The first charter-caught pink salmon of the summer from Possession Bar was taken Tuesday, according to Gary Krein of Everett, owner-skipper of All Star Charters, and while that’s of interest to a lot of local anglers anticipating a pile of humpies next month, it’s only a parenthesis to the two major fisheries currently underway.
Baker Lake sockeye opened the middle of last week, and the uber-popular Area 9-10 selective chinook fishery popped Tuesday morning.
The in-Sound hatchery king opener was either very good or very slow, depending on where you elected to drop your ‘rigger ball. If you bet on Possession Bar, you lost, Krein said.
“There were probably 100 boats on the bar,” he said, “and we saw only 12 to 15 fish caught all morning. Meanwhile, Nick (Kester, another All Star Charters skipper) ran out to Port Townsend and had 10 fish to over 20 pounds in the box in two hours.”
Kester said there were at least 200 boats on Midchannel Bank, off Port Townsend, and often you could see 40 or 50 fish being played at one time. The early tide change was a crucial time to be on the water, however, because the bite faded rapidly after that. Kester was pulling a green flasher/white spoon combo — a Coho Killer on one side and a Kingfisher Lite on the other.
Tom Nelson and several other local high liners also ran to Midchannel and did well, Krein said.
“The bar, though, was slow — no doubt about it,” he said. “Probably worse than last year. Pilot Point put out a few fish, but wasn’t that good, either, and I heard of a scattering of kings from down around Richmond Beach and Meadow Point, toward Seattle.”
Krein said there are a lot of coho available at Jefferson Head, some to 5 or 6 pounds now, but most averaging 3 to 5 pounds.
The good news from Baker Lake on the July 10th sockeye opener was the surprisingly high success rate, considering that the first week or two of the season is usually short on fish. The bad news is that a run which already was pegged as smaller than last year may be even lower than predicted.
Reports that more salmon had been trapped and transported to the lake than at the same point last year helped draw a larger crowd than at the 2012 opener, said Brett Barkdull, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.
“Pressure was moderate,” Barkdull said. “More folks than last year, probabaly because there were more fish in the lake. But everything went smoothly, with no particular problems.”
Creel samples on opening day showed 30 anglers with 19 fish, much better than last year’s numbers, Barkdull said. By Sunday, it was up to 57 anglers with 35 sockeye.
“The run looks a little early, maybe, and the numbers may not be as strong as we had hoped,” Barkdull said. “But there should still be plenty of decent fishing opportunity.”
Early in the day, fishermen are marking sockeye at 15 to 20 feet — shallow enough to use a “flat line” with a 6-ounce crescent sinker. Later, the fleet is going down to as deep as 40 feet.
Barkdull said the standard setup is a size “0” dodger, 10 to 14 inches of leader, a pink mini-squid with a smile blade, and a pair of 1/0 or 2/0 hooks.
“Using bait, though, is critical,” he said. “The difference between those with fish and those without is bait. Use coonstripe shrimp, raw or cured with Pro Cure, or a sand shrimp tail, on the front hook.”
As of Sunday, there were 3,858 sockeye in the lake. Check out the current trap counts at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/sockeye/baker_river.html.
Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington likes a big ring dodger in 50-50 or hammered chrome on sunny days, going to white on overcast days or early mornings. Use 10 to 16 inches of leader, a small UV or pink squid and a smile blade, and a piece of pink coonstripe shrimp or a sand shrimp tail. Most of the fish have been schooled up tightly, he said, and the action is get pretty intense once you find the fish.
San Juan Islands chinook
Good season so far in Marine Area 7, at such spots as the east side of Blakely Island from Pointer Island to “the slime;” Reef Point and Secret Harbor on Cypress; and Point Lawrence on Orcas. Bait is always good, but more anglers are pulling Coho Killer and Kingfisher spoons in white lightning, chrome, and purple haze. Or, if you’re a squid guy, run a UV AceHi fly or a bucktail.
Checks Saturday at the Ediz Hook public ramp in Port Angeles showed 169 anglers with 72 chinook, 12 coho and 138 pinks.
At the Cornet Bay ramp on the north end of Whidbey Island, it was 58 anglers with 27 chinook, 31 coho and 43 pinks.
Okanogan County deer opportunity
Hunters have until Aug. 14 to apply for a limited-entry permit to the 6,000-acre Charles and Mary Eder Unit of the Scotch Creek Wildlife Area in northeastern Okanogan County. Some 18 applications will be drawn Aug. 15 and winners will receive access permits to the unit, near Oroville — six bowhunters, six muzzleloaders and six modern firearms hunters.
The drawing is open to the general public without any additional fees beyond the cost of a hunting license and the standard tags. Hunters are allowed to take only one deer, and must follow geneeral hunting rules in effect for this area. Seasons are: Sept. 1-27 for bow hunters; Sept. 28-Oct. 6 for muzzleloaders, and Oct. 12-20 for modern firearms.
Submit an application for the hunt on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website, http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/permits/scotchcreek/ or by calling the north central region office at 509-754-4624, or headquarters at 360-902-2515.
Where to shoot App
The National Shooting Sports Foundation has released an all-new Where to Shoot mobile app, available for iPhone, iPad and Android devices, that locates shooting ranges in your area. Avalable for free in the Apple App Store and Google Play, “Where to Shoot” puts North America’s most comprehensive directory of shooting ranges in the palm of you hand, and includes video tips for shooters, news, and firearm safety information.
Download the app through the links below or by simply fisiting www.wheretoshoot.org on your iOS or Android device.
iPhone and iPad: http://www.wheretoshoot.org/iOS