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Area 9 blackmouth season opens Sunday

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By Wayne Kruse
Special to The Herald
Popular Possession Bar and the rest of Marine Area 9 opens to winter blackmouth fishing Sunday, and the success rate for opening week could swing either way.
On the one hand, fishing this winter in Area 8, to the north, has been poor to dismal, and action to the south, in Area 10, had been nothing to sing and dance about, either.
So, write this off as a bum winter season in local waters and forget about Possession?
Not necessarily. All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein of Everett said the north portion of Area 10 came on to a degree early this month, giving hope that Area 9 might be holding some fish.
“We had two trips before Christmas, then one on the 30th and another (Jan. 4),” Krein said, “and we caught nice keeper fish on all four trips. It wasn’t hot, but at least decent, and those blackmouth had to have come down from the north. So we’re hoping the bar or one of the other spots is holding a few.”
The action picked up, Krein said, at Kingston, Jefferson Head and President’s Point, which could make “the triangle” of Possession Bar, Double Bluff and Point No Point a reasonable bet for a winter fishing trip next week.
Krein said his choice would be Possession, the west side on an incoming tide and the east side on the ebb, working close to the bottom in 100 to 150 feet of water. He recommends Kingfisher Lite spoons in “cookies and cream,” or “Irish cream,” and in a larger size to discourage the shakers.
If you’re marking a lot of bait, plugs can also be a good bet, Krein said.
He said he would be helping to introduce a new line of Silver Horde/Gold Star Kingfisher Lite spoons during a series of seminars he’ll be giving at the upcoming Seattle Boat Show, Jan. 21-30. He’s been experimenting with the new lures, he said, and they seem to be fish-catchers.
Krein also had an interesting story — “Something I’ve never seen before in all my years on the water,” he said.
Fishing off President’s Point on Dec. 30, he had a gull swoop down and pick up a herring bait as it was being let out behind the boat. That has happened to nearly everyone who has fished salmon in the Sound for any period of time, and the bird usually drops the bait and flies off.
Not this time.
The gull hit the end of the line and hooked himself, then began struggling. That looked like lunch to a nearby eagle, which came in and hit the gull in mid-air. There was a humongous squawk and flurry, Krein said, and both birds hit the water. They flew again, tangled again, and hit the water again.
It was a real circus for a while, Krein said, until he and his party were able to bring the gull to the boat, unhook it, and watch it fly off.
“That was something to see,” he said. “I’ve seen eagles try for gulls on the beach or on the water, but never in the air like that.”
The San Juan Islands continue to be the hot spot for top blackmouth fishing, according to Anthon Steen at Holiday Sports in Burlington, for fish averaging 9 to 12 pounds or so. He said he’s hearing that this is developing into a better-than-average winter season and that top bets, as they have been all season, are Eagle Bluff, Tide Point, and Fidalgo Head. Fishermen are pulling Coho Killer or Kingfisher Lite spoons in green patterns, behind a flasher, he said.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife checks at the Washington Park ramp in Anacortes on Saturday tallied 29 anglers with 14 chinook. Over at the Kingston ramp on Saturday, it was four anglers with three chinook.
The 2011 Roche Harbor Salmon Classic has sold out, but coordinator Debbie Sandwith at the Roche Harbor Market said she encourages anyone still interested to call 360-378-5562 and put their name on the waiting list. Participants have until Saturday to cancel, she said, and in past years the derby has normally had two to four cancellations.
Always observe the standard precautions to make sure you have at least four inches of clear, hard ice under your feet, but now is probably the best opportunity so far this winter to try a little ice fishing. Besides Fish Lake (see Pick of the Week), there are a number of other eastside waters that often provide decent fishing during one of our colder winters.
Long Lake, below Potholes Reservoir in Grant County, is a top perch producer and is probably being fished right now.
Roses Lake, near Manson and Lake Chelan, is heavily planted and putting out rainbows in the 10- to 12-inch range for those fishing bait just off the bottom. Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service said Pautzke’s Fire Corn has been a popular bait.
Possibilities in the Okanogan for winter trout, according to state biologist Bob Jateff of Twisp, include Davis Lake in the Winthrop area, Big and Little Green lakes in the Omak area, and Rat Lake near Brewster. Perch aficionados might try Patterson Lake near Winthrop, with a good population of 6- to 10-inch yellow perch and a few kokanee and rainbows.
Others in Okanogan County might include Sidley, east of Oroville (rainbow), and Bonaparte, east of Tonasket, with brook trout and kokanee.
Jateff added that the Methow River is good now for whitefish, easily caught on flies.
The next razor clam dig on the coastal beaches has been set for later this month, subject to approval by state health authorities. Tides and open beaches will be as follows: Jan. 20, minus 1.3 feet at 6:59 p.m. on Long Beach and Twin Harbors; Jan. 21, minus 1.1 feet at 7:38 p.m. on Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch; and Jan. 22, minus 0.6 feet at 8:19 p.m. on Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch.
Another tentative dig has been set for Feb. 17, 18 and 19.
Read Wayne Kruse’s blog at
Story tags » FishingHunting

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