Last year’s Hot Plug’s Salmon Derby was pretty much a piscatorial disaster. Wind and rain made marine areas 8-1 and 8-2 nearly unfishable, although maybe 50 participants managed to put a line in the water for at least short periods, and weighed in a total of 4 blackmouth. An 11-pounder won the event.
Ma Nature relented a little this year, according to coordinator Ed Keller in Stanwood, and while fishing wasn’t smokin’ by any means, some 85 ticket holders on Saturday were able to bring 11 nice fish to the weigh-in.
Derek Schneider of Stanwood nailed a very respectable fish of 16 pounds, 5 ounces to take home the very respectable first-place pot of $2,200 — not bad for a small, local derby. Keller said Schneider caught his fish off the north end of Camano Island, on a flasher/squid combo.
Second place went to Albert Audet of Camano for a 14-pound blackmouth caught on bait off the state park. Darrell Clark of Camano fished Onomac with a flasher/spoon rig for his third-place fish of 10 pounds, 7 ounces, and Mike Rosenbaugh of Stanwood took fourth, at 7 pounds, working flasher/squid off Rocky Point.
That’s not bad fishing, particularly since a southeast wind made top areas such as Greenbank and Camano Head a challenge.
Friday and Saturday brought a few fish to the net for anglers on the lower Columbia River, but spring chinook being spring chinook, the catch since then has been sparse.
“We recorded checks of as high as 5 fish for 25 boats on those two days,” said state Fish and Wildlife Department biologist Joe Hymer in Vancouver, “but springers are notoriously inconsistent early in the run, and there hasn’t been much happening since.”
Hymer looks for fishing to get a little better each day — a little more consistent — through the middle of the month, and then ramp up quickly. He said water conditions were excellent — clear, fairly low and reasonably warm — and that more fish have been counted over Bonneville at this point than was the case last year.
That’s a positive note, and even though the predicted run is down a little, the popular fishery should still produce.
Biologist/talk show host/avid angler Tom Nelson of Lake Stevens says the state spring chinook forecast of 141,000 fish over Bonneville conflicts with the USFWS number of 221,000. “I’m rootin for the feds,” he says.
No trips yet
Mark Spada, spokesman for the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club, said there has been a delay in planting of triploid rainbow in Snohomish-area lakes because of a paperwork problem.
“We wanted to plant this week, but the state didn’t have our permits ready, even though we submitted the material almost a year ago,” Spada said. “So we should be ready to go soon, but I can’t say just when.”
The club each year purchases chunky pen-raised trout with funds generated by the Everett Coho Derby, and plants them in lakes suitable for local fishermen. Spada said Blackmans Lake would probably be the first planted, followed by Flowing. Each plant will be 200 to 300 rainbow, running a pound and a half to 6 or 8 pounds. Stay tuned.
Tackle shop owner John Martinis and expert local angler Mike Greenleaf will team up to present a free chinook fishing seminar at Bayside Marine, 1111 Craftsman Way, Everett, on March 13, starting at 7 p.m. That’s at the Everett Marina, just south of the Port of Everett boat launch.
Additionally, the Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club will raffle a Scotty downrigger at the end of the evening.
Call Martinis for more information, 425-259-3056.
TJ Nelson, host of The Outdoor Line Saturday mornings on ESPN 710 Radio (firstname.lastname@example.org) will host a repeat of last year’s very successful free salmon fishing seminar at Master Marine in Mount Vernon, March 16, 10 a.m. To 2 p.m. Nelson will lead off with his “Dirty Downrigger Tricks,” followed by John Keizer of Salt Patrol with “Find more fish and catch more fish with your marine electronics.” John Martinis will wrap it up with a new presentation, “Secrets of San Juan Island salmon fishing.” All this plus lunch and door prizes too.
Call Master Marine about the Spring Seminar at 360-336-2176.
Local limit cut
As of yesterday, salmon fishermen will be limited to one fish daily in Marine Area 9, Admiralty Inlet — down from two per day — after state biologists determined that the number of salmon kept or released has exceeded pre-season projections.
There will probably be sport fishing reaction to that statement, but the state says the management guideline of 1,615 total encounters (kept hatchery fish; released wild fish) with legal-size chinook has been exceeded by the estimate of 1,737 as of Feb. 24.
Except at the Edmonds Pier, anglers fishing in Area 9 must release any chinook not marked with a clipped adipose fin, but since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline.
Area 9 is scheduled to close April 15.
Outdoor app for cooks
Mobile apps for outdoorsmen continue to expand, and the latest, ChefMate, fills the iPad gap of what to do after the fish is in the boat or the wild turkey is in the back of the pickup. It is an interactive app, with over 650 pre-loaded recipes, more than 50 on grilling or preparing fish, steak, chicken, ribs, duck, game hens, squab, sausage and other meats, along with shrimp, lobster, crab and shellfish.
Think bourbon-marinated salmon, linguini in clam sauce, shrimp and snapper stew, almond crusted trout with Grand Marnier cream, venison tenderloin with wild mushroom sauce.
There’s lots more, and the best part is that the app is just $2.99. Designer Penelope Fenton said there are no additional subscriptions or charges and no in-app purchases; just a great interactive cooking app, plain and simple.
For more info go to the website http://firstmateapp.com/chefmate.html.
For more outdoors news, visit Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.