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Originally published Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 7:23 PM

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Fishing opportunities are popping up everywhere

The Lower Columbia River spring chinook fishery reopens Friday and Saturday, and should produce decent catches.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Fishing opportunities are blooming faster than the pollen count.

The Lower Columbia River spring chinook fishery reopens Friday and Saturday, and should produce decent catches.

“The single-day count (Tuesday) was 5,201, and there could be another small peak coming soon,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “There are more fish present now in the lower river, than when it was last open (on April 19), and fishing should be good in some spots.”

As of Tuesday, 124,959 upriver spring chinook had been counted at Bonneville, and the updated inseason minimum run-size is 185,000 (preseason forecast was 227,100).

The only downside is the water flow below Bonneville Dam is up to a swift 300,000 cubic feet per second. The daily limit will be one hatchery-marked spring chinook.

Washington and Oregon fisheries managers will meet Tuesday to determine whether to allow any additional days of fishing.

Spring chinook fishing is also open above Bonneville Dam in the Columbia mainstem on a stretch of 159 miles through Friday. Catches have been good between Bonneville and McNary dams.

Fishing in many Puget Sound region lakes finally improved for kokanee, which are a landlocked salmon and known for their tasty red-fleshed meat.

“The kokanee fishing is pretty good at Lake Stevens (in Snohomish County) with some catching limits (10 kokanee daily),” said Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood.

The Lake Stevens Kokanee Derby is May 17 and hosted by the Lake Stevens Lions Club & Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club. First place is $1,000. Details: 425-335-1391.

In Pierce County, American Lake has been fairly decent for kokanee, and fair at Meridian, Summit, Merwin, Roesiger, Cavanaugh Samish and Whatcom.

State Fish and Wildlife has announced more spring time digging opportunities during morning low tides only.

Twin Harbors will be open Tuesday through May 20; Long Beach will be open Wednesday through May 18; Copalis will be open May 16-18; and Mocrocks will be open May 17-18. More digs are also planned May 27-June 1, and will be finalized once marine toxin testing is approved usually about a week before the first digging date.

A total of 28,406 diggers turned out April 27 to May 4 and harvested 388,766 clams. At Long Beach diggers averaged 13.7 clams (the first 15 clams dug is a daily limit); Twin Harbors, 14.3; and Mocrocks, 12.7.

The spot shrimp opener last Saturday and Wednesday produced some fairly good success. The Hood Canal area is open Saturday and May 21 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Discovery Bay is open Saturday and May 21 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and south-central Puget Sound is open Saturday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Neah Bay, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca and southern Puget Sound are open daily for spot shrimp, and will close when the quota is achieved or Sept. 15, whichever comes first. The exception is South Sound, which closes May 31.

The San Juan Islands East, South and West areas are open through May 10, May 21-24 and May 28-31. In the West area only, fishing will be open daily beginning June 1 until the quota is reached or Sept. 15, whichever comes first.

The east side of Whidbey Island, and northern and central Puget Sound are closed. For more information, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine areasFair to good for halibut off Ilwaco, and open Thursday to Sunday only. Good for halibut off Westport, and open Sunday and Tuesday only. La Push and Neah Bay open May 15 for halibut. Sekiu opens for halibut May 22-25, May 29-31 and June 7. The eastern Strait, San Juan Islands, east side of Whidbey Island and northern and central Puget Sound will open for halibut May 9-10, May 17, May 22-25, May 29-31 and June 7 only. Most marine areas are closed for salmon except southern Puget Sound, which is open for hatchery chinook. The Edmonds Pier is open for salmon. Excellent for lingcod and black rockfish at Westport, La Push, Neah Bay and Ilwaco.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide riversFair for spring chinook at Drano Lake at Little White Salmon River mouth (Drano is closed every Wednesday through June) with one kept per every 4.4 rods, and Wind River for one in every 3.6. Bank anglers in Klickitat from Fisher Hill Bridge downstream (open Monday, Wednesday and weekends) averaged one spring chinook kept per every three anglers. Good for more spring chinook and steelhead in the Cowlitz. Fair for steelhead and spring chinook in the Kalama, but slow in the Lewis. Good for walleye in The Dalles and John Day pools. Fair in Sol Duc for spring chinook.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide lakesGood trout action at Margaret, Deer, Langlois, North, Steel, Cottage, Geneva, Pine, Hicks, Rapjohn, Aberdeen, Mineral, Padden, Cain, Sixteen, Wilderness, Riley, Walker and Storm. In Eastern Washington, target trout at Fishtrap, Williams, West Medical, Rocky, Starvation, Ellen, Diamond, Warden, and Conconully Lake and Reservoir. Fair to good at Potholes Reservoir for walleye, bass and trout. Lake Chelan is decent for lake trout and kokanee. Slow to fair for cutthroat trout in Lake Washington. Bitter was planted with 1,750 trout, Dolloff, 1,500, and Haller in King County, 1,275 on April 28; Black, 5,000, Long, 7,905, Summit, 12,970 on April 29, McIntosh, 2,240 on April 28 and Clear in Thurston, 6,650 on April 29; Clear in Pierce, 5,700 on April 28; Grandy in Skagit, 500 on April 29; Tye in Snohomish, 2,494 on April 30; and Sacajawea in Cowlitz, 3,417 on April 30.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars

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



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