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Originally published Wednesday, February 13, 2013 at 5:47 PM

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Strait of Juan de Fuca offers choices for holiday weekend anglers

Marine salmon fishing choices are plentiful for the holiday weekend, and many will focus on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Olympic Peninsula Salmon...

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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Marine salmon fishing choices are plentiful for the holiday weekend, and many will focus on the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby is Saturday to Monday and covers an area from Freshwater Bay to Port Townsend.

While fishing hasn't been stellar recently, there have been a number of large fish caught, including a 21 ½ pound hatchery chinook last week at Winter Hole north of Port Angeles.

"It has been hit and miss fishing, but we did have a check from the Ediz Hook boat ramp (in Port Angeles on Tuesday) that showed 12 fish for seven boats," said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife fish checker in the Strait.

"We also had an 18- or 19-pounder caught out of the John Wayne Marina (in Sequim) this week," Bennett said. "We've had some big fish show up, and the afternoon low tide series this weekend looks good."

Last year, strong winds and unsettled weather tested derby anglers, who had a total of 217 hatchery chinook averaging 8.44 pounds. John Otness of Tacoma earned first place with a 17.6 pound salmon. Details: www.GardinerSalmonDerby.org.

Sekiu in western Strait opens Saturday, and can be a sleeper for hatchery chinook.

Last week's Roche Harbor Salmon Classic Invitational on San Juan Island saw a record number of chinook caught, 196 fish for 339 anglers. First place went to Pete Nelson of Shaw Island, who caught a 16.7 pound hatchery chinook on the first day of the derby, and took home $10,000.

Last year, 85 boats with 239 anglers caught 93 hatchery chinook.

In the San Juan Islands, target chinook at Thatcher Pass, Fidalgo Head, Lopez Pass, Rosario Strait, Salmon Bank, north side of Orcas Island, Spring Pass and President Channel.

In other marine areas fishing has been fair at Misery Point in Hood Canal, Point No Point, Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, Double Bluff off Whidbey Island and Possession Bar. Slow in Tacoma area for hatchery chinook. Central Puget Sound is closed for salmon.

Nibble and bites

• There's fair squid jigging at Piers 69 and 70 off the Seattle waterfront, Seacrest Pier in West Seattle, Les Davis Pier in Tacoma, Pier 86 off Elliott Avenue West in Seattle and Des Moines Pier.

• Smelt jigging is good at Oak Harbor Marina and Cornet Bay on Whidbey Island.

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

Fishing report
Location Comment
Coast razor clams "It was off the charts digging (Thursday through Tuesday, and we had a total of 37,600 diggers coastwide with 14.95 clams per person (the first 15 dug is a daily limit)," said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager.

Next tentative dig is Feb. 23-24 at Long Beach and Twin Harbors. Digging is allowed after noon each day. Other afternoon digging dates are March 7-8 and March 11 at Twin Harbors; and March 9-10 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks. Morning digs will occur March 28 and March 31 at Twin Harbors; March 29-30 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks. More digs are planned in April and May.

Digging: Yes

Rating: 4 stars

Statewide rivers The Wenatchee River opened last weekend with good success for steelhead and is also open for whitefish. The Icicle is open for steelhead. Many Western Washington rivers are closed to protect wild steelhead. Anglers should check the regulation pamphlet for details. Other options are Cowlitz, Washougal, Wynoochee, Skookumchuck, Satsop, Washougal, Bogachiel, Hoh and Sol Duc. Fair for sturgeon catch-and-release in Bonneville Pool, and for catch-and-keep in The Dalles and John Day pools. Slow in Lower Columbia for spring chinook. Fair for steelhead and walleye in John Day Pool.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 2 stars

Statewide lakes Battleground Lake and Klineline Pond were planted last week with 3,000 and 1,500 trout. Good ice fishing for trout at Roses Lake near Manson and Fish Lake near Leavenworth for perch and trout. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout. Rufus Woods Reservoir is fair for trout. Fair to good for trout at Goodwin. Fair for cutthroat in Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. The Northwest Ice Fishing Festival is 7 a.m. Saturday at Sidley Lake in Molson. Details: www.edenvalleyranch.net.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

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