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Hunting and Fishing
April 28  |  By Wayne Kruse
Saturday's statewide opening of the lowland lake trout fishing season is in the books and it was one of the best in several years. But not all the fish were caught on Saturday, and this weekend could be just as productive as the opener.

It's difficult to say where the top action will be, but a longtime rule of thumb says "go to one of the lakes that was hot on opening day." That strategy doesn't always work, because conditions change and some of the smaller...

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April 22  |  By Wayne Kruse
The size limit on trout in Baker Lake has been temporarily changed to 10 inches, effective April 23 through June 30.

The move is part of a study to evaluate the collection efficiency of the new juvenile fish collection system on the lake. Fish up to 10 inches in length, with tags, have been released into the lake and the regulation change is designed to protect the study fish.



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April 21  |  By Wayne Kruse
Starting off this year's list of special fishing days for kids is the big annual event at Lake Tye, sponsored by the Sky Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited. The lake is on the west side of Monroe, adjacent to Fryelands Boulevard. The fish-in is scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. The event, for youngsters ages 12 and under, is free.

Organizer Gary Bee said there will be lots of fun prizes, and that the club has purchased $5,000 worth of trout, so there should be...

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April 14  |  By Wayne Kruse
With recent temperatures over 80 degrees and warming water, now's the time to chase heavyweight smallmouth bass on Grant County's Potholes Reservoir. Carolyn Burdick at the MarDon Resort tackle shop on the reservoir said a fisherman practicing for a tournament early this month caught and released a smallmouth that weighed 7 pounds, 2 ounces. The angler was fishing off Goose Island. That's a big smallie, within spitting distance of the state record of 8.75 pounds caught in April of...

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April 8  |  By Wayne Kruse
Cabela’s Tulalip presents its Fishing Classic from April 14 to 24, with seminars, guest appearances, product demonstrations, special deals on fishing gear and more.



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April 7  |  
The next series of razor clam digs corresponds with the Long Beach Razor Clam Festival, scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. The event combines fun doin’s with two very good minus tides. There will be free lessons on how to dig razor clams, starting at 7 a.m. Saturday, and 7:45 a.m. Sunday. Registration is required, and you must supply your own container and shovel or gun, and have a valid shellfish license. Register at

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March 31  |  By Wayne Kruse
Anglers tired of waiting for the statewide general trout opener on April 23 might try one of the following Snohomish County year-around lakes that already have been planted by the state Department of Fish and Wildlife:



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March 17  |  By Wayne Kruse
There may still be time to enlist two or three fishing buddies to fill out a boat for Saturday's annual Everett Blackmouth Derby, which will be held in Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9. The only problem may be finding a ticket. As of Monday, reports had it that only Greg's Custom Rods in Lake Stevens and Ed's Surplus in Lynnwood had tickets. If you can find one, it can be yours for a measly $100.

Granted, our local saltchuck does not seem to be teeming with hungry 20-pound...

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March 3  |  By Wayne Kruse
Razor clam diggers will hit the coast at Roosevelt Beach, Pacific Beach and Moclips (collectively called "Mocrocks") this weekend for just the second dig at the popular area since last spring. Mocrocks Beach runs from the Copalis River north to the Quinault Reservation boundary, and will be open Saturday through Tuesday.

The first dig at Mocrocks in 2016 was Feb. 19, 20 and 21, and was "outstanding," according to state biologist Dan Ayres in...

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February 26  |  By Wayne Kruse
Deer and elk hunters have until March 31 to enter their names in the drawing for 2016 multiple-season tags that can greatly increase the opportunity for success in the field. The state Department of Fish and Wildlife will hold the drawings in mid-April for 8,500 deer tags and 1,000 elk tags.



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February 25  |  By Wayne Kruse
The latest word from Eastern Washington is that Lake Roosevelt is putting out some of the best kokanee fishing anglers there have seen in some time. And even better, the fish are among the largest kokes in the state.

"I've seen them to 19 inches and heard of fish to 22 inches," said Jeff Korth, the fish program manager at the Department of Fish and Wildlife's Ephrata office.

The action currently is centered around Keller's Ferry, some 20 miles...

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February 19  |  By Wayne Kruse
The 2016 Seattle Boat Show wrapped up Feb. 6 with an increase in attendance of 1.4 percent over last year. The nine-day event drew visitors from 37 states, three Canadian provinces, one Canadian territory and from as far away as Australia, Great Britain and China. Attendance was 52,427 compared to 51,684 last year.



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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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