Fishing Report provided by Mayberry Sporting Goods
Submitted By Eli Michael of Mayberry Sporting Goods.
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.
Humpy New Year!
Crabbing catch cards due mailed in, reported online or on the phone by Feb. 1st
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.
Hopefully 2012 was a year full of good fishing and just a warm up for all the good fishing to come in 2013.
January is the month for Steelhead and Blackmouth.
Baker Lake: A two pole endorsement is allowed on Baker Lake. Limit for trout is 5 between 6 and 18”. Chumming is permitted on Baker.
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. A two pole endorsement is valid on this lake. Lake Fazon is open year round.
Things will start to slow down on Fazon throughout the winter.
Bass will become less active as their metabolism begins to slow down. They become less aggressive and eat less often. Keeping this in mind bass will react to large baits which are slowly presented to them.
Try twitching Senko type lures along near shore structure. The best colors have been blacks and browns. Slow rolling spinnerbaits is another option and can be a good way to seek out bass and then target them more methodically with soft plastics.
There are perch in Fazon and they should bite during the winter if you find them in then deeper parts of the lake. Try fishing nightcrawlers with a little added anise oil or shrimp scent to help get their attention.
Tiger Trout (a hybrid Brook and Brown Trout mix) have been planted as fry in previous years as have Tiger Muskie (a sterile Musky and Northern Pike hybrid). I have heard one report of a tiger trout being caught last year but no reports of Tiger Musky over the past few years. That does not mean that there are not a few of them in the lake to fish for and catch.
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. There are also a few squawfish in this lake which have larger mouths and are bigger than peamouth.
Fishing for Kokanee in the winter is not a common practice but it is worth a try. Fishing may slow down at this time of year because the fish that spawn in the fall may be the fish that were available in the summer.
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.
Smallmouth Bass can be caught during the winter month out of deeper water. I would try looking for underwater humps, drop offs and the edges of points in water from 40 to 80 ft. deep. I am not sure what the best approach would be but I would suspect that heavy dropshot rigs or grubs slowly swum on a jighead should also work.
I have seen people do quite well in the dead of winter for bass on Lake Samish but I was not inclined to ask them to give away their secrets.
Silver Lake: Silver Lake is 172 acres. A two pole endorsement is valid on Silver Lake.
Closed until next April.
Squalicum Lake: Squalicum Lake is 33 acres. A two pole endorsement is not valid on lake. Squalicum Lake is open year round. Squalicum Lake is a fly fishing only lake.
This year Squalicum will be planted with 178 Triploid Rainbow Trout in May and 4,000 Tiger Trout smolts in October. This averages out to 5 Triploids per acre.
Fishing will slow down on Squalicum as we get into the colder months. That does not mean however that the fishing will stop. Trout feed less in the winter but they are tolerant of colder water and will be active all winter.
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.
During the winter the best fishing will often be on the sunny days or during periods of warmer than average weather. The warmer weather will cause the fish to become active and to feed more aggressively.
Lake Terrell: Lake Terrell is 438 acres. A two pole endorsement is valid on Lake Terrell. Lake Terrell is open year round.
This year Terrell will be planted with 836 Triploid Rainbow Trout between April and May as well as 10,000 Cutthroat smolt in October. This gives us an average of 2 Triploid per acre.
Things will slow down this month and will remain slow until spring.
Toad Lake: Toad Lake is 30 acres. A two pole endorsement is valid on Toad Lake.
Last year Toad Lake was planted with 5,000 Rainbow Trout and 250 Triploid Rainbow Trout in April. This averages to 167 Rainbow Trout per acre and 8 Triploid Rainbow Trout per acre.
Closed until next April.
Lake Whatcom: Lake Whatcom is 5003 acres. A two pole endorsement is not valid on this lake. Lake Whatcom is closed until Saturday April 28th.
Last year Lake Whatcom was planted with 4,451,400 Kokanee smolt.
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.
Fishing will be slow in the late fall and winter months.
Bass can be caught during the winter but they will be lethargic. Try fishing slowly with bulky presentations.
Cascade River: Opens June 1st. to Feb. 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. 2011-210,000
Open for Hatchery Steelhead until Feb. 15th.
From mouth to Rockport-Cascade Rd. Bridge: Daily limit 2 hatchery Steelhead.
From Rockport Cascade Rd. Bridge upstream including forks: Catch and release except up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Check regs. for details.
Fishing has been slow and steady in December with a few fish being caught every day. There have been more average sized (4-8 lbs.) fish caught in December. Many of the fish that were caught from the middle of November to the beginning of December were remarkably large with many hatchery Steelhead being caught in the 10 to 14 lb. range.
It is likely that the cold weather which has dropped the snow level and kept the Cascade low has a lot to do with the consistently slow fishing. If we get a warm weather trend and a shot of rain then it will be time to hit the Cascade for sure.
Float fishing either eggs or jigs are by far the most popular methods for fishing the Cascade.
As we move into January there will be less spawning Coho in the Cascade and often times jigs will out produce eggs throughout the rest of the season. That being said eggs are always good to have on hand and will always produce throughout the season.
Jigs in the 1/16 to 1/8 oz. size work well for Steelhead and popular colors include pink/white, pink/black, pink/black/white, red/black/white, pink, purple and black, purple and pink, and orange/white and black. Other color combinations will work but are less popular.
When fishing low clear water it is best to go with a toned down presentation. Smaller 1/16th to 1/32 oz. jigs in light pink, or black are a good choice. Another good setup is a size 4 hook with a small cluster of eggs or 1 to 3 EZ Eggs with or without a small bit of yarn and 8 to 10 lb. test. Drifting a Glo-Bug or small yarn fly can also do the trick in low or clear water.
Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200 2011-99,999
From Lummi Indian Reservation Boundary to Hwy. 544 Bridge at Everson. Opens Saturday June 2nd. Closes January 31st.
Steelhead will begin showing up this month on the Nooksack.
In the lower river plunking off of sand bars is a popular way to intercept Steelhead. Fishing a sz. 4 or 6 Spin-N-Glo and a sz. 2/0 or 3/0 hook with a piece of roe or sand shrimp is a popular setup. Pinks and reds, clown (chartreuse/orange spots) or chartreuse/orange are popular spin-n-glo colors. When fishing this way it is important to have your bait placed where the fish are traveling. This type of fishing is generally not super productive on the Nooksack but it is very laid back.
Side drifting and pulling plugs are the most popular method for fishermen working the lower Nooksack for Steelhead.
From Hwy. 544 Bridge in Everson to yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming. Opens Saturday June 2nd. Closes January 31st.
The water from the bus barn in Deming to the 542 (Mt. Baker Hwy.) Bridge is popular water to fish for steelhead.
For boast fishermen drifting floats with eggs or jigs, pulling plugs and side drifting are the most popular methods to fish this stretch of river.
There are a good spots which also provide plunking water along this stretch of river.
This stretch of river is also popular for drift fishing, float fishing, or throwing hardware off the bank.
From yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming to confluence of the North and South Forks. Closes January 1st.
This stretch of river is popular to fish both for shorebound and boat fishermen. There is good holding water from below the Hwy. 9 bridge where the North and South fork meet to the 542 (Mt. Baker Hwy.) Bridge.
This is a good stretch of water to fish because fish will slow down before heading up the either the North or South Fork.
Steelhead will be in the river this of year and will also hold in this stretch of river before deciding which way to go. For shorebound fishermen fishing jigs or eggs under a float or drift fishing eggs will produce. Throwing spinners and spoons will also produce and allow you to cover lots of water. For boat fishermen side drifting eggs or pulling plugs are productive methods.
North Fork: from mouth to Maple Creek. Opens June 2nd. Closes January 1st.
Steelhead Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200 2011-99,999
Often times Portions of this stretch of river will close to fishing until the escapement of Steelhead has been reached at the Kendall Creek hatchery. Check the WDFW to assure the stretch you are fishing is open.
Steelhead are the main focus for fishermen this month on the North Fork.
This is what I would consider to be the most productive stretch of the Nooksack for Steelhead as all of the hatchery Steelhead are bound for the Kendall Creek Hatchery and there are native fish bound for the upper river to spawn.
This stretch of river changes a lot so one year’s hot spot may be a gravel bar the next. Plan on taking some time to cover ground due to the multi channeled and serpentine nature of the North Fork.
There will be a few spots which provide good water near the road with Mosquito Lake Rd. and Hwy. 9 bridge being good jump off points.
Fishing a float with eggs, a pink worm, or a jig will produce as well as drift fishing or throwing spinners and spoons.
This stretch also holds good water for fly fishermen looking to hook into a steelhead.
There are often good numbers of Dollies in the North Fork which helps make Steelhead fishing a lot less monotonous. Conveniently Dollies hold in similar water and will bite well on Steelhead gear.
The North Fork will blow out in warmer weather or significant rain but will drop and clear much more quickly than during other times of the year.
Trout fishing is an option on the North Fork. Small presentations should catch fish. Check the regs. for tributaries that are open. These small creeks can often have healthy populations of small native trout.
Check Regs for details.
North Fork: from Maple Creek to Nooksack Falls: Opens June 2nd. To January 31st.
This stretch is definitely worth a look for Steelhead and will also hold Dollies at this time of year.
Trout fishing is an option in this stretch of river and its open tributaries. Try throwing small spinners, spoons, flies and bait such as single eggs and nightcrawlers.
Nooksack River: Upstream of Nooksack Falls including all tributaries and their tributaries: Opens June 2nd.
This stretch of river has potential for good fishing for native trout.
Middle Fork: From mouth to city of Bellingham Diversion Dam. Selective gear rules check regs. for details. Re-Opens June 2nd.
This stretch of river reportedly receives a Steelhead run. This stretch of river is high gradient and skinny so pocket water is the predominant fish holding structure. The upside to this is that the water is easy to read and the fish should hold in specific areas.
This would be good water for fishing methods that allow for a lot of water to be covered. Throwing hardware or fishing jigs eggs or pink worms under afloat would all be good methods for covering ground.
Due to the high gradient nature of this stretch of river it would not be conducive to fishing from a boat.
I have not fished much or heard a lot about the middle fork. I would suspect there would be some good trout fishing on this stretch of river. Lures will be the bait of choice because bait or scent is not allowed on this stretch of river.
South Fork: From mouth to Skookum Creek. Opens June 2nd. Closes January 31st. Selective gear rules check regs. for details.
The South Fork does not receive a run of hatchery Steelhead. It does receive a run of native Steelhead which are known to be quite large.
Unfortunately the Steelhead season has been shortened on many rivers including the Nooksack. This is implemented to promote the safety of wild Steelhead runs which generally return later than Hatchery Steelhead.
This stretch of river is selective gear rules so bait and scent is not allowed. This limits what anglers can use but does not eliminate some of the most productive methods.
For shore bound fishermen the Saxon Road stretch offers some good steelhead water. There are also access points in Acme along Mosquito Lake Rd. and off of the Potter Rd. Bridge.
For bank fishermen float fishing pink worms, jigs, and yarn flies or glo bugs will do the trick. Fishing hardware such as spinners or spoons will work too and are good at covering lots of water.
Fishermen who are drifting this stretch of river can run plugs or side drift pink worms or yarn flies. This stretch can run slow so side drifting with floats or throwing hardware can also be productive.
The South Fork lends itself well to fly fishing as it has good bars to fish and slow runs to work.
Considering the South Fork’s tendency to run with a bit of color in it during the winter and the larger size of wild fish it may be wise to use bigger and bolder presentations.
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. Re-Opens June 2nd. Opens for salmon August 1st. Closes Feb. 28th.
Steelhead release counts for Whatcom Creek: 2007-5,000 2008-5,000 2009-44,462 2010-0
Closed until enough Steelhead are retained to meet goals for egg take at Whatcom Creek and Kendall Creek hatcheries.
From footbridge below Dupont St. to Woburn St. Bridge: Opened first Saturday in June.
Closed until further notice. Will re-open when enough Steelhead eggs are collected between Whatcom and Kendall Creek hatcheries.
From Stone Bridge at Whatcom Falls Park to Lake Whatcom: Open from last Saturday in April to October 31ST Closed until next April.
Samish River: Opens 1st Saturday in June
Steelhead release counts over the past few years: 2007-0 2008-34,800 2009-0 2010-0. The Samish River Hatchery is no longer releasing Steelhead Smolt.
From mouth (Samish Island/Bayview Edison Rd. Bridge) to Farm-to-Market Rd. Bridge
Closed until next June
From Farm-to-Market Rd. Bridge to 1-5 Bridge.
Closed until next June
From 1-5 Bridge to Hickson Bridge: Open from 1st. Saturday in June until November 30th.
Closed until next June
From mouth to Hwy. 536 at Mount Vernon: Open from June 1st to January 31st. Skagit River Steelhead counts. (These counts include fish released from Skagit River tributaries such as the Cascade River.) 2007-511,600 2008-235,010 2009-174,000 2010-231,500
Plunking eggs or sand shrimp is a very popular method for Steelhead on the lower Skagit.
There should be some opportunities for sea-run cutthroat. This stretch of river is popular for fly fishing when the river is in shape.
From Hwy. 536 at Mount Vernon to mouth of Gilligan Creek: Opens June 2nd. Closes Jan. 31st
I would fish this stretch of the river much like I would fish the lower river.
There may also be a few Dolly Varden and sea-run Cutthroat in the system that might be worth fishing for.
From Mouth of Gilligan Creek to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete: Opens June 2nd. Closes Jan 31st.
The upper part of this stretch of river is most popularly fished from a boat. Side drifting eggs or pulling plugs is by far the most popular way to fish the upper Skagit.
There may be a few Dolly Varden and sea-run Cutthroat in this stretch of river.
From Dalles Bridge at Concrete to Hwy. 530 Bridge at Rockport: Opens June 2nd. Closes January 31st.
Fish this stretch as you would the Gilligan Creek to Dalles Bridge stretch.
There will be some Cutthroat and Dolly Varden in this stretch of river.
Hwy. 530 bridge at Rockport to Cascade River Rd.: Opens June 1st. Closes Feb. 15th
Fish this stretch as you would the Gilligan Creek to Dalles Bridge stretch.
There may be some Dolly Varden and Summer Run Steelhead in the river right now.
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. Opens June 2nd.
This stretch of river can be good for resident trout as well as Dolly Varden. Try throwing spinners or spoons or dead drifting or swimming streamers.
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. This time of year sturgeon will be less active but more concentrated. Look for them in deep slow stretches of river where they will often stack up 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 will significantly improve this month as increasing numbers of wild and hatchery steelhead begin moving into the Vedder.
The Vedder gets the bulk of its Steelhead run later in the season. The first year I fished it I wrote it off in December as being unproductive later to find that the river’s premier fishing actually does not begin to get going strong until January. I did however catch my first steelhead that year on the Vedder in December.
Steelhead will be spread throughout the system so where you fish them is more a matter of preference. The upper river will often have a higher concentration of fish but best results may be had if you are willing to fish a number of holes to look for the highest concentrations of fish.
If the water has been low due to sustained cold weather or lack of rain fish may drop down lower in the system.
Drifting roe, artificial eggs, jigs or yarn under a float is the most popular technique on the Vedder River and is very productive. Popular colors of jigs include pink, purple, red, black and white and any combinations of these colors. Popular colors of yarn include peach, pink, red, white, and orange.
Another productive though less popular technique is throwing spoons or spinners. This can be especially effective if there are areas along the river that are deeper runs or where the river forms deep pools.
One nice thing about Steelhead season on the Vedder is that it is much less crowded than during salmon season.
Area 7 Saltwater Report
Note: all fishing in Area 7 limits fishermen to 2 single point barbless hooks.
Salmon: Opens December 1st. Daily Limit 2 hatchery Chinook. Min. size 22”. Check regs. for details.
Fishing for Blackmouth has been excellent so far this season good numbers of fish being caught for those who have been able to make it out between weather systems. The weather at the end of December finally started to level out a little so hopefully this trend will continue into January.
Most fish have been reported as being caught on the east side of the San Juan Islands.
Small herring and anchovies have been producing as well as Coho Killer spoons which would suggest that Blackmouth have been feeding on candlefish.
Trolling is the most popular and productive method for fishing the San Juan Islands for Blackmouth. It allows you to cover a good amount of water and keep your presentation in the strike zone.
With all fishing there are exceptions but as a general rule Blackmouth will run the bottom 10 ft. of the water column, and are most commonly caught in water that is 90 to 120 ft. deep.
When trolling it is also important to troll with the current at 1.5 to 3 M.P.H. is an effective range of speed to troll for Blackmouth. Considering the fact that you troll with the current your actual speed may be greater than the speed you intend to troll. If you want to troll at 2 M.P.H. and the current is moving at 1 M.P.H. then you will actually be trolling at 3 M.P.H. Part of the way to get a feel for this is the angle on your downrigger line. 30 to 40 degrees is an angle which assures that you are covering a good amount of water and your gear is working correctly. With this angle it is also important to let more line out than the depth on your depth finder. The objective is to work your gear within 10 ft. of the bottom unless you are reading suspended bait and fish.
Spoons, hoochies, and herring or anchovies and flashers are popular presentations for the San Juans. Adding Scent to your flasher and bait or lure adds attraction to your presentation and also masks your own odors.
Popular colors include combinations of white, green, black, and purple. Lures or flashers with u.v., glow, or both can add to your success. Use longer leasers and lighter line with herring and spoons (48 to 60 in. and 20 to 30 lb.) and heavier shorter leaders with hoochies (32 to 40 inch. Of 40 to 50 lb. leader).
Popular spots include but are not limited to: Hummer Hole (West side Sucia flood tide), Pt. Thompson (North side Orcas Island ebb tide), Pt. Lawrence (East side Orcas ebb tide), Eagle bluff (Westside Cypress flood), Tide Point (Westside Cypress ebb), Secret Harbor (Deepwater Bay, Eastside Cypress ebb), Thatcher Pass (Between Decatur and Blakely ebb), and Pt. Disney (Southeast Waldron Island either tide).
Fish will be where the feed is and there are countless areas in the islands that hold feed. There is a balance between moving too much and not enough. Learn a few spots well for as long as it takes to get to know them and learn new spots as time goes on.
Halibut: Closed until next spring.
Lingcod: Closed until next May.
Cabezon: Closed until next May.
Rockfish: Closed year round.
Clamming/Oysters: Open year round unless listed otherwise. There have been health advisories all summer but this may change as the weather cools. Always call the shellfish hotline to assure that the beach you choose is safe for digging. Check regs. For details.
Call the shellfish hotline for an update.
Shrimping: Closed until next spring
Crabbing: Crabbing is closed until next summer
Steelhead: This month is a good time to try for Steelhead at Fort Casey State Park.
This area is a convergence zone for Steelhead bound for a number of rivers throughout the Puget Sound up our way and into Canada.
Fishermen fishing this area use a unique set up. The set up consists of a 2 3/0 hooks tied on a 3 ft. leader with a pink hooch, a bead and a size 4 Spin-N-Glo. This set up is attached to enough lead to tap the bottom on a slow retrieve.
The Steelhead that are caught with this rig will run right along the bank so it is not necessary to make long casts and it is important to reel in your setup all the way to the beach as the fish will often hit at the last minute.
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.
Here is a list of a few websites which might prove helpful. Let me know if I am missing any websites which are particularly helpful.
Washington River flows:www.usgs.wa.gov
BC River flows:www.wateroffice.ec.gc.ca
Here are some helpful phone numbers to call to get netting schedule information for our local waters.
Lummi Tribal netting schedule: (360) 384-2252
Sauk Suiattle Netting Schedule: (360) 466-4112
WDFW Commercial Netting Schedule: (360) 902-2500
This Fishing Report is provided by Mayberry Sporting Goods in Bellingham.www.Mayberrysportinggoods.com
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