Area 9 provides good blackmouth fishing on weekend

  • Wayne Kruse / Outdoor Writer
  • Wednesday, November 8, 2000 9:00pm
  • Sports

An excellent winter blackmouth season in most of Puget Sound (but not local Marine Area 8-2) continues to put fish in the box for boaters working the usually productive spots in Area 9.

Saturday was a little rough, and probably the toughest fishing since the opener, according to All Star Charters owner/skipper Gary Krein in Everett, but fishing came back strong on Sunday and Monday.

State Fish and Wildlife Department checks backed Krein’s observations. Department personnel tallied about a fish for each two anglers on Saturday, at the Port of Everett ramp and the Edmonds sling, but better success rates than that on Sunday.

“Anybody with any fishing ability at all took limits Sunday and Monday,” Krein said. “At least on Possession Bar.”

The bar and Double Bluff were both good over the weekend, weather allowing. Midchannel Bank was hot, and the blackmouth there tended to be a little larger. The winning fish in the weekend’s Everett Bayside Marine derby, a 16-pound, 8-ounce dandy, came from Midchannel, according to Dan Hatch and Jeff LaLone, and earned a check for $1,000 for Craig Bothwell of Everett. Second place, at 12 pounds, 7 ounces, was a tie for Phil Smithson and Bob Darlington.

Hatch and LaLone said the derby drew 153 participants, who weighed 75 fish and shared 37 prizes. Food donations earmarked for the Volunteers of America should exceed last year’s 864 pounds, the pair said.

Krein said a few larger fish are starting to show on Possession Bar, to 10 or 11 pounds, but that shakers an inch or two under the minimum continue to plague anglers there.

“Coyote spoons are terrific lures, but they’ll take more shakers, I think, than plugs do,” he said. “So I’ve switched almost exclusively to 5-inch Tomics in mother of pearl.”

State checks over the weekend showed 19 anglers at Port Townsend with 13 chinook averaging 7 pounds; and at Camano State Park, 30 with 16 averaging 6 pounds.

  • Chum salmon: Another derby Saturday highlighted a different ongoing fishery. A group of Trout Unlimited chapters in this area held their annual fall derby, mostly for chums, on area rivers, and a familiar name took first place and a $100 bill.

    Guide and Arlington resident Sam Ingram, fishing with wife Susan, nailed a dog going 20 pounds, 12 ounces, 15 minutes after putting into the Skykomish at the mouth of the Sultan, to take home top money. Second and third, $50 and $25 respectively, were both won by Todd Ripley of Redmond, at 19-plus pounds and 17-plus pounds.

    “Ripley used some of his winnings to join our chapter,” said Sky Valley Chapter president Gary Bee. “Two friends and I drifted from the two-bit hole to Lewis Street (Monroe) and hooked probably 20 chum, landed 14, and didn’t find any bright enough to warrant keeping and entering in the derby.”

    Bee said all the fish were hooked on a float-and-jig setup, while Ingram caught his prize winner on a backtrolled Kwikfish.

    “That hole below the Sultan is a great spot,” Ingram said. “It holds lots of fish and can be fished from either bank or boat effectively, but you have to try to get your bait or lure right in front of a fish and hold it there for a while. Chums aren’t going to chase a setup, and you have to try and keep it in front of them for as long as possible.”

    Ingram doesn’t trust the plug, even with a diver in front, to get to bottom in a deeper hold and to stay there. So he hangs three-quarters to 2 ounces of lead on a dropper at the end of the mainline, then uses four feet of stiff, 30-pound “leader” between the mainline and the plug. The stiffer leader, he says, helps keep the plug running straight.

    The Skykomish has been much more productive the past couple of weeks for chums than has the Snohomish.

    “Too low and clear right now,” said a spokesman at Triangle Beverage in Snohomish on Wednesday, “although this rain might move in a few more fish.”

    The theory is that high water early in the chum run caused the fish to shoot through the Snohomish and to hold farther up, in the Sky.

    Hood Canal and South Sound chum fisheries are at peak levels now, according to the Fish and Wildlife Department. Checks at the Hoodsport Salmon Hatchery late last week tallied 70 anglers with 60 fish, off the beach, averaging 10 pounds. At Kennedy Creek it was 46 anglers with 39, averaging 12 pounds, and at John’s Creek, four anglers with three, averaging 8 pounds.

    Guide and Stanwood resident Wade Erickson will present a chum clinic Nov. 16, starting at 7 p.m., at Hook, Line &Sinker in Smokey Point, covering how-to and where-to on local rivers. Pre-registration is required by calling 360-651-2204.

  • Coho: Fishing for hatchery coho remains hot on the Cowlitz, where more than 10,000 fish so far have been “recycled” by tank truck from the hatchery to the barrier dam boat ramp. Six fish limits are not unusual for bank anglers at the dam. A step behind are the Kalama and Lewis, where boat anglers on the former averaged better than a fish per rod last week.

  • Winter steelhead: Jack Tipping, state biologist on the Cowlitz, predicts an excellent winter steelhead season on the big southwest river if weather and flows cooperate with anglers. Several winter fish have already been caught on the lower river, and are also showing already at hatchery traps on the Kalama and Lewis.

  • Waterfowl: Waterfowl hunting in the Columbia Basin has been good, particularly for mallards, said MarDon Resort co-owner Mike Meseberg. Locals are also reporting a few northern birds starting to enter the bag, Meseberg said.
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