Puget Sound Fishing Guides Organization
Summer crabbing season to open in Puget Sound
OLYMPIA – Sport
crabbers planning to fish for crab in Puget Sound this summer will find
the upcoming season similar to last year’s, including catch-reporting
procedures required by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
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The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available in WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet on the website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm.
North Puget Sound
Fishing: The steelhead fishery in the region is winding down, with a number of rivers and streams closing to sport fishing at the end of February. Meanwhile, the blackmouth season is in full swing out on Puget Sound, where anglers are hooking some nice salmon.
"The San Juan Islands continue to be strong for blackmouth fishing," said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW fish biologist. "It’s not as hot as it was a couple weeks ago, but anglers are still doing well throughout the islands."
Anglers participating in the recent Roche Harbor Salmon Derby took advantage of the good fishing. A total of 344 anglers landed 115 fish during the derby, which took place Feb. 5-7. Shannon Terrell finished first in the derby with an 18-pound, 6-ounce chinook. The Bellingham resident took home $10,000, while Wayne Logsdon of Mount Vernon pocketed $5,000 for his second-place 16.1-pound salmon. Bret Thurman of Orcas Island was awarded $1,500 for his third-place fish, which weighed in at 15.15 pounds.
Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) can keep two hatchery chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. They must, however, release wild chinook, which have an intact adipose fin. Thiesfeld reminds anglers that - unlike in previous years - selective gear rules apply through April 15 in the Marine Area 7 blackmouth fishery.
Elsewhere, blackmouth fisheries in marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) continue to be slow, Thiesfeld said. Anglers in those two areas, as well as Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet), also can keep two hatchery chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.
Time is running out for steelheaders in the region. A number of the region’s rivers, including the Snohomish, Nooksack and Skykomish close to steelhead fishing at the end of the month.
Most areas of the Skagit River, however, remain open for the harvest of hatchery steelhead through March 15, said Brett Barkdull, WDFW fish biologist. Although the Skagit, from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to the Cascade River, will be open to catch-and-release for all steelhead from March 16 through April 30.
Barkdull reminds steelheaders on the Skagit fishing from boats, sleds or any other floating device equipped with a gas or electric motor that it's illegal to fish while under power during the catch-and-release season that begins March 16.
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Cutthroat trout fishing in Lake Washington is still an option. Anglers have had success in recent weeks hooking trout around the creek mouths. The daily limit is five trout, but rainbow trout measuring more than 20 inches and steelhead must be released. Beginning March 1, trout must measure at least 12 inches in length to be retained.
For more information on the rules and regulations for Lake Washington, as well as other freshwater and saltwater fisheries, check WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm ).
Hunting: WDFW is accepting applications for spring black bear hunting permits through March 13. To be eligible for a permit, hunters must purchase a special permit application and a 2009 hunting license that includes bear as a species option. A drawing will be held in mid-March for 295 permits in western Washington and 225 permits on the east side of the state. Successful applicants will be notified by March 31.
Hunting licenses, bear transport tags and bear permit applications may be purchased online ( https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ ), by phone (866-246-9453) or at any license vendor in the state. Applications, which require a correct hunt choice number, may be submitted online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ or by calling (877) 945-3492.
Wildlife viewing: With spring just around the corner, the weather has become a bit more cooperative for birders, who have found a number of interesting species throughout the region. On a return visit to Lummi Island, one birder spotted several pigeon guillemots - birds he saw days earlier in winter plumage. "I returned to Lummi Island and many of the guillemots there were in breeding plumage, with only a minority of the birds I saw still in their winter coats," the birder reported on Tweeters website ( http://www.scn.org/earth/tweeters/ ). While in breeding plumage, the stocky birds with bright red feet, are solid black with white wing patches.
Farther south, a birder visiting from South
Carolina was surprised by several birds he spotted while staying in the
Seward Park area. Noisy Steller’s and western
scrub jays , caught the birders attention, as well as the
golden-crowned sparrows in the area. The birder also
was surprised by the size of the region’s crows. "Your local
American crows sure are small," he noted on Tweeters. "Clearly,
there's a lot of Northwestern crow happening in their DNA."