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Hunting and Fishing
February 5  |  By Wayne Kruse
Hunters may now purchase an application for a 2016 spring black bear permit, applicable to specific areas of Western and Eastern Washington.



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January 29  |  By Wayne Kruse
Preliminary tests indicate bacteria found in an abnormal hoof taken from an elk killed in a vehicle collision in Skagit County east of Sedro-Woolley may be the same strain found in diseased elk in southwest Washington. The elk was from the North Cascades herd, also known as the "Nooksack" herd, which includes about 1,000 animals centered in Skagit and Whatcom counties.



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January 28  |  By Wayne Kruse
The 2016 Washington Sportsmen’s Show opened its doors Wednesday and runs through Sunday at the State Fair Events Center in Puyallup. The annual event, the largest of its kind to visit the state, is a family-friendly showcase of outdoor adventure, education and the latest gear and technology — fishing and hunting, clothing, camping, sport-fishing boats, rec vehicles and more. If you’re planning a trip in 2016, top professional guides, outfitters and resort owners...

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January 21  |  
Just two weekends left to take advantage of free guided walks on the upper Skagit River to see arguably the largest concentration of bald eagles in the country, outside of Alaska. The feast offered by spawned-out salmon carcasses along the river draws dozens of the big birds during the winter from their summer habitat in Canada and Alaska, but they won’t be here much longer.

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January 8  |  By Wayne Kruse
State steelhead creel checks on Forks-area rivers Jan. 1-3 showed the following:

-- Bogachiel, 109 bank and 36 boat anglers with 37 hatchery fish kept and one wild fish released. The best check was Dec. 28-31, when 159 had 91 fish.

-- Calawah, 31 bank anglers with 10 hatchery fish. Best, Dec. 21-24, 13 with 19 fish.



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January 7  |  By Wayne Kruse
With heavy snow pushing and alfalfa hay pulling, hundreds of elk and big-horn sheep are coming down from the high country to dine at the Oak Creek Wildlife Area and other Department of Fish and Wildlife winter feeding operations on the east slope of the Cascades.

"Storms are moving the animals down a lot earlier than last year," wildlife area manager Ross Huffman said. "People, including whole families, come back year after year to see our winter...

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December 31  |  By Wayne Kruse
A fair number of folks from this area like to schedule at least one winter fishing trip a year to the Lake Roosevelt/Banks Lake complex. They are drawn by fat, prime, cold-water rainbows and arguably the largest kokanee in the state.



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December 24  |  By Wayne Kruse
The first razor clam dig of the season has been approved by the state Department of Health. Marine toxin levels are low enough to be safe for human consumption and will allow the opening of Copalis Beach from now through Saturday. The beach runs from the Grays Harbor north jetty at Ocean Shores, north about nine miles to the mouth of the Copalis River, just north of the town of Copalis Beach. All other coastal beaches remain closed to digging.

State Fish and Wildlife...

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December 23  |  By Wayne Kruse
Public access will continue to be disrupted weekdays through the end of the year at the Skagit Wildlife Area Headquarters Unit on Fir Island. Work is running late on tide gate and culvert work along Wiley Slough, according to area manager Belinda Rotton. The trail along the dike and the small boat launch for the marsh area will be closed weekdays through Dec. 31, but open Saturdays, Sundays, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.

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December 17  |  By Wayne Kruse
There's not enough snow yet to push elk down to the winter feeding station and popular viewing area at the state Department of Fish and Wildlife's Oak Creek Wildlife Area, located 15 miles northwest of Yakima. When and if the animals show up, the wildlife area's recorded message at 509-653-2390 will be updated.

Meanwhile, tens of thousands of migratory ducks and geese are pausing in the Columbia Basin to refuel, and the sight is awesome. One of the better viewing areas...

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December 17  |  By Wayne Kruse
Tokul Creek opened Dec. 17 through Feb. 15, for all game fish, including steelhead, from the Fish Hatchery Road bridge upstream to the posted boundary marker below the hatchery intake. Normally closed for winter steelhead broodstock collection until Jan. 14, hatchery staff have met their egg take goals early and state biologists have decided fishing opportunities can be expanded. Tokul Creek remains open from the mouth to the downstream edge of the Fish Hatchery Road bridge as...

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December 11  |  By Wayne Kruse
On Dec. 3, biologists released seven fishers into the south Cascades, where the reclusive, cat-sized mammal hasn’t been seen for more than 70 years. The fisher is a member of the weasel family, which includes otters, badgers and wolverines. The animal was eliminated from Washington by the mid-1900s through over-trapping, and has been listed as an state endangered species since 1998.



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December 10  |  By Wayne Kruse
It's wet and windy, there are few steelhead around, the blackmouth fishing is slow and there's lots of Christmas stuff to do. This is looking a lot like an indoor weekend.

Football will take care of a lot of it, but Cabela's Tulalip store helps out by offering an attractive alternative on Saturday. There will be entertainment, activities and hundreds of giveaway items at the store from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The first 250 customers 18 and older will be eligible to...

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December 4  |  By Wayne Kruse
Cowlitz tribal ecologist Nathan Reynolds reported that a test net set in the Cowlitz River on Nov. 23 turned up eight male and one female eulachon (smelt). Another procedure, called a "plankton tow," found eulachon eggs, some fairly well developed.



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December 3  |  By Wayne Kruse
Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2 (Deception Pass south to Possession Point) are probably not going to be a bonanza for blackmouth anglers this winter, but there are some legal hatchery chinook out there for those willing to brave the weather and put in their time on the water. One of the better spots traditionally is Elger Bay, just south of the Camano State Park ramp.

The bay is not only good blackmouth water, but also is just a short run to the ramp if winter weather kicks...

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November 26  |  By Wayne Kruse
Anton Jones of Darrell & Dad’s Family Guide Service in Chelan said the winter months are a good time to put a limit of Mackinaw from Lake Chelan on the table.



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November 26  |  By Wayne Kruse
The Roche Harbor Salmon Classic is now officially sold out, according to coordinator Debbie Sandwith at the Roche Harbor Market. Registered anglers have until Jan. 1 to cancel and receive a full refund, and Sandwith has started a waiting list.

"We almost always have a few cancellations," she said.



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November 25  |  By Wayne Kruse
Well, the state Department of Fish and Wildlife may not be able to open Possession Bar to winter chinook fishing until mid-January. And it may have closed the Methow River to steelhead fishing and the coastal beaches to razor clam digging. But, hey, you may be able to find a squid or two at the Edmonds pier.



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November 12  |  By Wayne Kruse
The dogs are barking on Hood Canal and it's time to tangle with a couple of these tough, snaggle-toothed brawlers while they're still relatively fresh. The chum/"dog" salmon return to the Hoodsport Hatchery has been updated to 560,000 fish — considered a very strong number — and the bulk of the run will be staging just off the mouth of the hatchery creek.

Anglers fish from both sides of the creek, the shoreline north of the creek, and from boats...

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November 6  |  By Wayne Kruse
Don’t forget that two local lakes received plants of good-sized rainbow trout last week, and will get hit with another plant either this week or next. North Gissberg Pond (Smokey Point; juveniles only) got 1,000 fish last week and is due for 500 more. South Gissberg (Smokey Point) got 2,000 last week and is due for 1,000 more. Additionally, Lake Tye (Monroe), was stocked once, last week, with 4,000 trout.

 



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November 5  |  By Wayne Kruse
Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood, has been in business there for 35 years, and he says "this is one of the best squid years I've seen in that entire time."

Recreational squidding has been very good from Edmonds all the way to Tacoma, on the Kitsap Peninsula, and in a lot of other places. The Edmonds fishing pier is our local hot spot, and Chamberlain said it's been "exceptionally good." There are so many squid in the area,...

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October 23  |  By Wayne Kruse
The number of anglers fishing fall chinook on the Hanford Reach declined a bit last week as hunting seasons kicked in, but fishing got even better.

Anglers last week averaged 2.9 chinook per boat, 5.4 angler hours per fish, slightly better than the week before.



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October 22  |  By Wayne Kruse
The possibility of a record fall chinook run on the Columbia has prompted salmon managers to increase the recreational limit to three adult kings per day, release coho, from Priest Rapids Dam to Chief Joseph Dam.

 



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October 22  |  By Wayne Kruse
Now that pheasant and waterfowl seasons have opened, the Potholes Reservoir area in Grant County offers some of the best cast-and-blast action in the state. An afternoon fishing trip, according to MarDon Resort owner Mike Meseberg, could turn up bass, lots of walleye, and some nice crappie, up to the huge 151⁄2-inch fish boated last week. Top-water lures make an exciting way to tempt largemouth back in the dunes, where a rise of 5 feet in the water level has opened up a lot of...

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October 15  |  By Wayne Kruse
Fish Lake, located a mile northeast of Lake Wenatchee, is a popular year-around destination for trout and perch and, to a lesser degree, smallmouth and largemouth bass. The lake holds rainbow, brown and brook trout; large perch, which become a target of ice fishermen during the winter months, and smaller populations of smallmouth and largemouth bass. It's a scenic area, and particularly appealing in the fall, when big browns go into spawning mode and become more aggressive and...

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October 14  |  By Wayne Kruse
The two most popular hunting seasons of the year, deer and waterfowl, open Oct. 17 with good predictions based on successive mild winters and this year’s dry spring. The state Fish and Wildlife Department has created a hunting prospects webpage.



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October 1  |  By Wayne Kruse
There's only a week or so left in the Lake Stevens kokanee season before the fish swing into full spawning mode, according to Greg Rockenbach at Greg's Custom Rods & Tackle in Lake Stevens. A fisherman last week checked in with a limit, and only one fish was colored, Rockenbach said. Cooler temperatures have brought the fish up to the 35- to 45-foot range.

Kokanee are running a little smaller than the past couple years, averaging maybe 14 inches, but nice, fat fish.

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September 30  |  By Wayne Kruse
A strong El Nino situation is apparently developing in the Pacific Ocean this year, warming water along our western shoreline from Alaska to Mexico.



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September 24  |  By Wayne Kruse
Now through about the middle of October is prime time to chase those big fall chinook on the Hanford Reach portion of the middle Columbia River, and a run of 250,000 fish or better this year means a lot of opportunity. State biologist Paul Hoffarth said the run is well above average and that 40 to 50 percent of the fish this season will be 4- and 5-year-olds to 30 pounds or better.

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September 10  |  By Wayne Kruse
One of the best things about the annual Edmonds Coho Derby is that the fish are usually waiting at the back door. Many of the derby entries, including, often, the $5,000 first-place coho, are caught right out in front of Edmonds, or just up the shoreline at the "shipwreck."

Saturday's 2015 edition of the event probably will follow the pattern, said All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein of Everett.

"Stay out toward the shipping lanes, be...

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