson Park either vertical jigging or trolling with plugs and spinners. Very good for perch, and fair for cutthroat in Lake Washington. Good for lake trout in Lake Chelan. Good for trout, bass and walleye in Potholes Reservoir. Jameson Lake opens for trout on Oct. 1.

Statewide rivers

"The tidewater areas of the Lower Snohomish is where you want to target coho trolling plugs or casting spinners and small Dick Nite spoons," said Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted's Sporting Goods in Lynnwood. "Guys fishing the Skagit are doing pretty good on 4 to 5 pound coho. Many of the rivers are pretty low and clear."

Fair to good for kings in Hanford Reach area of Columbia. Fair for coho in Nooksack. Fair for coho in Lower Green/Duwamish. Fair for chinook in Kalama. Fair for chinook and coho in Cowlitz. Fair to good for kings in Samish. Slow for kings in Nisqually. Fair for kings in Lower Yakima.

Local marine areas

Squid jigging is slow to fair at nights on the flood tide off Bremerton waterfront piers and Pier 86 on the Seattle waterfront. Fair coho in San Juan Islands. Fair for coho and chinook in the Tacoma area. Off and on for hatchery kings in Hood Canal south of Ayock Point near Hoodsport, and fair for coho north of Ayock.

All coho (hatchery and wild) are fair game off Sekiu through Sunday. Sekiu and Port Angeles anglers may keep one chinook in a two-fish daily limit from Oct. 1-31. Chum may be kept Oct. 1-31 in northern and central Puget Sound. The fall and winter chum forecast is 983,907. Hatchery chinook may also be kept in central Sound starting Oct. 1.

Ocean areas

Westport, La Push and Neah Bay are now closed for salmon. It was about one-third of a salmon per rod (virtually all coho) off Ilwaco, which is open until Sunday. The La Push late salmon bubble fishery opens this Saturday through Oct. 14.

The Westport Boat Basin Salmon Derby is open through Oct. 31. The "derby within the derby" is Oct. 6-7. Details at www.experiencewestport.com.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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