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Originally published Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 7:20 PM

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Winter chinook catch creates buzz from Sound to Strait

The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca off Port Angeles and the San Juan Islands are the other “go-to” places for winter hatchery chinook.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Winter marine salmon fishing is generating the most buzz among anglers who were finding good action from northern Puget Sound clear into the San Juan Islands and eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca.

“It has been productive for winter chinook in the triangle area I refer to that covers Point No Point, Double Bluff (on the south side of Whidbey Island) and Possession Bar,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters of Everett.

“Virtually all the fish are found hanging just off or on the bottom as shallow as 90 feet to as deep as 200 feet,” Krein said. “Possession has been better on the stronger tidal exchanges, and Point No Point is the place on the weaker tides.”

Checks last Saturday from local boat launches showed 22 boats with 49 anglers at Kingston bringing home 24 chinook; and 24 boats with 45 anglers at Everett keeping 22 fish.

Other good locations to target chinook are Pilot Point on the eastern shore of the Kitsap Peninsula; Mats Mats Bay; and Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend.

Pesky seals have remained a problem, literally snatching fish off fishermen’s lines for an easy meal.

The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca off Port Angeles and the San Juan Islands are the other “go-to” places for winter hatchery chinook.

Central Puget Sound remains open through Friday, and has been fair at Kingston, Edmonds oil dock-Richmond Beach area, Shilshole Bay, Jefferson Head, Allen Bank off Blake Island, Manchester and Southworth.

Northern Puget Sound is open through April 15. South-central Sound and Hood Canal reopen for salmon this Saturday, and Sekiu in the western Strait reopens Feb. 16.

The coastal razor clam digs started off on a high note.

“There was a very nice crowd (Tuesday) on Twin Harbors,” said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. “Our count showed just over 1,000 diggers, and our crew did not interview anyone who did not get their limit (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit).”

Digging is allowed Thursday, Friday and Sunday at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; and Saturday at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Mocrocks and Copalis. Digging is open from noon to midnight each day.

More digs are planned at the end of next month, plus additional dates expected later in spring and those will switch to morning low tides during daylight hours.

Lastly, the Columbia River hatchery spring chinook fisheries were finalized Wednesday by Washington and Oregon fishery managers.

The Lower Columbia River up to Bonneville Dam will be open March 1 to April 7, and closed for commercial fishing on March 25 and April 1. Anglers fishing above Bonneville Dam upstream to the Washington/Oregon border located about 17 miles above McNary Dam is open March 16 through May 9. The daily limit will be one hatchery chinook.

The Lower Columbia is currently open below the I-5 Bridge for hatchery spring chinook.

The sturgeon fishery in Bonneville Pool will begin this Saturday through Feb. 17 or until 300 to 350 fish are caught. Only white sturgeon measuring 38 to 54 inches may be retained.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine areasDismal for hatchery chinook in Saratoga Pass, Camano Head, Hat Island, Elger Bay and Columbia Beach. Slow to fair squid jigging at Edmonds, A-Dock at Shilshole Bay, Des Moines, Searcrest in West Seattle, and the downtown Seattle waterfront piers. Fair fly-fishing in southern and central Puget Sound for cutthroat and small resident coho.
Biting: YesRating: 1 stars
Statewide riversSlow to fair at best for winter steelhead fishing in Bogachiel, Calawah, Washougal, Hoh, Cowlitz, Sol Duc, Skykomish at Reiter Ponds, Snoqualmie and Tokul Creek. The Nooksack and North Fork Stillaguamish have reopened for steelhead, but the Cascade is closed until Feb. 1. A few walleye and sturgeon were caught in The Dalles Pool of the Columbia. Slow for steelhead in the Columbia’s Hanford Reach area.
Biting: YesRating: 1 stars
Statewide lakesRufus Woods Reservoir received a nice plant of big rainbow trout up to 7 pounds to boost success for both bank and boat anglers. Battleground Lake, Klineline Pond and Lake Sacajawea were all planted with thousands of trout earlier this month. Fair lake options closer to the Puget Sound region are Green in North Seattle; Lone on Whidbey Island; Flowing, Blackman’s and Goodwin in Snohomish County; and American in Pierce County. Fair for cutthroat in Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. Lake Roosevelt is good for trout. Lake Chelan is good for lake trout.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars

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



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