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Originally published Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 5:38 PM

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Coastal anglers anticipate opening of lingcod season


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Fishing fever is blooming across many parts of the state with anglers having options for lingcod, black rockfish, salmon, shellfish and trout.

Many anglers have high hopes for the early ocean spring lingcod fishery that opens Saturday at Westport, La Push and Ilwaco.

Lingcod have been very abundant along the south-central coast with charters usually having no problem catching limits. Good jetty fishing can also be found for shore-bound anglers at Westport and Ilwaco. The minimum size is 22 inches, and the daily limit is two lingcod.

The bonus in this spring fishery is that charters will head out first in the morning to target abundant black rockfish (10-fish daily limit), then pursue lingcod in deeper water locations. The northern coast off Neah Bay opens April 16 for lingcod.

Many local year-round lakes were planted with trout to provide early spring action.

King County lakes planted last Tuesday were: Green with 7,400 trout; Alice with 1,124; and Meridian with 10,000. Blackman’s in Snohomish County received 3,949 last week.

In Southwest Washington, Lake Sacajawea in Longview was planted with 3,583 trout averaging half-a-pound apiece; Battleground Lake got 1,500; and Lacamas Lake in Camas received 4,000.

Additional lakes will be planted later this month including Cranberry and Lone in Island County; Angle and Beaver in King County; Grandy in Skagit County; and Ballinger, Cassidy, Chain, Flowing, Ketchum, Loma, Martha, Panther, Shoecraft, Silver, Tye, Gissburg and Lost in Snohomish County. For updates, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/.

Salmon anglers are hooking into good options for hatchery-marked chinook in the San Juan Islands, northern Puget Sound (a 14-pounder was checked at the Everett ramp) and Strait of Juan de Fuca between Sekiu and Port Angeles.

“We hooked one (hatchery chinook) keeper at Double Bluff (on the south side of Whidbey Island), and I’d rate the fishing as fair,” said Pete Sergeef, a state Fish and Wildlife test fishery surveyor. “There has been a lot of debris in the water from all the river runoff spilling into the marine areas.”

Coastal razor clam digs are tentatively scheduled for March 26-27 at Twin Harbors; and March 28-29 at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks. Digging is allowed from noon to midnight only. Final approval should be known later next week.

The big dance hasn’t gotten under way yet for a much anticipated 308,000 spring chinook expected back to the Columbia River.

“We haven’t seen one spring chinook since the season opened, and it is off to a slow start,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, who said surveyors this past week checked 100 boats and more than 100 bank anglers with nothing.

“The water is pretty high (from heavy rain and snow) and turbid, and the flow at Bonneville Dam is 300,000 (cubic feet per second),” Hymer said. “There is also lots of debris in the water and not much visibility.”

The Wind River and Drano Lake open Sunday for hatchery spring chinook, but don’t expect much until fish counts at Bonneville ramp up.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine areasFair to good off Port Angeles at the humps and Winter Hole, but slow to fair at Point No Point; Pilot Point; Port Townsend; and Possession Bar. Slow for salmon in the Tacoma area, and fair in Hood Canal off Misery Point. Slow for hatchery chinook in Saratoga Pass, Greenbank, Camano Head, Hat Island, Elger Bay and Columbia Beach.
Biting: YesRating: 2 stars
Statewide riversRiver water levels are dropping back down to ideal fishable conditions, and expect a good shot of fresh steelhead in the Bogachiel, Calawah, Sol Duc, Hoh, Satsop, Washougal, Cowlitz and Wynoochee. Slow to fair for steelhead and spring chinook in the Cowlitz, and for steelhead in the Washougal. Fair for steelhead in The Dalles Pool of the Columbia, and fair to good in the Dalles and John Day pools for walleye.
Biting: YesRating: 2 stars
Statewide lakesFair to good for trout in Eastern Washington at Upper Caliche, Martha, Burke, Lenice and Merry. Decent fly-fishing options are Lenice, Nunnally and Dusty. The Tucannon River impoundments in Columbia County like Big Four, Blue, Deer, Rainbow, Spring and Watson were planted with trout. Rufus Woods Reservoir is fair for trout. Roosevelt is fair to good for trout. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout and kokanee. Slow to fair for cutthroat trout in Lake Washington around the I-90 Bridge and the south side of Mercer Island.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars

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



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