February 2012 Fishing Report Mayberry

Fishing Report provided by Mayberry Sporting Goods

 

Lakes       Rivers     BC, Canada    Saltwater

February, 2012

Submitted By Eli Michael

Note: Always check Regs. and check the WDFW (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife) website before you head out so that you do not get a ticket. Regulations often change without notice throughout a season so the best way to make sure you are legal is to check the regulations yourself.

February is another month for Steelhead and Blackmouth.
February is often the best month for Steelhead unfortunately many of our local rivers are either closing February 1st. or the 16th. Steelhead have been showing up in the Nooksack and Skagit systems since the end of November and fishing should improve as more fish show up this month. Fishing for Blackmouth picked up quite a bit in January and could very well improve this month. Come in and we will keep you posted.

Lake Report

Baker Lake: Closed until next April

Cain Lake:Cain Lake is 72 acres.  The two pole endorsement is valid on this lake.Closed until next April.

Lake Fazon:Lake Fazon is 32 Acres.  Two pole endorsement is valid on this lake.  Lake Fazon is open year round.From now until Jan. 15th fishing from any floating device is prohibited.

Not much is happening on Fazon.  The cold weather we have been having will slow the fish down.  Boats are allowed on Fazon this month.  Some of the more dedicated bass fishermen in our community begin fishing in February.  Warming trends will definitely get fish more active.  More active translates into not very active however.

Padden:Lake Padden is 152 acres.  A two pole endorsement is valid on this lake.  Closed until next April.

Lake Samish: Lake Samish is 814 acres.  A two pole endorsement is valid on Lake Samish.  This lake is open year round.

This year Lake Samish will be planted with 673,504 Kokanee fry.

Lake Samish has Kokanee, Cutthroat Trout, Rainbow Trout, Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth Bass, and Yellow Perch.  Peamouth Chub are also abundant in this lake.  People often refer to them as Squawfish.

I have not heard much about anybody catching Kokanee for a while.  With our cold weather if any are available they may be found in deep water.

Yellow Perch are abundant in this lake.  Your problem may not be catching them but finding ones that are big enough to eat.  They will often school according to size.  If you find some large ones then you are good to go. If you decide to keep some to eat you will discover that they are one of the best eating fish in fresh or salt water.  With the weather we have had I would expect the perch to be in fairly deep water (40-80 ft.).  Fish a nightcrawler along the bottom at different depths.  Once you start catching fish then it is a safe bet that you have found the depth at which they are hanging out.

Silver Lake:Silver Lake is 172 acres.  A two pole endorsement is valid on Silver Lake.Closed until next April.

Squalicum Lake:Squalicum Lakeis 33 acres.  A two pole endorsement is not valid on lake.  SqualicumLake is open year round.  Squalicum Lake is a fly fishing only lake. 

This year Squalicum Lake was planted with 162 Triploid Rainbow Trout in April and 20,000 Tiger Trout fry. This averages out to 5 Triploid Rainbow Trout per acre.

I have not heard any reports lately about the fishing on this lake.  The weeds will be cleared out on this lake which should make fishing a whole lot easier.

Lake Terrell:Lake Terrell is 438 acres.  A two pole endorsement is valid on Lake Terrell.  Lake Terrell is open year round.From now until Jan. 15th. Fishing from a floating device is prohibited on this lake.

This year Lake Terrell was planted with 820 Triploid Rainbow Trout in April.  That averages out to 2 fish per acre.

Not much is happening on this lake at the moment.  There is a good amount of shore access on and there may be a few large triploid rainbows biting.  If you have the patience you can also try slowly working lures such as plastic worms or jigs for largemouth bass.

Boats are allowed on Terrell this month.

Toad Lake:Toad Lake is 30 acres.  A two pole endorsement is valid on Toad Lake.  Toad Lake is closed until next April.

Lake Whatcom:  Lake Whatcom is 5003 acres.  A two pole endorsement is not valid on this lake.  LakeWhatcom is closed until next April.

Wiser Lake:Wiser Lake is 103 acres.  A two pole endorsement is valid at Wiser Lake. Wiser Lake is open year round.

Not much is happening at the time.  Bass fishing might be worth a try though they might be in winter slow mode.

River Report

Cascade River:Opens June 1st. to Feb. 16th.The Cascade was scheduled to close the 28th. it has been changed to the 16th.

The Cascade River hatchery released 266,000 Steelhead Smolt in 2007, 185,000 in 2008, 146,000 in 2009, and 201,000 in 2010.

This is definitely a river that can stand a little rain and even quite a bit.  The nicest thing about this river is that it will stay in shape when all other rivers are blown out.  The worst thing about this river is that it drops into shape so quickly that it will become too clear soon after a good rain.

This river hosts an early run of hatchery Steelhead so it tends to slow down in January and into February.  This does not mean that there will not be fish around.  Fishing will just be slower and there should be less crowds.

The Cascade is a small river so unless the river is running high small presentations will be the ticket.  In high water sand shrimp, prawns, roe, or pink worms with a bright corky or spin-n-glo can be the ticket.  In low or clear water then small egg clusters, artificial eggs, jigs, glo-bugs, pieces of prawn, spoons, or spinners are all good choices.

This river is one of the best producers of steelhead in the area so a crowd can be expected.  Even if you get there for first light there will still be competition.  Either getting there super early or showing up later after the crowd has left should be your best bet.

There should be some Dolly Varden in the Cascade at this time.

From Rockport Cascade Rd. Bridge upstream including forks:  Catch and release except up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Check regs. for details.Closed until June

Nooksack River:Most of the river is closed this month except for a small stretch of the North Fork which will closed February 16th.

Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200

February is always the top month as the bulk of the run generally shows up later in the season.  Unfortunately the majority of the river is closing February 1st. this year as revised by WDFW.

From Lummi Indian Reservation Boundary to Hwy. 544 Bridge at Everson.  Closed until June.

From Hwy. 544 Bridge in Everson to yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming.

Closed for the until June

From yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming to confluence of the North and South Forks.

Closed until next October.

North Fork: from mouth to Maple Creek.  Opens First Saturday in June to Feb. 16th.

Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200

Note:  The stretch from Mosquito Lake Rd. Bridge to the yellow marker above the hatchery finally re-opened!

The North Fork of the Nooksack receives the returning run of hatchery Steelhead at the Kendall Creek Hatchery.  This of course makes it the best area to fish for hatchery Steelhead and this stretch of river also hosts a healthy native run of fish that generally show up later in the season.

The North Fork is constantly changing its course as much of it winds through areas which are wide, flat and gravelly.

This will keep you on your toes because the hot spots will change from season to season and even during the season if we get lots of high water.

This stretch of river is very conducive to float fishing.  Fishing a float and eggs, jigs, pink worms, shrimp, or yarn should definitely pull fish out of the runs and pocket water that hold fish.  Drift fishing is another option if you are fishing a deep hole or if you are unfamiliar with float fishing.

Popular colors for Steelhead include: Pink, Black, Purple, Red, Orange, White, and Chartreuse.  Popular colors for Spoons and Spinners include Gold, Copper, Silver, and Black.

If you find some slower holes then spinners, spoons or jigs are definitely worth a shot.

Check Regs for details.

North Fork: from Maple Creek to Nooksack Falls:   Closed until next June.

Nooksack River: Upstream of Nooksack Falls including all tributaries and their tributaries: Closed until next June.

Middle Fork: From mouth to city of Bellingham Diversion Dam. Selective gear rules check regs. for details.Closed until next June.

South Fork:  From mouth to Skookum Creek.  Closed until next June.

Whatcom Creek:Most of the creek opens First Saturday in June check regs. for details.

From Mouth to Yellow markers below foot bridge below Dupont St.  Open First Saturday in June. Opens for salmon August 1st.

Steelhead smolt release counts for Whatcom Creek: 2007-0, 2008-5,000 2009-44,462 2010-0

Whatcom Creek has re-opened for fishing! 

Not much will be happening in Whatcom Creek until they re-open it.  Hopefully they will re-open it soon.

A good number of Steelhead Smolt were released in 2009 and this might translate to some good fishing in Whatcom Creek this winter.

The mouth of the creek at Maritime Heritage Center will be a good place to intercept returning Steelhead.  I would try drifting roe or Corky and yarn.  Casting Spinners and spoons may also be well worth a shot.

From footbridge below Dupont St. to Woburn St. Bridge: Opens from first Saturday in June to February 28th

If the creek is not running too high then Steelhead fishing from Woburn Street down may also be a good bet. This creek is very conducive to float fishing and also would be good for casting spinners or spoons.

This stretch of creek can provide excellent fishing for small cutthroat.  Look for shady spots riffles or deeper runs and there should definitely be some fish to be had.

If you can make room to cast a small fly rod then small nymph patterns should do the trick.

If you are using spinning gear then a bobber and worm or egg combination will produce.  Another productive approach is to cast small (1/16-1/8) oz. spinners or spoons such as Rooster Tails or Little Cleos.

The fish in Whatcom Creek are generally small cutthroat that rarely exceed 10 inches.  It is a quality fishery that is often overlooked and is right in the heart of the city.

From Stone Bridge at Whatcom Falls Park to Lake Whatcom: Open from last Saturday in April to October 31st.  Open to juvenile anglers only (under 15 yrs. Old).Closed until next April.

Samish River:Opens first Saturday in June

From mouth (Samish Island/Bayview Edison Rd. Bridge) to 1-5 bridge.  Opens for Salmon Aug. 1st.

Steelhead release counts over the past few years: 2007-0 2008-34,800 2009-0 2010-0.  The Samish RiverHatchery is no longer releasing Steelhead Smolt.Closed until next June.

From 1-5 Bridge to Hickson Bridge:  Open from 1st. Saturday in June until March 31st.

Closed until next June.

Skagit River:

From mouth to Hwy. 536 at Mount Vernon: Open year round:Closed until next June. Skagit RiverSteelhead counts. (These counts include fish released from Skagit River tributaries such as the CascadeRiver.)  2007-511,600 2008-235,010 2009-174,000 2010-231,500

From Hwy. 536 at Mount Vernon to mouth of Gilligan Creek:Closed until next June.

From Mouth of Gilligan Creek to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete: Closed until next June.

From Dalles Bridge at Concrete to Hwy. 530 Bridge at Rockport: Closed until next June.

 

Hwy. 530 bridge at Rockport to Cascade River Rd.:  Open until February16th.

There is good water for drift fishing on this stretch of river.  It is also a popular area for jets and drift boats. The most popular methods for fishing this stretch of river include side drifting eggs or pulling plugs.

Skagit River from Cascade River Rd. to Gorge Powerhouse at Newhalem:  Selective Gear Rules Catch and release except up to two hatcheries Steelhead may be retained.Closed until Next June.

B.C. River Report

Fraser River: The Fraser River is open year round.  Be very sure to check the regs. before you head out as BC fisheries are highly dependent on emergency openings and closures. 

Sturgeon fishing is always an option and allows us an opportunity to fish big game fish right in our back yard. When the salmon are running in the river sturgeon will become very active as they will feed on the spawned out fish that are drifting down the river.  Keeping this in mind.  Salmon parts make excellent sturgeon bait at this time of year.

Cutthroat Trout fishing should also be an option this time of year.

Vedder/Chilliwack River:  The Vedder will open to all methods of fishing July 1st.

Steelhead fishing should significantly pick up on the Vedder this month as fishing on the Vedder gets much better as the season progresses.

The Steelhead run on the Vedder typically starts a little later than other rivers.  It usually starts to heat up in January and gets better from then on out.

There will be some Steelhead in the river this month and the fishing will definitely be worth a shot.

As with all fishing on the Vedder float fishing is the most popular method for Steelhead.  Popular baits include roe, shrimp, jigs, and yarn.  Artificial eggs such as Jensen Eggs and EZ Eggs are also a productive and popular choice.  Spinners and spoons are also good choices especially in deeper and slower stretches.

The Vedder is a premier Steelhead river and can produce good numbers of Steelhead all winter some of which can exceed 20 lbs.

Area 7 Saltwater Report:

Note: all fishing in Area 7 limits fishermen to 2 single point barbless hooks.

Salmon: Open from December 1st. to April 30th.

January was a rough month for getting out on the water.  Not a lot of fishermen made it out but at times the fishing was very good for those who did make it.

There will be a couple of derbies this month.  The Frank Wilson Memorial Derby begins February 1st. and the Roche Harbor Derby takes place February 3rd. and 4th.

Derbies and fish counts can often give an indication of the numbers of fish being caught.  The best way to find out how the fishing has been is through personal experience.

The Resurrection Derby had taken place from December 1st. to December 3rd.

This year 200 fishermen entered and weighed in 96 fish.  This number is quite a bit lower than last year.  The winning fish were bigger than last year’s however.

Trolling is by far the most popular method of Blackmouth fishing in the San Juans.  Black and white, green and white, white, and chartreuse are the most popular colors for trolling.  Spoons such as Coho Killers, Kingfisher Lites, Tailwagger Spoons, and Coyote Spoons are all very effective and popular. 3.5 to 4 in. being the most popular and productive sizes.  Hoochies and needlefish squid are also very popular and productive.  When using a hoochie it is best to add a tinsel skirt and tip the top hook with either a strip of salted herring or a piece of Berkley Gulp herring strip.  Herring either cut plug or fished in a helmet is also a productive choice.  Brining your herring will bring out the shine in your bait and toughen it up a bit.  All of these presentations can enhanced with a flasher.

Blackmouth generally run along the bottom so for the most part you will have most of your luck fishing the lower 15 ft. of the water column.  Note that there will be an angle on your downrigger cable.  Let out extra line on the downrigger to compensate for this angle to reach the proper depth.  Blackmouth are generally caught in water that runs between 90 and 120 ft. deep.

When you are trolling for Blackmouth (or salmon in general) it is important to troll with the current.  The best trolling speed will be between 1.5 to 3 miles per hour.  If you are trolling with the current realize that if the current is going a mile an hour then if you are going 3 miles an hour your bait is only being trolled at 2 miles an hour.

Blackmouth follow bait.  If you can find bait then there is a good chance there will be Black mouth also present.

Popular areas to troll include:  Alden Bank, Pt. Migley, West Bank a.k.a Hummer Hole (Flood), Parker Reef (Ebb), Point Disney, Point Lawrence (Ebb), Thatcher Pass (Ebb), Eagle Point (Flood), Tide Point (Ebb), Fidalgo Head, and Lopez Flats to name a few.

Halibut: Closed until next year

Lingcod:Closed until next year.

Cabezon:Closed until next year.

Rockfish: Closed year round.

Clamming/Oysters: Open year round unless listed otherwise.  Always call the shellfish hotline to assure that the beach you choose is safe for digging.  Check regs. For details.

As of this posting beaches are closed due to Red Tide.  Call the shellfish hotline for an update.  Hopefully the beaches will re-open soon.

During the winter if you decide to go clamming then you will need to go at night as all of the larger min us tides take place after about 7 P.M.  A tide that is 2 ft. or lower is good for steamers and a few butters.  Any minus tides should be low enough to dig whichever clam you choose.

Shrimping:Closed until next Spring (Probably May).

Crabbing:Closed until next summer.  It will likely re-open in July.

Steelhead:The shoreline of Fort Casey is a path that many Steelhead travel as they return to theirhome rivers. Bush Point and Lagoon Point are other good options.  I have heard this to be true this year because Sea Lions have been a problem at Fort Casey.

Fishermen can take advantage of this by working the shoreline with a unique set up.  A size 4 spin-n-glo is paired with a hoochie on a double hook set up with a 3 ft. leader and 1 to 2 oz. of lead.

Chartreuse and orange, or clown (chartreuse with orange spots), are popular spin-n-glo colors and pink or orange are popular hoochie colors.

This set up should be reeled in at a speed that allows it to tap the bottom.  It has been said that the fish will often hit right in the breakers.  Keeping this in mind do not be so quick to get your line in for the next cast.

Note:

This report is just a guideline there are many techniques for every type of fishing so this is just an overview.  If I tried to cover all the bases this report would be several hundred pages long.

Thank You very much for reading my report.  Hopefully it has been helpful.

Eli Michael

This Fishing Report is provided by Mayberry Sporting Goods in Bellingham.www.Mayberrysportinggoods.com

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