By Wayne Kruse Herald Columnist
After a couple of years of tough fishing conditions, the Everett Blackmouth Derby caught a break in the weather Saturday, allowing some 93 participants to weigh in 50 chinook. That was a much higher success rate than the 34 blackmouth weighed two years ago and the 27 last year.
The winning fish, 12.4 pounds cleaned weight, was taken by Charlie Wilson on Possession Bar, using a Q-Cove flasher and green spatterback Coho Killer spoon. Jim Brauch, a spokesman for the sponsoring Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club, said the majority of the derby fish were caught at Possession, Point No Point, Pilot Point or Midchannel Bank, with a few coming from Hat Island and Baby Island.
Wilson won $3,000 for his first-place fish. In second, worth $1,500, was Bob Uhrick at 10.2 pounds cleaned weight, and in third, Bob Medin at 10.09 pounds.
Last year’s derby winner was a blackmouth of 14.6 pounds, cleaned weight, caught by Donald Horner on Midchannel Bank.
The big Anacortes Derby in the San Juan Islands is up this weekend, a sellout as usual. The popular Great Anacortes Fishing Film Festival is scheduled for Friday evening, fishing Saturday and Sunday, a Saturday night social and a Sunday barbecue. There are youth division prizes and women’s division prizes, along with the top cash awards of $15,000 for first place, $5,000 second, $2,500 third and $2,500 secret weight.
Some 256 chinook were weighed at last year’s event, which was won by Scott Fowler of Burlington, with a fish at 21.52 pounds. Second went to Rich Olson of Everett at 19.42 pounds and third to Jay Murphy of Puyallup at 19.1 pounds. Except for a little fog, the weather for the 2013 derby was good.
Jay Field of Anacortes, owner of Dash One Charters and member of the sponsoring Fidalgo-San Juan Islands Chapter, Puget Sound Anglers, said the winning chinook in the previous seven derbies came from: Sucia Island (2), Point Lawrence (last year), Obstruction Pass, Lopez Pass, Spring Pass, and Shaw Island.
Field said there were reports of several nice fish in the 20-pound range taken last week and over the weekend.
“There are fish out on the banks,” Field said, “on the north end of Orcas, and at several spots on Rosario Strait. Sucia has traditionally been a big-fish spot, and it’s the time of year when the larger, adult spring chinook start showing.”
Field said perhaps the top money-fish setup would include plug-cut herring, fished alone, near bottom in 90 to 120 feet of water. As a good lure choice, he tapped the 3.0 Kingfisher spoon in green glow or white lightning, behind a flasher.
Mark your calendar with this partial list of upcoming kids’ fishing events. There will be others — these are hosted by the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club, along with other state and local organizations:
April 16, kids’ trout fishing class at Silver Hall, Sullivan Park on Silver Lake, Everett, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Registration is underway through Everett Parks and Recreation; call 425-257-8300, extension 2.
April 26-27, Evergreen State Spring Festival, kids’ trout pond at the Evergreen Fair Grounds, Monroe.
May 3, kids’ fish-in, Jennings Park, Marysville, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m., ages 5-12, food donations accepted for local food bank, hosted by John’s Sporting Goods and Marysville Parks and Recreaton.
May 10, Silver Lake kids’ fish-in, Sullivan Park on Silver Lake, Everett, 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., ages 4-14, registration underway through Everett Parks, 425-257-8300, extension 2.
May 17, Kids’ fish-in at Twin Lakes County Park (north lake at Gissberg Ponds), Smokey Point, Arlington, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., ages 5-14. No registration required.
Following is a partial list of spring events at MarDon Resort and Potholes Reservoir. For more information go to the MarDon website or call 1-800-416-2736:
April 19-20, Potholes Open Bass Tournament; April 26-27, Corral Lake Tagged Trout Tournament; May 3-4, Spring Walleye Classic; May 17-18, MarDon Open Bass Tournament; June 7-8, Free Fishing Weekend; June 14-15, Camp Chef Father’s Day Bowfishing Tournament; and June 14-15Limit Out Marine Big Bass Classic.
Eastside steelheading closes
The upper Columbia and tributaries close to steelhead fishing Monday, March 31, as agreed upon by the state and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Closures include: the mainstem Columbia from Rock Island Dam to Chief Joseph Dam; Wenatchee, up to Tumwater Dam, including the Icicle; Methow, up to the mouth of the Chewuch in Winthrop; Okanogan, up to the Highway 97 bridge in Oroville; and the Similkameen up to Enloe Dam.
Still slow for spring chinook on the Columbia up to Bonneville Dam. No effort was seen by state personnel at either the Wind River or Drano Lake on the March 16 opener, and checks showed just eight spring chinook and three steelhead for the 1,360 anglers sampled on the lower Columbia mainstem. The Willamette, however, had improved.
Washington Outdoor Women host an Introduction to Waterfowling experience, April 12, 8:30 to 4:30 p.m. at a private Hunt Club near Monroe. Theevent, for women 18 and up, is designed for the beginner/novice. WOW is an outdoor skills program that empowers women through classes that sharpen their outdoor talents and improve their wilderness know-how.
Learn the history of waterfowling, its techniques, ethics, and conservation efforts. Instructors will help with shotgun patterning and shooting moving clays, setting decoys, calling, the use of blinds, and why a retriever is such an important partner in this hunting experience.
The fee of $100 includes expert instruction, equipment, shotguns, ammunition, clays, hot breakfast, lunch and a WOW T-shirt.
For information or registration go to washingtonoutdoorwomen.org, or call 425-455-1986 or 206-849-9691.
Legal razor clam harvesting shifts from evening to morning digs during the current tide series, and there are some pretty good tides to choose from:
March 28, 5:38 p.m., 0.0 feet at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; March 29, 6:23 p.m., 0.0 feet at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks.
Switch to morning tides.
March 30, 6:53 a.m., minus 0.1 feet at Twin Harbors, Long Beach and Mocrocks; March 31, 7:39a.m., minus 0.5 feet at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; April 1, 8:22 a.m., minus 0.7 feet at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; April 2, 9:05 a.m., minus 0.6 feet at Twin Harbors and Long Beach; and April 3, 9:49 a.m., minus 0.3 feet at Twin Harbors and Long Beach.
State clam manager Dan Ayres said the split schedule allows for back-to-back digs the evening of Saturday, March 29 and the morning of Sunday, March 30. Ayres also warned diggers that after March 31, a 2014 license will be necessary to harvest razor clams. Licenses range from a 3-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, and are available on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website, https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.