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Originally published Wednesday, January 23, 2013 at 7:40 PM

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Rain might lure more steelhead upstream

Low and clear water conditions on rivers left steelhead fishing as stagnant as the foggy weather. That could change if rainfall this week...

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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Low and clear water conditions on rivers left steelhead fishing as stagnant as the foggy weather.

That could change if rainfall this week draws more fresh fish upstream as the winter season winds down. The season closes on many rivers after Jan. 31.

"We've got the last hurrah for steelhead, and this will not go down as one of the better winter seasons," said Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood. "Conditions weren't great, but a few hatchery fish were caught at Reiter Ponds (on Skykomish), Snoqualmie and North Fork of Stillaguamish."

Other rivers generating some steelhead are the Wynoochee, Skagit (near Hamilton), Lyman, Cowlitz, Washougal, Humptulips, Satsop and Cascade. The Nooksack reopens Feb. 1.

Northern coastal rivers woke up from a deep winter slumber and are fair for steelhead in the Bogachiel, Hoh from Oxbow downstream and Sol Duc.

Minimal water movement between tidal series has left the marine salmon fishery slow at midweek.

"The winter chinook fishery has been driven by good morning low tides, which produced a decent bite late last week, and then it fell off the charts," said Larry Bennett, a state Fish and Wildlife checker in Port Angeles.

"There seems to be a lot of bait and birds around (the key to keeping chinook feeding in the area), and the last couple hours of the low tide is best at Winter Hole (north of Port Angeles) and near the base of Ediz Hook," Bennett said. "I'd wait for the better tides next week."

Look for fair action at Protection Island, Thatcher Pass, Fidalgo Head, Lopez Pass, Rosario Strait, Salmon Bank, McArthur Bank, the north side of Orcas Island, Spring Pass and President Channel. The Roche Harbor Salmon Classic is Feb. 7-9. Details: 360-378-5562.

In northern Puget Sound, fishing is slow to fair at Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, Point No Point and Possession Bar.

Central Puget Sound is open through Jan. 31, and is slow to fair at Jefferson Head. Fishing is spotty in Saratoga Pass and southern Puget Sound. South central Puget Sound and Hood Canal reopen for salmon Feb. 1. It opens at Sekiu in the western Strait on Feb. 16.

Fishing report
Location Comment
Marine areas Fair to good squid jigging at Pier 69 or Ferris wheel pier off the Seattle waterfront, Seacrest Pier in West Seattle, Pier 86 off Elliott Avenue West in Seattle and Des Moines Pier. Slow at Edmonds and Les Davis piers. Smelt jigging good at Oak Harbor Marina and Cornet Bay on Whidbey Island.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Statewide lakes Roses Lake and Fish Lake near Leavenworth are covered with ice and producing good perch and trout action. Lake Sacajawea in Longview was planted last week with 163 5-pound trout. Other recent southwest areas planted with trout were Klineline Pond and Battle Ground Lake. Rufus Woods Reservoir is good for large-size trout. Locally, try for trout at Lone, Roesiger, Goodwin and Blackmans. Slow to fair for cutthroat in Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Coast razor clams Mediocre tides and crummy weather could hinder success at Long Beach and Twin Harbors (open Friday to Sunday), and Copalis and Mocrocks (open Saturday). Digging will be open after noon each day. Other tentative dates: Feb. 7 and Feb. 11-12 at Twin Harbors; Feb. 8-9 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks; and Feb. 10 and Feb. 23-24 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors.
Digging: Maybe

Rating: 3 stars

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