By Wayne Kruse Special to The Herald
Midchannel Bank, a popular chinook fishery this time of year, is perhaps the best choice for anglers from this side of Puget Sound with a ticket in hand for the big Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby, scheduled for Saturday, Sunday and Monday. More water is included in this event than any other derby in Western Washington, but Midchannel is a reasonable run from the Everett area, or from the launch at Fort Casey.
The bank runs from the end of Marrowstone Island northwest, past Port Townsend, toward Point Wilson, and it presents a well-defined, easy-to-learn fishery.
Nick Kester, with All Star Charters in Everett, said the tide is a critical factor on Midchannel Bank.
“It really rips through there,” Kester said. “You can’t buck it; you have to fish with it, but it’s a very easy trolling pattern to learn. Just go with the tide, along the 85-foot depth line, or out farther, along the ledge in 120 to 150 feet of water.”
Kester said chinook on the bank are targeting needlefish, so smaller lures such as the Coho Killer spoon are a good bet. He likes them in Irish cream, cookies and cream, or purple haze color patterns, 38 to 45 inches behind a chartreuse and glow breakaway flasher.
Ted’s Sport Center in Lynnwood (425-743-9505) still has tickets for the derby, $40 a copy, and they will be sold, Saturday only, at all five weigh stations/launch ramps: Freshwater Bay, Port Angeles, Sequim, Gardiner and Port Townsend. Some 757 entrants in 2011 weighed 248 fish, and that’s a pretty good percentage for an event that often is impacted by bad weather.
First place is worth $10,000 and at last count the total prize package was up to just under $25,000. Last year’s top chinook, taken by Rob Schmidt of Sequim, weighed 18.9 pounds. Second place went to Ray Lampers of Snohomish, at 18.05 pounds. Three of the top four fish came from Marine Area 9, but there’s a caveat to that: A rule change last year included more of area 9 in the derby than had been the case in previous years. The old south boundary is back this weekend — a line from Double Bluff to Foulweather Bluff to Tala Point.
For more information, go to gardinersalmonderby.org.
The small Bill Hayes Hot Plug’s Derby is up this Saturday (for more information, call Ed Keller at 425-308-9437).
Tickets just went on sale for the March 17 Everett Blackmouth Derby, sponsored by the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club. This event, in Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9, is a team tournament, $100 per entry, up to four anglers per boat, and just 100 tickets will be sold. Get yours at John’s Sporting Goods, Everett Bayside Marine, Greg’s Custom Rods, Hook Line &Sinker, Ted’s Sport Center, Ed’s Surplus, Three Rivers Marine or Performance Marine.
Tips on how to successfully fish the derby will be included in a free blackmouth seminar to be presented by John’s Sporting Goods at 7 p.m. on March 14 at Everett Bayside Marine.
Nationally known fly-fishing authors/instructors Skip Morris and Rick Hafele present “Mastering Western Rivers and Lakes,” a comprehensive fly fishing/tying workshop, Feb. 25-26, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Issaquah. Sessions are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. The program is professionally produced and the information will be understandable and useful to both beginners and experienced fly fishers. Between them, Morris and Hafele have written 17 books on fly-fishing topics and are frequent speakers around the country.
The fee is $145 for both days, or $80 for one day. Saturday’s session examines the hatches, patterns and tactics for fishing streams. Sunday covers the hatches, patterns and tactics for fishing lakes.
For more information and a program schedule, or to register, go to http://hookednow.com/events.
If final approval is granted by the International Pacific Halibut Commission next month, recreational halibut fishermen in Washington will be allowed a catch quota of slightly over 214,000 pounds this summer, down from 216,500 pounds in 2011. Anglers in this area, however, will get a break. Because halibut catches in Puget Sound and the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca dropped off last summer from outstanding fishing in 2009 and 2010, local fishermen didn’t come close to the inland quota of more than 58,000 pounds. That difference will be made up this summer with the addition of extra fishing time.
Marine Areas 6, 7, 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10 will be open May 3 to June 2, Thursdays to Saturdays only, plus the Memorial Day weekend.
Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) will be open May 24-June 23, Thursdays to Saturdays only, plus the Memorial Day weekend.
The popular Neah Bay fishery will open May 10, 12, 17 and 19, plus a day or two later if enough quota remains. Anglers working the La Push/Neah Bay fishery, Marine Areas 3 and 4, caught almost 104,000 pounds of halibut in a similar season last year.
Hear Carpenter speak
Sport fishermen in northwest Washington have high hopes for the tenure of the state’s new Fish and Wildlife commissioner, Larry Carpenter, an avid saltwater angler and marine business owner from Mount Vernon. Hear him speak at 7 p.m. on Feb. 21 at a meeting of the local chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association at Bayside Marine in Everett, adjacent to the Port of Everett launch ramp. It’s free and the public is invited.
The nine-member state Fish and Wildlife Commission is the citizen oversight group that sets policy for the Department of Fish and Wildlife.
For more outdoor news, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.