"Preseason testing showed results as good as we ever see around here," said state Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Mark O'Toole in the agency's La Conner office. "As good or better than last season, which was a very good one."
Test fishing was done using straight commercial pellet bait and a 24-hour "soak," O'Toole said. He noted that knowledgeable recreational shrimpers -- using better bait and moving their pots to productive areas -- probably would come up with better results. His tests included the Edmonds area (averaging about 6.75 pounds per pot per set), Brown's Bay (6.5) and Possession Bar (7.75).
Spot shrimp run about 12 to the pound, he said, and the recreational limit is 80 shrimp per person.
He said tribal shrimpers fished Marine Area 8-1 about three weeks ago, taking nearly their entire quota of 19,000 pounds in about six hours.
"That should have minimal impact on the sport fishery," O'Toole said. "Shrimp should have pretty well filled back in from surrounding areas in that length of time."
Hood Canal remains the state's most productive recreational shrimping area, he said, but other good spots include Iceberg Point, Sucia Island and the northwest end of Spieden Island in the San Juans, and "almost everywhere in Area 8-1." Toss a pot almost anywhere in our local waters -- Mukilteo, Hat Island, either side of Saratoga Passage, Port Susan -- for what should be top results, he said.
O'Toole said a good average depth to start would be 220 to 320 feet at most places and he would pull his gear every hour to make sure he was in a productive spot. If he was shrimp fishing personally, his bait would consist of mashed commercial pellets, canned mackerel, fish cat food and a dash of Alaska fish fertilizer, mixed to a consistency that bleeds about half its bulk in a one-hour soak.
Tom Pollack, an expert shrimper and regular contributor to The Reel News, said he's tried all kinds of traps. The best he's found include a design 30 inches by 12 inches tall, with four raised entrances and two bait cages; and an octagonal type, also 12 inches tall, and also with two places for bait. He uses lead to weight his traps to a total of about 40 pounds, and fishes with 300 feet of leaded line.
The recreational shrimp season locally, in Marine Areas 8, 9, 10 and 11, is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 5 and May 11. That avoids May 9, which would have traditionally been the Wednesday following a Saturday opener, because of an extremely low tide of minus 2.6 feet in the early afternoon and possible ramp problems.
Hood Canal is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 5, 11, 12 and 16, and Area 7, the San Juan Islands, opens at 7 a.m. on May 5, 11, 12, 17, 18 and 19.
Kids and Trout
The Lake Tye Kids' Fishing Day in Monroe Sunday drew another big and enthusiastic crowd, according to Gary Bee of the sponsoring Sky Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The first-prize winner was Hailey McDonald of Marysville, with her first-ever trout, a dandy at 7 pounds, 5 ounces. In second place was Kameron Vongnakhone of Snohomish, at 6 pounds, 8 ounces, and in third, Clayton Moulaison of Monroe at 5 pounds 8 ounces.
The adult derby was won by Paul Kujawa, with a rainbow of 7 pounds, 14 ounces, and James Davidson caught the tagged fish worth $500. Davidson came all the way from Republic to fish the event, Bee said.
This Saturday's free fish-in for young anglers is at Jennings Park in Marysville, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., ages 5-12. Food donations are being accepted for a local food bank. Call John's Sporting Goods in Everett for more information (425-259-3056).
The Tulalip "bubble" salmon fishery will not open Friday, the date hammered out during the "North of Falcon" process, but will be delayed until May 18 at the request of the Tulalip Tribes. State Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Pat Patillo said the two-week delay ensures tribal fishermen can meet their ceremonial and subsistence fishing needs.
"Even with the delay, the bubble will open to recreational salmon fishing two weeks earlier than in previous years," Patillo said.
Beginning May 18, the Tulalip Bay Terminal Area will be open Friday through noon Monday each week through Sept. 3, with the exception of June 9, when it will be closed. Bubble fishermen also may use two rods from June 10 through Sept. 23, with the purchase of the proper endorsement.
Holiday Sports in Burlington will host a comprehensive kokanee seminar at 10 a.m. on Saturday. The event features John Thomas of Rotten Chum Guide Service in Snohomish. Kevin John at Holiday said the clinic will be a good opportunity to learn the fishery prior to the upcoming Lake Stevens Kokanee Derby on May 19. Call the shop for information (360-757-4361).
Most of the lakes that produced well on Saturday's traditional trout opener should be good bets for this weekend. Following are the top lakes in the area, along with their fish-per-rod averages.
Snohomish County: Wagner Lake, 6.5 trout per person, caught and/or released; Lake Stickney, 6.3; Lake Serene, 6.2; Lake Howard, 4.5; Lake Riley, 4.4; Crabapple Lake, 4.3; Lake Bosworth, 3.9; Storm Lake, 3.4; Martha Lake (Alderwood Manor), 3.3 and Lake Ki, 2.8.
Skagit County: Lake Erie, 4.7; Heart Lake 4.1; Lake Sixteen, 4.0; and Lake McMurray, 3.9.
For more outdoor news, read Wayne Kruse's blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.
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