Marysville man wins $1,000 derby prize

  • Wayne Kruse / Outdoor Writer
  • Wednesday, November 5, 2003 9:00pm
  • LifeGo-See-Do

While last weekend’s winter blackmouth opener on local saltwater registered somewhere in the middle of the scale, there were enough feeder chinook around to provide a decent fishery for the annual Everett Bayside derby.

And, just to prove that not all large salmon are caught by visitors, novices and the piscatorially backward, the first-place fish was taken by a dedicated, longtime expert, Bud Greenhaugh. His 17.3-pounder, taken Saturday off Hat Island, nailed down a check for $1,000, according to a spokeswoman at Bayside Marine (425-252-3088).

The second-place chinook, at 14.12 pounds, was landed by Jim Weaver, also on Saturday and also off Hat Island. Weaver took home a four-horsepower Yamaha outboard motor.

Third place went to Darren Nelson, for a 13-pounder caught Sunday on Possession Bar, and the largest chum award went to Ralph Brodey, at 11.14 pounds. Bayside sold 145 tickets, weighed in 73 fish, awarded 58 prizes and gathered a substantial amount of food-bank aid from the participating anglers.

But the fishing since Saturday has, in general, been “less than stellar,” said Gary Krein, owner/skipper of All Star Charters in Everett (425-252-4188).

“We’ve been getting our one chinook per customer,” Krein said, “but we’re working at it.”

He said fish are scattered among the usually productive areas – Hat Island/Camano Head, Possession, Point No Point and others. Elger Bay was decent on Saturday and Sunday – and some of the derby fish came from there – and the Port Townsend/Middle Bank complex was OK on Saturday but tough fishing on Sunday.

“I think fishing will get better now that the weather has settled down,” Krein said. “And we’ve also been seeing a lot more bait around since Monday or Tuesday.”

Possession Bar has probably been as consistent as any spot, and Krein has been fishing the west side on the morning incoming tides. He suggests fishing right on the deck in 120 to 160 feet of water, and “if you ain’t digging dirt, you ain’t catching,” he said.

“My first fish (Wednesday) morning hit after the ball on that side had been bouncing for three minutes,” he added.

The old No. 603 Tomic plug in glow white has been productive, he said, along with the No. 188 green/glow white Coyote spoon. Krein fishes the plug alone, and the spoon 38 to 40 inches behind a green flasher.

The fish have been running from just legal to 11 or 12 pounds, he said.

State Fish and Wildlife Department creel checks over the weekend at the Port of Everett ramp tallied 216 anglers with 39 blackmouth, averaging 7 to 8 pounds; eight coho, averaging 8 pounds; and five chums, averaging 10 pounds. At the Edmonds sling, it was 45 anglers with eight blackmouth, averaging 6 to 8 pounds; two coho, averaging 5 pounds; and six chums, averaging 8 pounds.

The San Juan Islands weren’t any hotter over the weekend, with a Saturday check at the Washington Park ramp, west of Anacortes, showing 27 anglers with two chinook, averaging 7 pounds. Nine weekend beach fishermen at Point No Point had two coho, averaging 4 pounds.

Skykomish River: There are a few coho left that the floods didn’t wash back to Puget Sound, and a few leftover summer steelhead, but most Skykomish anglers now are pointing toward a good run of chums headed in from the saltwater. The Cracker Bar, at the mouth of the Sultan River, has been hot from time to time for a week or so, according to Mike Heath at Sky Valley Traders in Monroe (360-794-8818), for fish 16 to 18 pounds.

“The chums are scattered throughout the whole lower river, up to Sultan,” Heath said, “along with a coho or two, and summer-runs up around Reiter Ponds.”

Chum anglers are using “anything green,” Heath said.

And speaking of chums, it’s the peak of the run right now for beach fishermen at the Hoodsport Salmon Hatchery on Hood Canal. Some 36 anglers there were checked Sunday with 97 chums, averaging 10 pounds. Good chum action is also on tap at the mouth of Kennedy Creek, in Totten Inlet, northwest of Olympia, where 19 anglers were checked over the weekend. They had landed 15 fish, averaging 8 pounds.

Eastside steelhead: Cold temperatures in the basin (it was 12 degrees at Othello on Tuesday night) have made steelheading a little more difficult in the upper Columbia and its Okanogan and Methow tributaries, but there are still fish to be had. Guide and Brewster resident Rod Hammons (509-689-2849; said a bobber-jig rig floated in the Methow estuary or just outside, in the Columbia proper, is the way to go. The fish are running a little on the small side this year, he added.

Basin waterfowl: Marilyn Meseberg at MarDon Resort (509-765-5061) said cold temperatures will make it more difficult for freelance duck hunters to get back into the sand dune area on the north end of Potholes Reservoir.

“The forecast is for a warming trend, so this weekend should still be OK,” she said.

There are fair numbers of ducks around, including some fresh birds, but probably no “full northerns.” There is also a good population of geese in the basin and, with colder weather, field shooting is starting to pick up for those who scout ahead and get landowner permission.

The resort runs guided goose hunts on either the lake or leased fields for $200 per hunter per day, or a drop-off setup on the lake for $135 per person.

The Royal City Youth Boosters club, benefiting Royal High School sports and other activities, is once again selling tickets for pheasant hunting on about 25,000 acres of farmland on the Royal Slope. The group is supplementing wild pheasant stocks with pen-raised birds, and participants seem happy with the arrangement, Meseberg said. Tickets are $75 each for three days, and $200 for the season. Call the resort (above) for more information.

Razor clams: Great weather, excellent populations of large clams, and a long time since the last opening, resulted in a huge turnout for last weekend’s coastal razor clam dig, according to biologist Dan Ayres in Montesano. The good news, from Ayres’ point of view, is that a whole bunch of recreationists were able to participate during the six days of digging in September and October (45,000 digger trips last weekend alone). Unfortunately, success has a price and Ayres says such a high percentage of available clams has been taken, that no more winter digs may be possible if any are to be saved for at least one daylight opening next spring.

The numbers are still to be crunched, but Ayres says any more winter digs probably would be composed of short, limited openings.

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