Opening day is coming up on April 26th

The big opener for trout season is coming up in just a few weeks. April 26th marks the opener for most lakes in Whatcom and Skagit county. A large number of lakes are stocked with heavy numbers of trout, and other opportunities are available for bass fishing and more.


Check out our Fishing Access page for a list of lakes to visit:

WDFW has released a list of stocked lakes, showing the number of trout going into each.

And be sure to read up on the regs before heading out. and pick up a license at a local vendor or online.

silver lake rainbow trout fly fishing2

Posted in Fishing reports, General Fishing, WDFW | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Catch record cards due by April 30th – with or without catch

Please remember to send your Salmon, Steelhead,  Sturgeon and Halibut cards in to WDFW by the end of April. If you fished for these species, WDFW requires the cards to be sent back in with or without catch.

Send your cards to:

600 Capitol Way North
Olympic, WA 98501


And don’t forget to pick up your new license for 2014 before your next trip!

Posted in General Fishing, WDFW | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

How to Install Hatches and Deck Plates on Your Boat

To anyone who’s never done it before, installing a new ventilator, hatch or deck plate can seem a bit intimidating. But with the right guidance and tools, this relatively common modification to your boat becomes easy. Let’s take a look:

Look and Measure Twice

No matter where you decide to install the hatch or deck plate, the first thing is to find out what’s on the other side of the surface, whether it’s wiring, headliner material or a light fixture. This is one area where guesswork is out of the question.

Create a tape outline of where you plan to cut and then follow it with a bladeless saw to check for any possible interference, especially around corners. If there is, use a different saw or carefully cut through the area with a hand saw. You also want to make sure that the area does not have too much crown, as the hatch manufacturer specifies a set maximum amount of curvature the hatch can accommodate.

Making the Cut

First, trace the outline with the hatch itself or the supplied paper pattern, making sure it’s squared with the boat’s centerline. Cut any fabric out of the way on the other side before cutting through with a saber saw or, preferably, a hole saw or a circle cutter. If necessary, you can even use a rotary Dremel tool to cut through the area. Afterward, grab a piece of coarse sandpaper to smooth out the edges.

Luke sailboatSealing and Fairing Things Up

After you’ve made the cutout, you’ll have to trim away a small amount – approximately a half-inch or more – of the wood or foam core material. Sand the interior surface and then apply unthickened epoxy to the area. After thickening the epoxy to a peanut butter consistency with silica or fibers, fill the gap around the cutout and wait for the epoxy to cure.

Next, you’ll want to use a straightedge to measure the curvature across the deck, just beyond the cutout. For cutouts with a slight curve, you’ll want to use epoxy paste or fiberglass laminate to build up the deck surrounding the cutout. You can also use a flat-top spacer that mimics the deck curvature on the bottom. Avoid grinding down the crown, as it will only weaken the deck further.

Installation and Finishing

Now is the time to dry-fit the hatch and drill the pilot holes for the screws. Use masking tape to define the perimeter of the hatch, and then coat the area between the mask and cutout with sealant. Be sure to use silicone or a silicone/polyurethane blend for plastic hatch and deck plate frames or polysulfide for metal frames. At this point, drop the hatch over the cutout and tighten it evenly. Be careful not to over-tighten the screws – doing so will squeeze the sealant out by accident.

An improperly installed hatch can cause a variety of problems, especially if it’s not properly framed and sealed. You’ll want your hatch or deck plate to be as watertight as possible. A set of o-ring seals can help prevent water from leaking through by providing the tightest possible seal.

The final step involves allowing the sealant to cure for up to three days. Afterward, remove the excess from around the hatch frame with a hobby knife and remove the masking tape.

Keeping your boat in good shape is crucial to safety and the overall fun you’ll have with your boat. Make sure you’re as well-equipped as your boat by learning proper regulations in your area, including if you need a boating license in certain states.

Posted in Boating | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off

Wild & Scenic Nooksack River Green Drinks event this Wednesday

From the Confluence Fly Shop:

Join Green Drinks at the Confluence Fly Shop on February 5th
Please join us for the Wild & Scenic Nooksack River Green Drinks event this Wednesday, February 5th from 5pm – 7pm at The Confluence Fly Shop in downtown Bellingham.  Good conversation, good information, and good beer will all be on tap as you mingle with other river lovers and learn about the exciting campaign to protect the upper Nooksack River basin.  

Green Drinks is a monthly informal gathering and networking session for people who work or are interested in the environmental field.  These events are free and open to the public.  See the attached flyer for more information on this event, or visit to learn more about the Nooksack Wild & Scenic campaign.

Posted in Conservation, General Fishing | Comments Off

Boating Accessories to Complete Your Water Experience

A boat is just the beginning. Take your watercraft out a few times and you’ll realize that you’re just scratching the surface. Boating gadgets can turn your casual ride into a tricked-out adventure, and the market is rich with forward-thinking devices. Whether you aim to get a more precise location while you’re at sea or document your travels in the water, these toys will improve your boating experience time and time again.

Solar GPS

Photo by Nachoman-au via Flickr

Welcome to the 21st century, when maps take a back seat to electronic navigation devices. A solar GPS system is the modern way to track your location and chart your course. The JT600 Solar GPS tracker runs primarily on sunlight but also features a backup battery pack. It also features two-way voice calls and supports 64 geo-fencing capabilities. Most importantly, the JT600 is waterproof, so you don’t have to worry about handling it with too much care as you venture out on the water. After the essentials — basic boating supplies and a boating license — a GPS system could be the most important tool on your boat. A solar GPS system will keep you safe and on course, two of the most important things in boating.

Monster Wakeboard Tower

Photo by Riley Bathurst via Wikimedia Commons

A powerboat is at its best when someone is cruising on the wake behind it. Upgrade your boat with a wakeboard tower. These structures enable you to drag wakeboarders around the lake, and they also serve as place to mount lights, speakers and rod holders. Monster is the gold standard in wakeboard accessories, and its selection of towers ranges from $699 to $1299. For wakeboarders, they are a must. For everyone else, they are a nice addition to consider.

Subwing Flying Machine

If wakeboarding isn’t your thing, explore that water with the Subwing Flying Machine, which closely resembles the wings of a stringray. Attach it to your boat and grab hold for an unprecedented ride through the water. Best experienced in the ocean, the carbon fiber Subwing cuts through water so you can fly over the ocean floor for as long as you can hold your breath. Consider it during snorkling with an adrenaline boost. If you’re looking to add some thrills to your lazy beach day, the Subwing will deliver. Starting at $490, this adventure accessory is will reshape your boating experience.

Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 6

Sometimes you need to be a little closer to the water. The Sea-Doo Aqua Lounge 6 is like an inflatable hotel. Those plastic lounge comfortably seats six and features a built-in MP3 system, waterproof speakers and plenty of cupholders. When things get tight on the boat, this inflatable oasis will return you to a state of nirvana as you enjoy the water. Sea-Doo is currently running a special on the Aqua Lounge 6 for $409.

Countour Waterproof Camera

Document your wet and wild adventures with a GE high-definition underwater camera. With 1080p resolution and 4x zoom, this camera will capture the finest details of your relaxing time in the water. Use it as you snorkel or record your time on the boat with the peace of mind that your camera can handle inevitable splashes. offers a GE waterproof digital camera for $89.99.

Posted in Boating | Tagged , , , | Comments Off

Nooksack River Recreation Plan Open House Nov. 6th

The Nooksack River Recreation Plan Open House is scheduled for Wednesday November 6th from 6pm – 8pm at the Central Library in downtown Bellingham.

Also please feel free to share your ideas and usage of the beautiful Nooksack river through this short online survey.

Upper Nooksack Plan OpenHouse

Posted in Conservation | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Taking the Dog Fishing: Tips for a Fun Trip

A dog is a great companion and partner when it comes to hunting, camping, and many other outdoor activities. Fishing, however, is somewhat of a different story. Whether boat, wade, or shore fishing, it ultimately comes down to personal choice and your dog’s behavior when deciding to take him along. It also depends on whether your dog will be a spectator or a participant. There are a few things to keep in mind when making this decision.

Bass Fly Fishing

Photo by Flickr user OakleyOriginals

Leash Or Training

The motion when casting is very similar to when you throw a ball or some other object for a dog to fetch. An unleashed dog will likely see this and chase not only your hook into the water, but everyone else’s around you. The last thing you want to do is remove a hook from your dog’s mouth, or worse. The easiest way to take care of this is to leash your dog to a nearby tree. Of course, the dog may bark and whine because he or she is not close to you and the action. Others use a remote dog training collar from PetSafe to correct the behavior as it happens. Your dog can then roam free and learn not to interfere when casting.

Be A Polite Owner

Unless you have a private lake or happen to get very lucky, others will likely fish where you are. They are out there to fish and not deal with the noise and commotion of an ill-mannered dog. Though most dogs like water and the freedom of the outdoors, a fishing trip is not the best time to throw toys in the water for him to fetch. The general consensus from forums and personal experience is that most people do not mind your dog being there as long as it does not interfere with their own experience.

Wade Fishing With Your Dog

Some dogs are actually very good at fishing. If you’re going to allow your dog into the water to potentially catch fish himself, know all the different species of fish that are present. Some can actually harm your dog if they ingest the fish’s blood or outer skin.

Salmon Poisoning Disease can kill your dog if it comes into contact with the Nanophyetus salmincola parasite that itself is infected with a microorganism called Neorickettsia helminthoeca. Dogs are the only species of animal that can catch the disease, according to the Washington State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Salmon and other anadromous fish (those that swim upstream for breeding) are generally only found west of the Cascades, but exercise caution regardless.

Diarrhea, vomiting and/or general weakness days after catching a fish are some of the symptoms a dog will experience if infected. You should seek veterinary help immediately, as the parasite will kill a dog in as little as 14 days.

The last and best advice when taking your dog fishing is to exercise common sense. Everything else will generally take care of itself.

Posted in General Fishing | Comments Off

Nooksack River Recreation Survey

Do you love the Nooksack River?  Do you like fishing, boating, hiking, camping, and playing in the Nooksack River watershed?  Then tell American Rivers about it.  If you enjoy recreating in the Nooksack River corridor, please click on the link below to take a short survey on what you like to do and where you like to go when you head to the river.  Your feedback will help ensure that we have lots of beautiful places to fish, boat, hike, camp, and play along the river now and forever.  Please pass on to friends and family too! Thanks!!

Posted in Conservation, General Fishing | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off

2013 Skagit river and Nooksack river pink salmon report roundup

Pink salmon are officially in the Skagit river and Nooksack river for 2013. Mixed reports have been coming in for over a week now, with the strongest action being on the lower Skagit below Sedro Woolley. The most successful reports for the Nooksack river seem to be from the Lynden area with limits being reached in some cases.

Check out the following links for the most recent pink salmon reports.

Skagit River Pink Salmon reports

August 3rd Skagit river pink salmon report

August 4th Skagit river pink salmon report

August 5th and 6th Skagit pink salmon reports

Nooksack River Pink Salmon reports

July 31st Nooksack River pink salmon report

August 3rd Nooksack River pink salmon report

Whidbey Island 2013 pink salmon reports

August 5th and on Whidbey island pink salmon reports

Posted in Fishing reports | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

2013 is a Skagit River pink salmon year

With over a million pink salmon forecast for the Skagit River this year, it should make for some fast and furious action. Check the Skagit river page for more detailed information.

Pink salmon will be in the Nooksack as well this year, with the season kicking off July 16th. By most reckining it is an early run so get out there early. Remember to read the regulations carefully, as there are special regulations in place that prohibit bait and limit hook size.

Posted in General Fishing | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off