WDFW accepting proposed changes to freshwater fishing rules for 2015/16 season

WDFW is calling for public comments or proposals for freshwater fishing rule changes to sport opportunity in the Puget Sound region. If you have any ideas take a few minutes to submit them.

 

You can propose a fishing rule change online at: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/rule_proposals/ or obtain a submission form by calling (360) 902-2700.

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Fishing Gear to Take You to the Next Level

Ever since our ancestors first cast a line into a body of water and pulled out their first fish, the hobby and sport of fishing has thrilled and excited generations of people. Unlike some other hobbies though, fishing is constantly evolving based on dozens of variables and external conditions. Here are some accessories you can use to make your life a little easier.

Tackle Box

Traditional tackle boxes are a thing of the past. Today’s master angler much prefers a versatile option like the Wildhorse Tech Pack from Fishpond, especially if you’ll be moving around while you fish. This vest/backpack combo has multiple front pockets to keep all your bait and tackle, as well replaceable fly benches to hold your lures. The back holds up to 1,300 cubic inches of gear and includes a pouch for your hydration bladder. It is also mesh lined to help keep you cool under the sun.

Eye Protection

Standing out in the sun all day can wreak havoc on your eyes. The combination of direct sunlight and reflected light off the water makes it not only hard to see, but can cause eyestrain and headaches. Enlist a pair of quality sunglasses like the Holbrook line from Oakley. When combined with replacement lenses from Revant, you can have different colored lenses for different lighting situations so you’re always covered.

The Right Tool

Preparing your line can often be a hassle, especially if the weather isn’t on your side. With a Minke line tool, replacing hooks and lures is a snap. It lets you quickly remove your old hook, then thread and knot the new one all with one quick device. A multi-tool is another must-have for any serious fisherman who wants to be prepared for the unexpected.

Find ‘em Fast

The aid of a quality fish finder can turn a weekend of fishing from a long, uneventful experience to a thrill-packed adventure. The echoMAP 53dv from Garmin has a color 5-inch screen, DownVu scanning sonar, and comes pre-loaded with LakeVu maps covering over 17,000 U.S. lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. It also has a built in GPS so you can remember where that perfect fishing hole was next time you visit.

Keep ‘em Safe

With fishing becoming more and more popular as a sport activity, following catch-and-release procedures is vital. Steps like folding in barbs on hooks and getting the fish in the water as soon as possible are important, but so is your handling of the fish. Having a FishGrabber by HyPark can help protect the fish by not injuring or puncturing it while you remove the hook, and it preserves the layer of slime that is essential for the fish’s health.

Wherever you go and whatever your fish of choice, make sure you are taking advantage of all the tools and accessories available to help make your fishing adventures as fun and successful as possible. Happy fishing!

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Destinations: A tranquil fishing resort

Konocti: A tranquil fishing resort

Finding new fishing destinations are fairly easy to come by down the West Coast of the United States. But finding a nice tranquil spot that has something different to offer can be an intriguing prospect.

One such place that we recently stumbled across was the Konocti Vista Casino that looks out over the beautiful Clear Lake in Northern California. The marina is situated in a private cove that allows easy access to Clear Lake for all visitors and is a truly delightful sight at night.

But what makes this casino establishment such an interesting hub for fishing fanatics apart from the glorious Clear Lake? Every year Konocti holds its annual Bass Fishing Tournaments. The next tournament is the Spring Classic, which will be held on May 2-3, 2015 and has proved to be a very popular event among bass anglers in California.

Konocti also offers a variety of watersports, its many gaming amenities but most of all a welcoming family atmosphere. There’s a wealth of accommodation options available to visitors of Konocti. Onsite hotel rooms can be booked but it is advised to book well in advance because the hotel gets extremely busy during the summer months, and while the Bass Fishing Tournaments are taking place throughout the year.

The resort has an abundance of camping options for the people who would rather be at one with nature and the enjoy breathing in the crisp fresh country air. There’s an onsite RV Park that helps make the resort ideal for long weekend stopovers or camping trips during the tournament and summer seasons.

It’s a clever business plan by Konocti Vista Casino as many small casinos in the United States have fallen victim to the uprising of online gaming since it became accessible to people in 1996 through the trailblazing InterCasino. Unfortunately for the brick and mortar casino industry many people now choose to spend their money online as opposed to traveling to their nearby casino. Hence why Konocti and other relatively small casinos have had to offer more diverse entertainment to the consumer. Fortunately for Konocti, events like the Bass Fishing Tournaments bring in welcomed revenues that help keep this beautiful resort running.

So, if you’re ever venturing to the Northern parts of California consider staying at Konocti Vista Casino for a relaxing spot of fishing on the mesmeric Clear Lake during the summer. You won’t be disappointed.

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3 Dual-Purpose Tools for Hunting and Fishing

The avid outdoorsman with a competitive spirit not only loves harvesting a white-tail deer with the perfect lung shot, but also takes pride in reeling in the most or largest fish in friendly competition amongst the group. Each activity requires its own separate equipment, which can get expensive particularly for those who want only the best.

Some items can be used for both activities, which can save you money and streamline the process when planning to hunt and fish in one outing. These three items will enhance all fishing and hunting excursions, and prevent the prospect of doubling-up on similar equipment.Fishing in a river

Kifaru Spike Camp Backpack

Early season white tail deer hunting starts at the end of September or sometime in October in most jurisdictions. This time is mostly reserved for bow hunters who don’t mind braving the mosquitoes and muggy late-summer weather that comes with it in some states. Early season deer hunting also coincides with late-season trout fishing. The Kifaru Spike Camp is the perfect backpack for both activities.

The terrain you must scale in states like Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon to find the best hunting and fishing spots requires free hands and arms for balance and climbing purposes. The 2,400 cubic inches of space inside the Spike Camp is enough to carry all your equipment, along with a rifle or shotgun. It has a water bladder compartment so you can eliminate the need for a canteen and the noise it makes while drinking those last few swallows.

A rain jacket, fly boxes, extra reel, and knife are some of the items you’ll want to take along for backcountry fly fishing. There’s also plenty of room for waders, and enough straps on the outside to carry the wet, muddy ones home. The Kifaru Spike Camp is a bit on the pricey side, but worth every penny for serious hunters and anglers.

Under Armour All-Purpose Field Pants

Autumn means unpredictable weather in most parts of the country. Staying dry is important for both your health and comfort. Under Armour makes the perfect all-purpose field pants that also provide plenty of storage space.

Its patented Storm DWR finish makes the pants water and wind resistant, and are rugged enough to endure some of the toughest punishment possible. Six pockets allow you to carry a multitude of items that are readily accessible at a moment’s notice. There are also draw cords at the bottom of the pants to prevent brush and critters from crawling up your legs.

Hunting and fishing retailers like Cabela’s carry them, and typically offer discounts when you purchase them online.

Laguiole Folder Knife

You need a sharp, flexible knife to cut the breast meat from the bone of waterfowl when preparing for cooking. Filleting a fish, particularly trout, also requires a very sharp, flexible blade that is long enough to separate the meat from the rib bones. The Laguiole Folder Knife can serve both purposes.

Field & Stream ranked Laguiole Folders one of the 10 best hunting and fishing knives of 2012. The French company has been making knives since 1829, which have earned the reputation of staying sharp for a long time and never rusting. Unfortunately the company’s founders did not patent the brand, so there are several knock-offs that appear online before the authentic ones.

To ensure you’re getting an authentic Laguiole Folder, buy it from the company’s official website. Make sure the knife comes with the a warranty if you buy it from a third-party. Keep in mind Laguioles are priced in euros, so you’ll need to multiply the price by the current exchange rate of 1.25.

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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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