By Wayne Kruse Herald Writer
Snow, hail, wind and temperatures in the 30s discourage some folks from breaking their trout gear out of the closet this time of year.
Actually, it discourages almost everybody, and that’s why a big plant of big trout in Blackmans Lake two weeks ago has generated only modest response from the sport-fishing public.
The Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club plants Blackmans — on the north side of the city of Snohomish — each year with proceeds from its co-sponsorship of the Everett Coho Derby, usually stocking 300 or 400 pen-raised rainbows at a time. This was a much larger plant than usual, according to club spokesman Mark Spada.
“We put in over 1,000 fish this time,” Spada said. “Most were in the 11/2- to 2-pound range, but maybe 100 or so were big triploids going 3 to 8 pounds.”
A few days of warmer weather could prod the trout into a more active feeding mode and attract a lot more folks to the close-to-home fishery, Spada said.
“If we get a break in the weather, there could be some hot fishing available on Blackmans,” he said. “I can see it being the best we’ve had there in years.”
Another plant has been scheduled for Blackmans in the next couple of weeks, Spada said.
The planted rainbows likely will be avoiding the deeper, colder water levels in the lake, so anglers may want to concentrate on shallower water around the edges, which tends to warm earlier. A majority of fishermen rig with a slip-sinker setup and floating bait, while trollers stay shallow — no deeper than a couple of feet — with small spoons such as the Dick Nite, or a dark fly on monofilament and a split shot or two. A gang troll with worm or other bait is not a particularly aesthetic way to go, but it can certainly be productive.
The old dock on the lake’s south shore, near the state Fish and Wildlife Department launch area, was pulled last year for safety reasons and hasn’t been replaced. City of Snohomish Parks manager Mike Johnson said the shop has a replacement nearly made up, but it probably won’t be installed until at least early May.
There are two other fishing docks on Blackmans, one with wheelchair access.
Everett Derby results
An unusual doubleheader by anglers in the same boat marked last weekend’s Everett Blackmouth Derby, along with fishing that proved surprisingly good considering the really lousy weather conditions.
First place and $3,000 went to Brent Pierce of Snohomish for a 12.06-pound (cleaned weight) chinook, and second place and $1,500 to Jacob Emmons of West Seattle, for a 10.56-pound fish. Both anglers were fishing with Scott Rippel of Snohomish in his 24-foot Bayliner, along with the fourth member of the team, Larry Hill, also of Snohomish.
Rippel said a 20-mph wind Saturday morning kept the group at the dock, wondering if they really wanted to fight the conditions.
“We finally decided to shoot across to the Clinton area,” Rippel said, “but we weren’t marking any bait or fish there, so we headed on up Saratoga Passage.”
The group nailed three legal blackmouth on the day, with the two prize winners coming within 20 minutes of each other, north of Baby Island. All three blackmouth, Rippel said, were suspended at about 60 feet on the downrigger, over 80 to 120 feet of water. And all three were taken on green plug-cut herring behind an unusually small “000” dodger.
Third place and $500 went to Lance Husby at 8.56 pounds, and fourth and $250 to Glen Miller at 8.08.
There were 82 tickets (boat teams) sold by the sponsoring Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club, and 34 blackmouth weighed.
Kids fishing calendar
There are other kids’ trout fishing events coming up in the area this spring, but the ones sponsored by the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club are as follows:
n Kids trout fishing class at Sullivan Park on Silver Lake, Everett, April 18.
n Kids trout pond at the Evergreen Recreation and Sportsmen’s Expo, Evergreen Fair Grounds in Monroe, April 28-29.
n Jennings Park kids fish-in, Marysville, May 5.
n Silver Lake kids fish-in, Silver Lake, Everett, May 12.
n Twin Lakes Park kids fish-in, north Gissberg Pond, Smokey Point, May 19.
For more information. visit www.esscwa.com.
Where are the springers?
The spring chinook catch on the lower Columbia has been “pretty pitiful” so far, in the words of state Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver. The total catch for February was below even that of last year, which was considered a poor season, and so far in March, about the same.
Hymer said water even colder than last year, and low visibility below the Willamette and Cowlitz, have been blamed — conditions that made last season’s fishery a bummer.
The catch rate could improve, Hymer said, when later-running but more abundant 4-year-olds start replacing the fewer but larger (fish in the 30-pound range have been caught) 5-year-olds.
Important Anacortes Derby info
Anthon Steen at Holiday Sports in Burlington warns anglers with an Anacortes Derby ticket (the event is sold out) that a new, 2012-13 license will be required for the second day of the derby, April 1, while the current 2011-12 license is required for the first day, March 31. Also, the Bellingham Bay closure takes effect April 1, which closes Guemes Channel after the derby’s first day.
For more outdoors news, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.