Anyone with a boat probably will have it out on Puget Sound this weekend. Three major local fisheries are on tap, and the forecast for great weather will most certainly add to the total. Shrimp and halibut will be the target Saturday, while lingcod will be available both days.
The extremely popular — but very short — spot shrimp season is scheduled for 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and Wednesday in Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2, 9, 10 and 11. The Hood Canal fishery is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday and Wednesday as well as May 15, 18 and 22. In the San Juans, Marine Area 7 East and South will open Saturday and continue Wednesday through May 11, May 15-18 and May 29 through June 1. Marine Area 7 West opens Saturday and then is open Wednesday through Saturday each week until June 1.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife shrimp manager Mark O’Toole in the agency’s La Conner office said Hood Canal will probably once again show the highest spot shrimp catch rates, followed by the San Juan Islands. Central Sound and our local waters will be down a little from the past two years, if test fisheries are correct, but should still be very good.
“Areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9 had historic recreational harvests the past couple of years,” O’Toole said, “so ‘down a little’ is only a relative phrase.”
Of the three test sites in this area that state personnel fished, O’Toole said the shrimp population around Mukilteo appeared a little less than either the Hat Island or Clinton areas.
After the May 8 opening, managers will assess the harvest and decide if there are enough shrimp left in the quota to open for a third day. Good weather means more shrimpers and a smaller chance of another day being added, and O’Toole said areas 8-1 and 8-2 probably stand a better chance than Area 9. The announcement, yea or nay, probably will come out on May 10th or 11th, and if a third day is in the picture, it will be a Wednesday or Saturday — perhaps May 18th or 22nd.
“If a day is added, we will give folks at least a week’s notice,” O’Toole said.
Look for the announcement first on the agency’s website, www.wdfw.wa.gov/shellfish.
Lingcod opened Wednesday and the season runs through June 15th in areas 5-11 and 13. Restrictions include a 120-foot maximum depth, and a 26-inch to 36-inch slot limit.
Halibut in Marine Areas 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 (west side Whidbey Island and the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca banks) opened today through Saturday; will close May 9-11; open May 16-18, May 23-26 and May 30-31.
Lake Tye results
Sunday’s Lake Tye Kid’s Fishing Day in Monroe was once again a great success, said coordinator Gary Bee with sponsoring Sky Valley Chapter, Trout Unlimited. First place went to a rainbow of 7 pounds, 10 ounces, caught by Lexus Lachapelle of Arlington; second to Hayden Sutton of Monroe, with a trout of 6 pounds, 15 ounces; and third to Paul Lemay of Monroe.
The adult derby, which followed the kids’ fish-in, was won by Joe Lundquist of Marysville, with a catch of 7 pounds, 3 ounces. Bee said the tagged $500 fish was not caught on derby day, but will still be worth $50 when, or if, caught. Email Bee at email@example.com.
For a photo of the top three winners, visit Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.
Wind came up later in the day on Saturday’s general trout opener, pushing many anglers off the water. But until that happened, it was generally a very good beginning to the 2013 lowland lake fishery, with larger rainbows and good catch rates almost across the board. While hatchery trout in some lakes didn’t quite come up to the new state mandate of 11 to 12 inches, they were certainly larger than in years past and most fishermen appreciated that fact.
Some opening day checks:
Snohomish County — Lake Armstrong, 2.9 trout per person kept/released, many limits early, largest 18.5 inches; Lake Stickney, 3.4 fish per person, comment “Bank anglers were slaying fish”, average 10 to 12 inches; Lake Ki, 5.7 fish kept/released per person, more limits than in recent years, happy anglers; Lake Serene, 3.0 per person, windy later, cold; Wagner Lake, 4.3 per person, good conditions, nearly limits for all; Lake Bosworth, 3.0 per person, lots of limits before the wind picked up; Martha Lake (Alderwood Manor), 4.5 per person, largest 18 inches plus other carryovers, good day.
Skagit County — Lake Erie, 4.6 per person, comment “fishermen loved the triploids”; Heart Lake, 3.4 per person, good crowd; Lake Sixteen, good fishing and larger (13-14 inches) trout, complaints of not enough bank fishing access; Lake McMurray, 3.5 per person.
Whatcom County — Lake Padden, 3.4 per person, good fishing but complaints that trout (10.5 inch average) were smaller than in past years.
Wind in the north Columbia Basin limited fishing success east of the Cascades on Saturday. In the Okanogan, Alta Lake showed an average of 2.7 trout per person, largest 18 inches, most going 11 to 12 inches; Pearrygin, 5.8 per person, including a 5-pound brown and 5-pound triploid rainbow; Conconully Lake, 2.2 average, smallish fish; Conconully Reservoir, 4.3 per person, including one-third 11- to 13-inch kokanee.
In Grant County, Warden produced 3.9 trout per person before the wind came up at mid-morning, averaging 11 inches; Park (2.9 per person) and Blue (3.8 per person) lakes fished pretty well for boaters, not so well for bank anglers. Nice rainbow averaged 13 inches with holdovers 16 to 20 inches.
There’s a free kids’ fish-in 8-11 a.m. Saturday at Jennings Pond, Jennings Park, Marysville. It’s for children ages 5 to 12 years. Food donations will be accepted for a local food bank. The word is out that this one will be huge — more sponsors, more fish, larger fish. Be there.
For more outdoors news, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.