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Originally published Wednesday, October 31, 2012 at 6:41 PM

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Fall fishing best bets include chinook in Puget Sound

Anglers report lots of undersized chinook, so bring extra bait when you hit the water.

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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Fall fishing options are expanding with some already providing decent action.

The marine hatchery chinook fishing scene reopened from Saratoga Pass down the southeast side of Whidbey Island (Marine Catch Areas 8-1 and 8-2) and northern Puget Sound (9).

Those areas join central Puget Sound (10) and south central Puget Sound (11), which opened earlier and were producing fair to good catches of hatchery chinook.

"We found fish at Jefferson Head (on Tuesday), and it appears to be holding up fairly good," said Pete Sergeef with the state Fish and Wildlife test fishery boat. "We hooked four keepers (chinook over the 22-inch minimum size limit) that were about 6 pounds, and lost two others at the boat."

Anglers report lots of undersized chinook, so bring extra bait when you hit the water. Reports also show a fair number of chinook off the Clay Banks at Point Defiance in Tacoma.

The Tengu Derby in Elliott Bay began Sunday, and 31 anglers managed to catch two hatchery chinook.

"The winning fish came off East Waterway with Todd Shipyards giving up second place," said Doug Hanada, the derby president.

Current derby leader is Steve Nitta with a 7-pound, 15-ounce chinook, and second is Chuck Hammer with a 7-1 chinook.

The derby meets from daybreak to 11 a.m. every Sunday through Dec. 30 at the Seacrest Boathouse in West Seattle. Cost is $10. Details: 206-324-7600.

The Bayside Marine Salmon Derby in Everett, part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, is this weekend. Cost is $30. Details: www.baysidemarine.com.

Hood Canal (12) and southern Puget Sound (13) are also open for salmon, but action is spotty.

Word on Beaver Lake

A plant of 2,000 rainbow trout averaging 2 to 3 pounds at Beaver Lake near Issaquah will occur on Nov. 7. The boat launch site will be closed at sunset on Nov. 6, and then reopen at sunrise on Nov. 8. The lake, however, will remain open to fishing while the access site is closed.

These chunky trout are part of an educational display at the Issaquah Hatchery. It is a late fall fisheries that draws plenty of interest.

Beaver Lake is open year-round, and best fished by small boat, although anglers can be successful from shore at the public park. Daily limit is five fish, only two of which can exceed 15 inches in length.

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

Fishing report
Location Comment
Coastal razor clams "Digging was really good everywhere, and it was limits (first 15 clams dug daily per person) for everyone we saw," Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager said of last weekend's second opener.

Over the weekend Ayres' staff checked 7,800 diggers, with an average of 14.9 clams per person. Next tentative dates are: Nov. 13-14 at Twin Harbors only; Nov. 15 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors; and Nov. 16 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks. More digs are also scheduled around Thanksgiving and in December. Digging is allowed after noon each day.

Digging: Yes

Rating: 4 stars

Statewide rivers Heavy rainfall has river water levels near or at flood stage. Once they drop, try Reiter Ponds on Skykomish for late summer steelhead, and Cascade, Skykomish and Skagit for coho. Fair in Cowlitz at barrier dam, and Lewis North Fork and Kalama for coho and chinook. Try for steelhead in Upper Columbia, Wenatchee, Icicle, Entiat, Methow and Okanogan. Humptulips has chinook, chum and coho.
Biting: Maybe

Rating: 1 stars

Marine areas Chum fishing action is picking up with decent reports coming from Dyes Inlet; Chico Creek near Bremerton; Kennedy Creek estuary in Totten Inlet; Hoodsport in Hood Canal; and Johns Creek estuary in Oakland Bay. Other chum locales are North Bay near Allyn, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet, Whatcom Creek in Bellingham and Potlatch State Park in Hood Canal. Very good squid jigging at night off Edmonds Pier and Pier 86 on the Seattle waterfront. Good crabbing in Puget Sound. Port Angeles and San Juan Islands reopen for salmon fishing on Dec. 1, and Sekiu on Feb. 16.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 2 stars

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