Committee members sought for Puget Sound recreational fisheries enhancement group

WDFW is actively looking for members to serve on a committee that will oversee the Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement group. This is a good opportunity for a volunteer position that can help out with decisions that effect our fisheries. For more information see the WDFW news release at http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/sep1114b/

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Most Productive Fishing Spots in Washington State

As any avid fisherman living in Washington knows, there are practically an endless number of fantastic fishing destinations, from salt water fishing along the Pacific coast to freshwater fishing in lakes, streams and rivers across the state.

If you plan to drive your own boat, keep in mind that you’re required to have a current Washington Boater Education Card to operate motorized watercraft that is 15 HP or more. It’s a fairly easy process, and study materials and the boater exam can be found right online.

With so many options, deciding where to go for the best angling experience is almost overwhelming, but this list reveals a few of the top fishing spots for you to consider.

Conconully Reservoir

Conconully Reservoir in eastern Washington is a nearly 400-acre lake well-known for its rainbow trout, which are typically pulled in at a range of 10 to 12 inches with holdover fish of up to 15 inches. Other prominent fish include kokanee, which reach about 12 inches, and bass. In order to limit competition with trout species, anglers are encouraged to take as many bass as the daily limit allows.

According to the scoreboard at WashingtonLakes.com, Conconully ranks number one for lake fishing across the state. Fishing the upper reservoir in the early morning and late evening hours is optimal. If you’re trying to hook rainbows or bass, fish close to the shore. Kokanee are typically pulled in closer to the middle of the lake.Fishing in a river

Lake Washington

You might be surprised to learn that one of the most well-known bodies of water in the western half of the state, Lake Washington, is home to numerous sockeye salmon as well as large cutthroat and even a few smallmouth bass.

While it’s worth casting your line just about anywhere in this 20-mile-long lake, some of the hottest spots tend to be around the I-90 and Highway 520 floating bridges as well as the waters that surround Mercer Island. On the sound end, water between the mouth of the Cedar River and Rainier Beach is said to be productive.

If you hope to catch sockeye salmon, it’s best to arrive early in the morning on a cloudy day. The Washington State Department of Fish & Wildlife reports that it took afternoon and evening anglers twice the time to catch a sockeye as compared to those who fished in the morning. The fish seem to have a preference for a depth of 30 to 60 feet with the majority located between 35 and 55 feet.

Westport

If you’d like to try your hand at saltwater fishing, Westport is often referred to as the salmon fishing capitol of the world. It’s a natural interception point for salmon that are fattening up for their migration up the Washington, Oregon and Canadian rivers to spawn, WashingtonLakes.com reports.

There are a number of charter tour companies that take anglers out for single or multi-day trips to catch salmon as well as tuna, halibut, sturgeon and cod. Ilwaco and Westport are the most common launching sites, and anglers experienced in this region typically recommend the buoys just outside the mouth of Grays Harbor and about 10 miles offshore. Salmon fishing is continuing to surpass expectations with 35 pounders crossing the docks and Coho getting bigger by the week.

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Summer Crab catch record cards due this month

Reminder that all summer crab catch cards are due by October 1st. WDFW is still fining $10 for all cards not turned in, so be sure to do this to avoid a fine when buying your license next year.

Crabbers can submit catch record cards to WDFW by mail at CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia, WA 98501-1091. They can also report their catch online at >https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/wdfw/puget_sound_crab_catch.html from Sept. 2 through Oct. 1.

Sport crabbers who fish for Dungeness crab in any area of Puget Sound after Sept. 1 must record their harvest on winter catch record cards. Winter cards, which are free to those with crab endorsements, are available at sporting goods stores and other license vendors across the state.

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Top 4 Fishing Kayaks With the Best Storage Options

shutterstock_151222223 (1)Only paddlesport enthusiasts who double as anglers really know the thrill of taking a kayak out on a day trip or tour loaded with everything you need for a unique fishing adventure. A 2011 Topline survey found a drastic jump in national interest in paddlesport recreation. According to the survey, more than 8 million people reported participating in recreational kayaking—a 31 percent increase over the previous three years. When choosing a kayak to take out on a fishing trip, storage space should be a defining factor in your kayak decision. Here are some of the best storage-friendly fishing kayaks.

Strike 120X Angler

The Strike 120X Angler is a 12 foot sit-on-top fishing kayak for the discriminating angler. Both stable and maneuverable, the Strike 120X Angler is great for both intermediate and beginner fishermen looking for the right one-man kayak. With a bow-hinged quick-locking hatch and easily accessible day hatch, the Strike 120X has plenty of storage options for small items like spray-on sunscreen and daily essentials like trail mix and bottled water. On the Strike 120X’s stern is a bungee-topped storage space for backpacks and camping gear, and the swivel rod holder allows you to lean back and enjoy the flow of the river, lake or ocean without worrying about losing your rod.

Enduro 12 Angler

The Enduro 12 Angler is like wish-fulfillment for those who need more storage capacity than the average paddler. The Enduro Angler possesses two sealed bulkhead storage compartments, making it perfect for storing all the camping gear you need to glide through coves and lakes without having to worry about running out of supplies. The Enduro 12 Angler’s foredeck contains ample shock-cord storage and paddle space, while its built-in 360 degree rod holder easily fits many types of rods and reels. For the serious angler looking for a durable camping kayak, the Enduro 12 Angler is an affordable option.

Wilderness Ride 135 Advance Angler

Known for their stability and performance, the Wilderness Systems Ride line of kayaks are some of the best for serious kayak fishers. The Ride 135’s bow hatch is perfect for larger items like camping gear, whereas necessary items like polarized replacement lenses for your Oakleys are easily accessed from the smaller 8-inch hatch midship. Tackle boxes fit perfectly in the space under the Ride 135’s leg-lifters, and the flat surface design of the kayak allows for gear to be lashed on with bungee cords for easy storage.

StraitEdge Angler

This is a lightweight and easily transported inflatable kayak. When collapsed, the StraitEdge Angler takes up only about 5,100 cubic inches of storage space. When inflated, the StraitEdge offers two rod holders as well as a bungee deck and D-rings designed to provide a ton of storage options in a minimal space. The StraitEdge easily accepts many aftermarket fishing rail-mounts for total customization. This unique combination of characteristics means that the StraitEdge Angler isn’t just a fishing kayak with great storage options for the cost and size, but it’s also a kayak that’s easy to store—so easy, in fact it might even fit in your other kayak’s bulkhead! An incredibly lightweight 41 pounds, this kayak is perfect for the minimalist kayak fisherman who wants to make sure everything he packs makes the most efficient use of storage space.

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Lots of fishing opportunities to explore this summer

Summer in Whatcom County is a special time; not only because the rain subsides long enough for us to dry out a bit and dust off the moss and mold.  Along with the dryer weather come some unique fishing opportunities that shouldn’t be missed.

Alpine lakes

First, as dry warm weather continues to melt snow alpine lakes begin to emerge from under the snowpack and bug and fish life begin in earnest. That are a ton of alpine lakes in the Mt. Baker Snoqualmie wilderness that have fish – mainly cutthroat and brook trout. Check the regs before fishing anything, and even use the reg book as a guide to find what waters are open and have fish.

Check the Whatcom lakes section for a list of some of the lakes available to fish.

Bass

Bass are warm water creatures, so with warm temperatures they begin to feed and the opportunity for blasting topwater takes steps up a notch. Check out Terrell and Fazon in Whatcom County and Clear and Big Lake in Skagit for opportunities. More information is available here http://www.fishwhatcom.com/lakesrivers/

Crabbing

Summer crabbing season is open in Marine Area 7 south and lower marine areas. 7 North doesn’t open until mid August, but expect good crabbing when it does. There have been good reports of crab this year so get some while it’s open.

Sockeye

Baker Lake should be winding down by now, and the river opener is long past. The Fraser river is expecting record returns so this year might be a good time to look north. Licenses are more expensive for non-residents, but the fishing can make the cost well worth it.

For more opportunities explore the archives of the forum as a lot of good information is available from years past. Access the Forum by clicking here.

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Explorations Academy Summer FlyFishing Whatcom County class

Explorations Academy is an independent, experiential high school here in Bellingham. Our Summer Adventure Institute offers summer classes that are active, engaging, and fun!

Students can earn high school credit with each of our Summer Adventure Institute classes for additional surcharge. For more information about credits and transcripts, please contact Explorations Academy’s main office: (360) 671-8085.

Details:Summer Adventure Institute Flyfishing Whatcom County class

  • You do not have to be an Explorations Academy student to enroll in a Summer Adventure Institute class.
  • The summer flyfishing class is called “Flyfishing Whatcom County” and is geared toward beginners.
  • The dates for this class are July 7 – 11. The registration deadline for Flyfishing Whatcom County is June 30, 5pm.
  • Students will learn how to tie basic flies, how to cast, techniques, bugs/macro-invertebrates, and more.
  • The class will begin with covering the basics on Whatcom Creek, and then move on to other local streams and lakes.
  • Minimum age to participate is 14.
  • It costs $400 to register. All gear will be provided, except for fishing license. Students must posses a WA state combo (salt and freshwater) fishing license prior to the beginning of class.
  • Financial aid may be available depending on the number of applicants.
  • Other Summer Adventure Institute classes are nature writing, rock climbing, computer animation, and musical improv.
  • To register, participants should contact Explorations Academy’s main office: (360) 671-8085.
  • More information can be found at http://explorationsacademy.org/academics/summer-adventure-institute

 

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Jeremy Wade Fans: Where to Catch Your Own River Monster

Fans of Jeremy Wade’s “River Monsters” know that monsters are real and, with a little skill and hard work, can be caught. Catching a monster fish can be a ticket to fame. The New Zealand Sport Fishing Council recently stated that the biggest fish ever caught and recorded by a female angler was a 907-pound bluefin tuna caught by Donna Pascoe this year, and the sport fishing world has exploded with interest. While many freshwater monsters are currently over-fished, there are still places for the adventurous angler to seek a unique and jaw-dropping trophy for themselves.

Alligator Gar- Trinity River, Texas

The Alligator Gar is known for its long, alligator-like snout and double rows of imposing teeth. The largest freshwater fish in North America, the Alligator Gar can reach 6 feet in length, weigh up to 200 pounds and can trace its origins to the Cretaceous period. Once considered an invasive nuisance, Alligator Gar were targeted by many state and federal game and fish authorities in the United states for elimination, which has dwindled their habitats to rivers in the southern states.

Photo by Clinton & CHarles Robertson via Wikimedia Commons

To catch these monsters, you’ll need a restricted license and a boat that can stride the stump-laden and Amazon-like banks of the Trinity river, as well as a lot of time to explore. The Texas State Historical Association reports that the Trinity River is the longest river with its whole course contained within Texas and stretches 423 miles from the crux of the West and Elm forks to the coast.

Hucho Taimen- Delger Muron River, Mongolia

Taimen are the largest members of the salmon family, a fierce predator known to snatch waterfowl right off the surface of the water. According to National Geographic, Taimen are capable of growing more than six feet in length and weighing up to 200 pounds. Due to the fragile nature of the Taimen’s continued existence, adventurous anglers must practice catch-and-release fishing and use barbless hooks so this monolithic river fish might survive as a species.

Photo by Ojensen via Wikimedia Commons

If you’re looking to catch the largest salmon in the world, you’ll need to travel overland through Mongolia to the Eg-Ur Basin, which is no easy task in of itself. A wise traveler would plan to bring camping gear as well as a satellite phone if they plan on keeping any contact with the outside world during the long trek.

Giant Freshwater Stingray- Mae Klong River, Thailand

Found through many rivers in Southeast Asia, the Giant Freshwater Stingray can grow to a terrifying 1,000 pounds and measure almost 15 feet in width. Armed with a tail that carries a serrated spike that is often more than afoot long, the Giant Freshwater Stingray is seen as a bringer of bad luck by many locals. Catching one is a tremendous challenge— these giants tend to bury themselves in mud when hooked and can sink riverboats by just pulling a line. Another endangered giant, sport anglers should respect its status and practice catch-and-release fishing, especially as many locals kill the stingray regardless of whether or not it is going to be used for food.

Photo by Barry Rogge via Wikimedia Commons

The Mae Klong river can be reached by road when driving out of Bangkok. The adventurous traveler should consider traveling through the Mae Klong Railway Market while in the area. The Railway Market is built just inches from a railway that the government built right through the center of it, and local vendors sell scores of unique local seafood. They might even have some tips for the visiting fisherman.

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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: http://www.fishwhatcom.com/lakesrivers/

WDFW has released a list of stocked lakes, showing the number of trout going into each. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/statewide/.

And be sure to read up on the regs before heading out. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ and pick up a license at a local vendor or online.

silver lake rainbow trout fly fishing2

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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:

WDFW CRC Unit
600 Capitol Way North
Olympic, WA 98501

 

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

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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.

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