CEL-E-BRATE GOOD TIMES, COME-ON!
As you read this we are having a one-month celebration of our 33 years in print here at TRN.
Its spring, fishing is starting to take off and, regardless of the North of Falcon debacle and the Columbia River war, there are still fish to be caught here in the Pacific Northwest and we’re goin’ fishin’!
Turn back to the front page on this month’s issue and you’ll get a hint of what you don’t want to miss out on with Dave Graybill’s top fifteen choices in Eastern Washington. For a couple of weeks we can still catch the skinny end of the winter blackmouth salmon season (see pages 4 and 5), then go to page 8 and start making reservations to fish British Columbia this year. It’s amazing that just half way across the Strait of Juan de Fuca we can go from heavily restricted seasons and low abundance to strong salmon returns, topped off with months of halibut fishing compared to Washington’s allowance of mere hours.
Oregon has scheduled 28 family fishing events running from now through July and they also have 8 free fishing days starting on April 22 and ending on January 1, 2018! Check it out at odfw.com. They have a weekly recreational report with updates of fishing conditions for almost 200 bodies of water across the state.
Not to be outdone, Washington State spent the fall and winter planting trout in many areas, especially the lakes that are open year-around. Their tentative plans for planting trout and kokanee for 2017 is a whopping 16 million plus into 546 bodies of water. In the past, the catchables were in the 8-inch size but now they are bragging about the 11-inchers. Without a doubt, this is one of WDFW’s most aggressive and well done fishing programs. Compared to Oregon’s aggressive schedule of youth and family fishing events, Washington only has four currently scheduled (April and May) and I have yet to hear if/when there are free fishing days scheduled (no license required). Watch their website for more information.
If the taste of salt air is your spring-thing, hold on! No-boat-required razor clam digs are ramping up but be sure your beach of choice is open and has healthy fare. Unless things change, the ports of Westport, La Push and Ilwaco are open for bottomfishing which includes lingcod, and they are open into the third week of October. Rules for Neah Bay are slightly different but close enough to take advantage of. The daily rockfish catch limit is seven and lingcod daily is two over 22 inches.
Washingtonian anglers are being held hostage on the salmon fishing seasons until mid-April sometime due to tribal greed and closed door meetings with The Department. But soon you’ll be able to spend a few hours fishing for halibut, shrimp and then crabbing season after the tribes set their pots for “usual and accustomed” commercial harvest. (FYI – Washington is the only state that is ruled by two countries – the US of A and the Tribal Nation.)
If you are like most of us, you look forward to fresh salmon and halibut on the barbecue throughout the summer and fall months. I suggest you plan on doing a DIY or chartered/guided trip into the waters of British Columbia (see above).According to Owen Bird, Executive Director, Sport Fishing Institute of British Columbia, “…we will see chinook and coho fishing very similar to last season” (strong salmon returns). He gives us a similar report on the halibut abundance and limits. They also have crabbing and shrimping and lingcod and rockfish and…
All-in-all, we’re getting ramped-up around here…even after 33 years. We need a bigger bucket to hold the list! It is what you make of it and it doesn’t really matter which side of the compass you’re looking from, there are opportunities for private or family fishing in all directions from the Pacific shores to Montana to Alaska to Baja. And speaking of Baja, there is still time to get on board with us for the 12th annual trip in May. Give me a call at 253-268-2680.
Celebration? Youbetcha! Come on!