"Tod succumbed to cancer a month ago, and I'll bet more than half the boats out there will be participating in this commemoration," said last year's derby winner, Ryan Hansen. "Tod was a really great guy, always ready and willing to help anyone with fishing tips and a kind smile."
Good competition, top fishing, and on-water camaraderie would indeed be a fitting tribute, and Greg Rockenbach said the fourth annual derby is shaping up to be just that.
"Fishing really came on just after the first of the month," Rockenbach, one of the derby organizers and owner of Greg's Custom Rods in Lake Stevens, said. "And while limits have still been a little hard to come by, the fish seem to be a little larger than usual. We're seeing good numbers of nice 16-inchers, and I suspect the winning kokanee will be better than last year's 1.43-pounder."
Tickets are $20 for adults; free for kids 14 and under, and available at Greg's, Three Rivers Marine, John's Sporting Goods, Ted's Sports Center, Holiday Sports and Triangle Bait & Tackle.
Largest kokanee wins $1,000; second, $500; third, $250; and fourth, $100. Largest trout will win $500, as will largest kokanee limit of up to 10 fish. Kids prizes are $100 for largest kokanee, $75 for largest of any legal species in the lake (second place); and third, $50 for any species.
Rockenbach said 25 feet is about the deepest anyone has been successfully fishing recently, with most either flatlining with a crescent sinker or leaded line, or setting downriggers to 10 or 15 feet.
The most common rigs start with a 4-inch Dick Nite dodger in either "Wonderbread" -- a polka dot pattern -- or the purple hot tail, Rockenbach said. A short leader is next, at 10 to 12 inches, then a Wedding Ring spinner in pink or green/chartreuse. A double hook tie is superior to a single, Rockenbach said, in size 4 or 6. He said that John Thomas, of Rotten Chum Guide Service, has been successful recently using Gamakatsu glow pink hooks.
The majority of fishermen then tip a hook or hooks with white shoepeg corn, and most have not been adding scent to the bait. Some are dying the corn kernels red or pink, but Rockenbach said as far as he could tell, plain corn out of the can works about as well.
The south side of the aerator produced well over the weekend, while the purple pennant area was only so-so.
Rockenbach said the county park gate, on the west side of the lake, will open early on derby morning, but that parking there is limited. He said there will be plenty of parking available around the Lake Stevens ramp, and that there will be volunteers directing traffic from about 4 to 6 a.m.
Last year's event drew an estimated 300 participants, counting kids, Rockenbach said, and about 125 boats. "But we haven't really had any significant launch or parking problems," he said.
For full derby rules and last year's results, go to http://www.gregscustomrods.com/about/lake-stevens-kokanee-derby, or call Greg at 425-335-1391 for parking or fishing tips.
The tentative data is in for the first day of the recreational shrimp season in Puget Sound and different areas won opening day bragging rights, depending on what was measured. Hood Canal, to no one's surprise, drew the largest crowd -- an estimated 1,722 boats -- and reported the highest total catch at 31,000 pounds of spot shrimp for the day. Second, however, went to our local waters, marine areas 8-1/8-2, at 9,457 pounds total for 510 boats
Shrimpers in Elliott Bay came up with the best per-boat average, at 18.9 pounds of shrimp. In second place, again, was Marine Aea 8-1 and 8-2 at 18.6 pounds average per boat.
The largest shrimp, at 10.2 per pound, were found in Elliott Bay, followed by the southern San Juan Islands (Iceberg Point/Salmon Bank) at 11.5 per pound.
State Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Mark O'Toole in the agency's La Conner office, said the average recreational boat fishes 3.5 pots (4 is the maximum) and carries 3.3 fishers on board.
Fair to good lingcod fishing continues in most western Washington saltwater areas. The San Juan Islands and the western Strait of Juan de Fuca have produced best, as is usually the case. WDFW checks in the islands last week showed 31 anglers in 11 boats with 20 lings and 1 cabezon. On Sunday, 82 fishermen in 30 boats at the Washington Park ramp in Anacortes had 19 lings and 2 cabezon. At Olson's Resort in Sekiu on Saturday, 36 anglers in 14 boats had 21 lings.
More locally, checkers at the Port of Everett ramp on Saturday tallied 69 fishermen with 16 lings.
The 2013 Spring Walleye Classic on Potholes Reservoir drew 58 boats -- 9 fewer than last year -- and weighed 295 fish with an average weight of 2.34 pounds. That was 36 more walleye than were entered in 2012, according to MarDon Resort owner Mike Meseberg, and they weighed close to a pound more than the average weight last year.
The Spokane team of Don Graham and Brett McKern won the event with a total two-day weight of 30.74 pounds. Total payout for the tourney was $16,200.
For more outdoors news, read Wayne Kruse's blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.
Honor the military
Cabela's Tulalip store will celebrate Armed Forces Day Saturday with special events to honor veterans and active service members from all branches of the U.S. military.
Famous Dave's of Everett will be at Cabela's to host a rib barbeque from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to benefit local Wounded Warrior programs. A flag-raising ceremony and presentation by the Boy Scouts of America will take place at 10 a.m. at the flag poles.
Free activities and events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. will include:portraits for active and retired military families, flag folding demonstrations by the VFW, U.S. Army recruiters, Submarine Veterans float display, Daisy BB gun shooting range, free vessel safety checks by Everett Power and Sail and much more.
The Arlington VFW Post 1561 will collect weathered and distressed U.S. flags for proper retirement in accordance with code.
While there, take in free demonstrations on salmon fishing in Washington, sleeping bags, pack fitting, knife sharpening, and boating safet.
For a complete schedule of Armed Forces Appreciation events, call 360-474-4880.
The early north coast clipped-fin chinook fishery got off to a fair start on May 10-11, according to WDFW coastal sampling coordinator Wendy Beeghley. The two-day tally at La Push was 143 anglers with 4 kings, but much better at Neah Bay, where 629 anglers boated 72 fish.
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