The fall razor clam season opened on all major ocean beaches Wednesday to relatively good wind and surf conditions, and digging was reported excellent. Recreationists take a break today, but digging resumes – again on all major beaches – Friday and Saturday, afternoon tides only.
The lows both days are minus 0.8 feet, at 7:42 p.m. Friday, and 8:23 p.m. Saturday.
The remaining fall/winter schedule:
Friday-Saturday, Nov. 10-11, Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch only. The tide Friday is a minus 0.2 at 5:38 p.m., and on Saturday, a minus 0.8 at 6:19 p.m.
Sunday through Thursday, Nov. 12-16, Kalaloch only. The tides are minus 1.1 on Sunday, at 7:00 p.m.; minus 1.2 on Monday, at 7:44 p.m.; minus 1.2 on Tuesday, at 8:30 p.m.; minus 0.9 on Wednesday, at 9:21 p.m.; and minus 0.5 on Thursday, at 10:16 p.m.
Friday-Saturday of the long Thanksgiving weekend (Thanksgiving Day is Thursday), Nov. 24-25, all major beaches. The tides are minus 0.6 at 5:45 p.m. on Friday, and minus 0.8 at 6:26 p.m. on Saturday.
Friday-Saturday, Dec. 8-9, Long Beach, Twin Harbors, and Kalaloch only. The tides are plus 0.3 at 4:30 p.m. Friday, and minus 0.4 at 5:16 p.m. Saturday.
Sunday through Tuesday, Dec. 10-12, Kalaloch only. The tides are minus 1 at 6:01 p.m. Sunday, minus 1.3 at 6:47 p.m. Monday, and minus 1.4 at 7:33 p.m. Tuesday.
Wednesday, Dec. 13, Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Kalaloch. The tide is a minus 1.3 at 8:21 p.m.
Thursday, Dec. 14, Kalaloch only. The tide is a minus 1 at 9:09 p.m.
The Bureau of Reclamation closed the gate at the east end of O’Sullivan Dam Monday, and water levels in Potholes Reservoir, Grant County, are starting to rise. That means more water and easier water access to the sand dunes area on the north end of the popular lake.
“This annual ritual coincides closely with the arrival of the first waterfowl migrants from Canada,” says Wally Hoch of Ducks Inn Guide Service (509-754-9670) in Ephrata. “Not only does the area hold good numbers of local ducks, but the increasing water offers a secure and inviting resting area for migrating birds. November on the Potholes is hard to beat for a good mallard hunt.”
Hoch says the first aerial survey of the season was flown Oct. 18, showing 40,000 geese and 67,400 ducks between Brewster in the north and Othello in the south. Major concentrations were found on Stratford Lake (35,000 geese), Wannapum Pool between Rock Island and Vantage (over 35,000 ducks), Priest Rapids pool (9,300 ducks), and the Moses Lake/Potholes area, with over 17,000 ducks.
The coho fishery on local rivers never did really heat up, although fair numbers of fish were, and continue to be, taken. Some 39 anglers on the Snohomish were checked Sunday with four coho, averaging 8 pounds, plus one 10-pound chum.
Speaking of dogs (chum salmon, not the Seahawks), they almost always show up first on the Skagit, and this fall is no exception. Checks Sunday on the river in the vicinity of Mount Vernon showed 60 anglers with 3 coho averaging 6 pounds, and 7 chums, averaging 15 pounds.
Checks at the Hood Canal boat ramp tallied one 10-pound chum, but the fish haven’t yet shown up in fishable numbers at the Hoodsport Hatchery. The popular beach fishery in front of the facility should get underway soon, however, and state personnel say tribal nets will fish Tuesdays and Thursdays when the fish show.
The other two major chum salmon shore fisheries are starting to perk. Checks at Kennedy Creek showed 22 anglers with three chums, averaging 8 pounds, and at John’s Creek, 54 fishermen had 10 fish. Both fisheries are on south Puget Sound, near Shelton.
This is the last weekend to keep a chinook from the Hanford Reach run on the mid-Columbia. The river from the Vernita Bridge upstream to Priest Rapids Dam is open through the end of the month, and actually offering some of the best fishing of only a so-so season. Catch rates there have been running about one fish for each three to four anglers for two weeks, to 40-plus pounds.
The southwest rivers – Cowlitz, Lewis, Kalama – are still very good for coho, although many of the fish are darkening now. Bank fishermen on the Cowlitz, below the barrier dam, averaged about a fish per rod last weekend, while those on the Lewis averaged about three-quarters of a fish per person.
Salmon action on the Yakima is starting to slow, but the season has been extended through Nov. 15, from Union Gap to Roza Dam, and on the Naches, from its mouth upstream to the Tieton.
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