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Originally published February 5, 2014 at 5:21 PM | Page modified February 5, 2014 at 6:35 PM

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Puget Sound fishing is worthwhile, if you can stand the cold

Winter salmon best in northern Sound, San Juans


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Winter still holds a chilling grip on fishing activities around the state, but those willing to break out some warm clothing can find worthwhile action.

In the Puget Sound area, fishing has been fair to good at Point No Point, Pilot Point, Double Bluff on the south side of Whidbey Island, Port Townsend, Mats Mats Bay and Possession Bar.

The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca off Port Angeles at Winter Hole and the “humps” — an unexposed bank just west of the harbor — and the San Juan Islands are decent places for winter hatchery chinook.

The northern Puget Sound hatchery chinook fishery is open through April 15. South-central Sound and Hood Canal have also reopened for salmon, and Sekiu in the western Strait reopens Feb. 16. Central Puget Sound is now closed.

Down south, the first spring chinook was reportedly caught Tuesday in a side channel of the Lower Columbia River on the Oregon side near St. Helens. The Lower Columbia below the I-5 Bridge is currently open for salmon fishing with some anglers seeking out early spring chinook, especially on the Oregon shoreline.

Smelt catching on Cowlitz

For the first time in four years, state Fish and Wildlife will allow sport dip-netters a chance to catch smelt on the Cowlitz River beginning this Saturday.

Dip-netting will be allowed along the Cowlitz shoreline only every Saturday from 6 a.m. to noon through March 1.

The daily limit will be 10 pounds per person. State fishery managers expect a sport catch of about 1,500 pounds to a high of 39,900 pounds.

A commercial fishing season is also being considered, and the Yakama Tribe is planning a smelt fishery.

Freshwater sampling of juvenile smelt production for 2014 is averaging 43 percent better than the similar time frame last year.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine areasThe next coastal razor clam digs are Feb. 26-28 at Twin Harbors and Feb. 27-28 at Long Beach and Mocrocks, plus a few more days might be tacked on in early March. State Fish and Wildlife is expected to make an announcement of specific dates very soon. A few smelt caught at the Cornet Bay pier on Whidbey Island. Sporadic for squid jigging off the Seattle waterfront piers, Seacrest Pier in West Seattle, A-Dock at Shil­shole Bay Marina, Des Moines and Edmonds Pier. Slow to fair fly-fishing in southern and central Puget Sound for cutthroat and coho.
Biting: YesRating: 2 stars
Statewide riversVirtually all local rivers are closed for steelhead, and anglers should check the regulation on what remains open. Slow to fair for winter steelhead fishing in the Bogachiel, Calawah, Hoh, Sol Duc, Wynoochee and Satsop. Spotty for steelhead on Skykomish at Reiter Ponds, North Fork Stillaguamish and Tokul Creek. Light effort and just a few steelhead caught in the Cowlitz near the Trout Hatchery. A few steelhead caught in the Washougal, but most were wild fish being released. Bank and boat anglers in The Dalles Pool of the Columbia were catching some steelhead, though two-thirds of the fish were wild and had to be released.
Biting: MaybeRating: 1 stars
Statewide lakesRufus Woods Reservoir remains a good bet for big rainbow trout up to 7 pounds. Battleground Lake was planted with 1,250 trout and got 1,000 trout on Jan. 27. Closer to the Puget Sound region try for trout in Green Lake in North Seattle, Kitsap in Kitsap County, Spencer in Mason County, Leland in Jefferson County, and Flowing, Blackman’s and Goodwin in Snohomish County. Slow to fair for cutthroat in Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. Lake Roosevelt is good for trout. With this deep freeze, expect more Eastern Washington lakes and ponds to ice over, and a good bet should be in the Lind Coulee area.
Biting: YesRating: 2 stars

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



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