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.
July has a lot to offer this year! Crabbing opens to the south of us July 1st right in front of us July 15th and to the North of us August 15th. Area 7 will open for salmon and last July gave us some of the best king fishing in 30 years. Sockeye are being caught in the lower Skagit River. Baker Lake opens July 1st and each year it is open the fishing just seems to get better. Trout are still biting and Padden, Toad and Terrell were planted with additional triploid Rainbow trout recently and our warmwater lakes will be in full swing for bass, catfish, perch and bluegill. Kokanee will also be an option in Samish and Whatcom.
Baker Lake: Open until October 31st. A two pole endorsement is allowed on Baker Lake. Sockeye is open from July 1st until September 4th. The daily limit for Sockeye is 3 minimum size 18”. Limit for trout is 5 between 6 and 18”. Chumming is permitted on Baker Lake. Expect fishing to be slow for Sockeye during the first week or two of July as counts for Sockeye were low at the end of June (168 fish transferred to the lake). Once a few thousand fish are transferred into the lake expect things to pick up. One of the newest and most highly anticipated fisheries in our region is Baker Lake sockeye. Baker Lake is surrounded by campgrounds there are 4 boat launches it is fishable with a small boat the surroundings are breathtaking and the fishing setup is pretty basic Sockeye are strong fighters and excellent eating. Baker Lake is an early morning fishery most fish are caught between just before daybreak and 10 in the morning so early birds take notice. Fish will bite throughout the day and into the evening but the bite noticeably shuts down after the sun comes up. This is really interesting because on Lake Washington the absolutely will bite at any time of day. The first thing to consider when fishing Baker Lake is speed. Sockeye seem to like a slow troll (.6 to 1.5) that being said I am a strong believer in changing things up to add a little spice to a sockeye’s life. I like to vary throttle speed to cause my presentation to appear erratic in hopes of generating a reaction strike. Pick an average speed such as 1 mph and then occasionally speed up to over 2 mph and ocassionally cut the motor or go in reverse. This will prompt passive followers to become aggressive biters. Now for the tricky part. What to use… Before the lake ever opened for sockeye kokanee (land locked sockeye) were the fish that drew people to come fishing. Kokanee fishing is productive on Baker Lake even though it will take a back burner during sockeye season. Chumming is legal on this lake and is generally the most productive method. There are a variety of productive recipes some of which are public knowledge many of which are guarded secrets. Chum at its most basic is simply a mixture of chicken feed and feed eggs. The set up for chumming is pretty basic. Fishermen will set up a double anchor system to keep their boat stationary. For the set up you will want a very sensitive rod with a very soft tip that will tell you that a fish is biting before they figure out that you are on the other end. For the terminal tackle you will want to use a few split shot or a slip sinker (about ¼ oz. of lead) about 24 inches up your line. Use a size 6 to 10 single egg hook (I prefer Gamakatsu) baited with a single egg and a maggot. Berkley makes a series of gulp artificial maggots which would be a suitable substitute for maggots. Drop your presentation over the side of the boat so that you are fishing vertically. Slowly lower your presentation through the water column. Let your bait sit still for a few minutes every time you drop your line a few minutes until you begin to get bites. If you do not get bit for a while consider moving to a new spot. The most popular areas to fish Baker Lake are drop offs and creek mouths. Anderson Creek is one of the most popular areas for chumming. I believe that fish become accustomed to frequenting areas that are frequently chummed because these areas commonly provide them with food. Trolling is another option but I have never personally found it to be as productive as chumming on this lake. Standard Kokanee trolling methods should work on this lake. Dick Nites, Wedding Rings tipped with corn or Gulp Maggots, and small hoochies tipped with bait behind a small dodger or gang troll should all work on this lake. If fishing is slow near the opener it does not necessarily mean we are going to have a bad season on this lake it might just mean the fish are still a little too cold to be active and just need some warm weather to wake them up. As a general rule Kokanee fishing usually improves in May. There are other species of salmonids in the lake including Dolly Varden, Bull Trout, Rainbow Trout and Cutthroat Trout. These other species are not considered abundant enough to target but are occasionally caught while targeting kokanee. Depression Lake is a small lake near Baker that can be very excellent for rainbow trout and does not require a boat to fish. Lake Shannon below Baker Lake is another option that can be very good for Kokanee fishing.
Cain Lake: Cain Lake is 72 acres. The two pole endorsement is valid on this lake. Closed until Saturday April 28th. This year Cain Lake is being planted with 9000 Rainbow Trout. This gives us an average of 125 trout per acre. Cain Lake is never the most densely stocked lake but that does not keep it from being a productive one. There is no good access for a shore bound fisherman and a very discouraging and shoddy ramp that would be hard to negotiate with a boat over 14 ft. long. These factors will keep Cain Lake productive throughout the summer when more popular more densely populated lakes have been over fished. I prefer to troll Cain Lake but it is also a good lake for still fishing. Cain Lake has a population of large bass that will feed on the planted trout. Keeping this in mind I prefer to troll offshore. It seems as if the trout seem to learn to stay away from the shoreline where bass may be ambushing them. Trolling wet flies such as Wooly Buggers, Spoons such as Dick Nites, or a Wedding Ring and night crawler are a few good choices. This time of year fish will be near the surface and will be aggressive enough that you should be able to catch fish without the assistance of a dodger or gang troll. Due to poor shore access still fishing will done out of your boat unless you live on the lake or have a friend who does. The north end of the lake is good for still fishing in about 12 to 20 ft. deep water. If you are not catching getting bites after about 20 minutes then try a different spot until you find fish. The east side of the lake should also hold fish although I have most often seen people fishing for trout on the north end. Cain Lake is also known among some fishermen for its Largemouth Bass fishing. The fishing should improve as the weather warms. This is a lake that would fish well using trout imitating swim baits as well as the usual suspects such as spinnerbaits, soft plastics, and crankbaits. There are also Yellow Perch and Bullhead Catfish in Cain Lake both of these tasty fish can be caught by fishing nightcrawlers near the bottom. Lake Fazon: Lake Fazon is 32 Acres. Two pole endorsement is valid on this lake. Lake Fazon is open year round. The weather has warmed and Fazon has been going strong with good reports of fishing catching good numbers of bass, catfish, and bluegill. Bass fishing reports have been pretty positive from Fazon in May and the fishing should continue to be good this month. Morning and evening would present opportunities for topwater action. The most consistent pattern has been twitching Senko type lures along near shore structure. The best colors have been blacks and browns. Fishing spinnerbaits is another option and can be a good way to seek out bass and then target them more methodically with soft plastics. Catfish have been getting active with the warmer weather we have been having. Catfish are drawn to scent. Nightcrawlers and chicken liver are two popular baits but other strong smelling baits should also be good candidates for catching catfish. Adding scent is another key factor in catfish catching success shrimp, garlic, anise, or any other strong scent is an important addition to your bait. Catfish are more active during the morning and evening. They will be more active in low light conditions. Bluegill has started to pick up. A customer came in with a picture of a 12 inch Bluegill which is exceptionally large. Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. Bluegills are generally found near the edges of the lake in structure such as reeds, lily pads, or weeds. Sometimes larger Bluegill are found in more open water. Bluegills have very small mouths so choose your bait accordingly. One of the best set ups is a small bobber, a couple of small split shot and a size 8 or 10 hook with a small piece of worm. Crickets from the pet store are another good live bait for Bluegill. As for artificial lures think small also. Small spinners (1/16th to 1/32 oz.), spoons (Wee Dick Nites, etc.), and Crappie Jigs, or 2 in. grubs on 1/16 to 1/64 oz. jig heads all work well. Flies such as size 10 or 12 Wooly Buggers, Prop-Flies, Carey Specials, or poppers. Black, olive, brown, yellow, white, red, and chartreuse are a few good colors for Bluegill. Bluegill fishing usually gets going pretty good in May and lasts all summer. 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 Saturday April 28th. This year Padden will be stocked with 20,000 Rainbow Trout. This gives us an average of 132 trout per acre. Lake Padden is by far the most popular lake for the opener in Whatcom County. There is a bounty of shore access an excellent boat launch and is close to town. With all of the access the lake has to offer it might still be the hardest lake on which to find a place to fish due to its popularity. Still fishing with Powerbait or scented marshmallows is the method of choice for shore bound anglers. Trolling is the way to go if you are fishing from a boat. The set up for still fishing consists of a slip sinker a swivel a leader and a hook. For this lake I would recommend a ½ sinker to help you reach the fish and a long leader (36 in. or better). Commercially pre-tied leaders are a bit short (around 24 inches) so I would recommend tying your own. We also offer hand tied leaders that are the proper length. Small single egg hooks in size 6 or 8 work well and are light enough to keep the bait from sinking. Light line will help you cast further and keep the fish from figuring out that their free meal may come with a price. I would recommend 4 to 6 lb. test for both leader and mainline. As for bait I have found Berkley Gulp in egg or paste form to be superior bait. There is something about the scent that trout seem to find irresistible. Adding scent to your bait will also help increase your odds for success. Scent is so important that I believe it is more important than color when still fishing. Popular colors for bait include chartreuse, green, pink, orange, and a variety of mixed colors such as pink and white, or chartreuse and orange. Trolling is the way to go if you have access to a boat and do not mind waiting in a long line to get in and out of the water. This will be the case on opening day but not most other days. This time of year the fish will be in the top 5 ft. of water so you should not need to use more than ¼ oz. of lead to reach the fish. Popular lure include spinners (Wedding Rings tipped with nightcrawlers, Rooster Tails, etc.), spoons (Dick Nites, Triple Teasers), plugs (flatfish, hot shots), and flies (wooly buggers, prop flies). Any of these lures will work but every fisherman including myself has definite favorites. Productive colors include silver, gold, pink, chartreuse, red, orange, frog (green with dark spots), olive, black, and brown. This early in the season it is best to keep things simple. It should not be necessary to use dodgers or gang trolls to attract fish and since the fish will be near the surface little or no weight will be required. As the season progresses fish will move deeper and become less abundant making heavier weights and the use of attractors more common. Speed is a very important factor and slow is the key. One thing you will see a lot of is fishermen trolling as fast as there small trolling motors will allow as if they are fishing for blue water big game fish. Kokanee are also planted in Lake Padden although far less targeted than the Rainbow Trout for which the lake is known. Kokanee are landlocked Sockeye and behave far differently than trout. Trolling will be the primary method to target these fish. They are generally located deeper than trout although they may be found shallow at this time of year. Gang trolls and dodgers are needed to draw these fish to your bait. Due to the lesser drag and added action of dodgers they are being favored by most fishermen these days. A snubber is also an addition to your set up because it will keep the hook from pulling out the Kokanee’s soft mouth most of the time. A few popular setups are dodgers followed by Wedding Rings, Dick Nites, or small hoochies or flies. Popular colors for kokanee include the most popular pink followed by purple and green as well as many other color combinations. The subject of Kokanee is covered in more detail under Lake Samish and should apply to Lake Padden as well except for depth recommendations. There are also Yellow Perch in Lake Padden they are not generally targeted but can be caught by using nightcrawlers near the bottom and may be caught occasionally while trolling hear the bottom. There are also some potentially large bass in Lake Padden.
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. Kokanee fishing has got off to a good start this season with fishermen catching fish that are already up to 15 inches. Trolling is the ticket for Kokanee. I would try trolling a dodger with a small pink fly or hoochie, Wedding Ring, or Dick Nite. Tip these presentations with Pauzke’s Fire Corn, Berkley Gulp Maggots or white shoepeg corn. I believe that it is critical to tip your lure unless you are trolling a spoon like a Dick Nite. If you are using a hoochie or fly keep your leader short (12 inches) and heavy (12 to 15 lb. mono). This allows the action of the dodger to transmit to the trailing lure. If you are using a spoon or spinner then use a longer lighter leader (24-28 inches) and lighter line (8 lb. test.). You can either troll with a 1 to 3 oz. weight or off of a downrigger. Place a sinker and a snubber a couple of feet above your dodger. Of you are using a downrigger then just tie a snubber above your dodger. So far many of the Kokanee have been taken near the top 20 ft. of water. As the season progresses these fish tend to hold 30 to 50 ft. deep. When trolling remember to keep your speed down (1 to 1.5 mph). Early in the season most Kokanee will be caught from out in front of the boat launch and on up toward the north end of the lake. Another key is to get out on the lake early when they are feeding more aggressively. Lake Samish has a healthy population of Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. They may be a little slow to get active on this large deep lake but expect fishing to improve rapidly once we get into the swing of spring. 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. Lake Samish is also a good lake for catching crawdads. Check regs. for details.
Silver Lake: Silver Lake is 172 acres. A two pole endorsement is valid on Silver Lake. Closed until Saturday April 28th. This year Silver Lake will be planted with 14,000 trout. This gives us an average of 81 fish per acre. Silver Lake is also a very popular lake on the opener. The park offers camping and boat rentals. There is also a fishing derby and pancake feed on the morning of opening day. Another perk to fishing this lake is the fact that there are two boat launches one at the park on the south end and one on the north end. Silver Lake does not offer as much fishable shore access as Padden but there are still some good areas for still fishing off the bank. If you are still fishing out of a boat then the area around the Boy Scout camp is particularly popular. This area is located in about halfway down the lake on the eastern shore. There is a point of land where a creek feeds into the lake and the property is undeveloped. Trolling is a very productive method on this lake and makes it easier to find the fish by covering a lot of water. Flies such as Wooly Buggers or Prop Flies in olive, black, or brown are very popular lures for trolling on this lake. The South end of the lake is very shallow and is not the best place to troll or still fish due to weeds. For more details regarding lake fishing for rainbow trout read the Lake Padden report. There are also Cutthroat Trout in this lake and they will often be found a little deeper than the Rainbow Trout. They prefer nightcrawlers over dough bait and will also bite well on lures which are trolled. There are some very big Largemouth Bass in this lake which have probably gotten so big by feeding on hatchery trout. They will probably be a little lethargic this early in spring and can be a challenge to catch in such clear water.
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. 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 talked to a few fishermen that have been having some luck on this lake and on a nice day it might be a good option to avoid going stir crazy from spending too much time indoors. 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. 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. Terrell has been exceptionally productive for bass fishing so far this season with good numbers of 5 plus lb. fish being caught. Try slowly working lures such as plastic worms or jigs for largemouth bass. This will get them upset as the lure spends more time in their face making them quite upset and unable to resist attacking your presentation. With the warmer weather more aggressive approaches will also produce results such as working topwaters such as buzzbaits, poppers, frogs, and large minnow baits such as Rapalas. Spinnerbaits are also good seeking bait and can show you where the fish are concentrated. Catfish should be getting active on Terrell. In additions to Bullhead Catfish there are also some Channel Catfish which at times can get very large (20 plus lbs.). Catfish respond best to bait and can be caught on nightcrawlers, chicken livers, or commercial stink bait. Adding scent such as garlic, shrimp, anise, or herring will also help you get bit. Catfish will bite all day but are much more active during periods of low light. Perch and to a much lesser extent Bluegill and Pumpkinseed are also present in Lake Terrell. They are willing biters and fishing for them is a great way to introduce youngsters to the sport. The most basic approach is to fish for them with a bobber and worm. If you are running low on bait then a good trick is to cut a thin strip of tail meat off of a perch and use that for bait. For more details on the subject refer to Bluegill fishing tactics for Lake Fazon.
Toad Lake: Toad Lake is 30 acres. A two pole endorsement is valid on Toad Lake. Toad Lake is closed until Saturday April 28th. This year Toad Lake will be planted with 5,000 Rainbow Trout and 250 Triploid Rainbow Trout in April. This gives us an average of 167 Rainbow Trout per acre and 8 Triploid Rainbow Trout per acre. By the numbers Toad Lake is the most densely stocked of all of our local lakes. I would guess that based on current and previous triploid stockings this lake would also be the best bet for catching a trophy size Rainbow. Toad Lake has a small public access site on its Southwest end. There is a shoddy boat launch which can comfortably handle boats up to 14 ft. long but it would be possible to launch a 16 ft. boat. There are a few small areas from which to fish from shore and a public dock which is the popular spot on opening day. The nice thing about Toad Lake is that it is deep near shore. This does not make it necessary to make long casts to catch fish. For still fishing I would use a ¼ oz. slip lead because a ½ oz. lead is not necessary. A bobber and worm is also an excellent choice because long casts are not necessary. Trout love worms and it is always exciting to watch the bobber go down. If you are still fishing from a boat then the east and west ends of the lake are reliably productive. If you are trolling then the entire lake will have good fishing. If you are getting a lot of fish in a certain area then it never hurts to troll back through that area. For more details regarding trolling or still fishing refer to Lake Padden.
Toad Lake is planted with kokanee some years and I have heard of large fish being caught. Kokanee are generally located deeper than trout. Keeping that in mind I would focus my fishing efforts in the deeper parts of the lake. If you catch a few trolling then double anchoring and still fishing with a single egg and a maggot or Berkley Gulp Maggot might also be worth a try. I have been told that there are large bass I this lake but I have only heard it from one person. There are also large crawdads in this lake so dropping a pot may be worth a try. Check regs. for details.
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. This year Lake Whatcom will be planted with 4,451,400 Kokanee smolt. Lake Whatcom hosts a variety of fish species including Kokanee, Cutthroat Trout (closed to fishing), Smallmouth Bass, Largemouth Bass, Yellow Perch, Pumpkinseed, and Bullhead Catfish. Lake Whatcom consists of three basins which are denoted by bottle necks. There is a north basin a middle basin and a south basin. The north basin has a maximum depth of 95 ft. and an average depth of 30 ft. and is the first to warm up. The middle basin has a maximum depth of 69 ft. and an average depth of 38 ft. The middle basin will begin to warm up long before the south basin and soon before the north basin. The South basin which is by far the largest has an average depth of 178 ft. and a maximum depth of 328 ft.
Lake Whatcom is a premiere Smallmouth Bass lake often referred to as one of the best in the state. Additionally there are also a few big Largemouth in this lake as well. Things should start up slow after the opener as this large lake takes a lot of time to warm up. Most of the activity early in the season will take place in the north end of the lake. Bass should be in pre-spawn mode at this time of year and will often be hanging around ledges and drop offs in deep water parallel to shallower water. If we get a stretch of warm weather then the bass will move in shallower to soak up the heat. 1 or 2 degrees temperature can mean a lot with bass fishing and all fishing for that matter. The easiest way to fish a lake like this is to use your depth finder and take note of the shoreline. If there is a steep shoreline chances are the water along this shoreline will also drop into deep water same goes for a gently sloping shoreline etc. Fishermen who spend a lot of time on the lake will find offshore structure such as reef or humps. These areas often are less fished and provide premium structure for holding bass. As the lake warms there will always be bass located on shallow water structure such as docks weed lines and rock gardens. This structure is easy to fish because you can see where the fish will be holding. Small (3-5”) soft plastics such as grubs, tube baits, and senko type baits all work well on this lake. This lake is less weedy than traditional lakes so it is more conducive to a variety of presentations. Fishing tubes or grubs on jig heads, drop shotting, Carolina, Texas, or wacky rigging will all work on this lake. Early in the season fish these presentations slowly and methodically. Earth tones such as browns, blacks and greens are good choices for soft plastics. Fishing plugs is another productive option crawfish patterns or minnow patters which imitate kokanee, sculpin or perch. Early in the season use deep diving plugs as bass are generally still holding in deeper water. Kokanee fishing may be a little slow right after the opener but should get going once we get into May. Early in the season fish will be closer to the surface. Fishing tends to be better on the North end of the lake this time of year as the water will be warmer. Strawberry Cove, Agate Bay and the bottleneck between the first and second basin are a few good places to troll for Kokanee. Perch should be available to catch. Early in the season expect them to be in deeper water (20-60 ft. deep). Nightcrawlers fished within 12 in. off the bottom should do the trick. If you catch a perch try putting a thin strip of perch meat on the hook. It is more durable than nightcrawlers and is a very effective bait. Adding scent such as shrimp or shrimp-anise seems to equal more bites.
Wiser Lake: Wiser Lake is 103 acres. A two pole endorsement is valid at Wiser Lake. Wiser Lake is open year round. Bass should be active on Wiser and now might be a good time to go for them as they will be in pre-spawn to spawn and there is not too thick of a weed cover on the lake. Bullhead Catfish are abundant in Wiser Lake and fishing for them should be good from now throughout the summer.
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. From Rockport Cascade Rd. Bridge upstream including forks: Catch and release except up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Check regs. for details.
Opens for Chinook Salmon fishing from June 1st. to July 15th. from the mouth to the Rockport/Cascade Rd. Bridge. Check regs. for details. The Spring Chinook fishery on the Cascade River is a very popular one. A good number of fish are caught and often they will run to close around 30 lbs. The Cascade is too small to fish from a boat and provides a lot of shore access. This levels the playing field for bank fishermen. The only advantage one fisherman can have over the other besides skill is whether or not they are standing on the hot spot. Drifting eggs or sand shrimp either under a float or along the bottom is the 1st. choice among fishermen. A Corky or Spin-N-Glo with yarn is an option as an alternative to drifting bait. Hardware such as size 4 to 6 Blue Foxes or large (3/8-3/4 oz.) spoons are also effective especially if the river has a few ft. or more of visibility and the hole you are fishing has some slower water in it. Red, orange, pink, green, blue and purple are all good Chinook colors.
Nooksack River: Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200 From Lummi Indian Reservation Boundary to Hwy. 544 Bridge at Everson. Re-Opens Saturday June 2nd. Not much is happening at this time of year. There may be a few searun cutthroat around that can be caught on small spinners, spoons, flies or bait. From Hwy. 544 Bridge in Everson to yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming. Re-Opens Saturday June 2nd. Not much happening until salmon opens this fall. From yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming to confluence of the North and South Forks. Closed until October.
North Fork: from mouth to Maple Creek. Re-Opens June 2nd. Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200 Not much is happening until this fall. There is a healthy run of spring Chinook salmon during this time of year but it is not opened to fishing. 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: Re-Opens June 2nd. 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: Re-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. 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. Re-Opens June 2nd. Selective gear rules check regs for details. This stretch of river can be good at times for native Rainbow Trout and reportedly has a small return of native Steelhead.
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. Steelhead smolt release counts for Whatcom Creek: 2007-0, 2008-5,000 2009-44,462 2010-0 .From footbridge below Dupont St. to Woburn St. Bridge: Closed until June 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). Opened April 28th. Fishing has been good so far in the Juvenile fishing section of Whatcom Creek. In the pond Power Bait on a long leader to stay above the weeds is always a good choice. Fishermen have also done good throwing small spinners such as Rooster Tails. A bobber and worm can also be a good choice and will catch more than just trout. There are also Bullhead Catfish, Smallmouth Bass, Bluegill, and Yellow Perch in the pond. Some of the deeper pools above the stone bridge also are good for some good size trout and Smallmouth Bass. I prefer drifting worms with or without a bobber and throwing small spinners or spoons.
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 River Hatchery is no longer releasing Steelhead Smolt. Re-opens June 2nd. The lower Samish River can have good populations of sea-run Cutthroat this time of year. Small lures, streamer flies and nightcrawlers are all productive presentations. From 1-5 Bridge to Hickson Bridge: Open from 1st. Saturday in June until March 31st. Re-opens June 2nd. This small stretch of river can provide good opportunities for cutthroat fishing.
Skagit River: From mouth to Hwy. 536 at Mount Vernon: Open year round: Closed until next June. 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 Not much is happening until this fall. 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: Re-opens June 2nd. This year for the 1st. time ever this stretch of river will be opened to the retention of Sockeye Salmon from June 16th to July 15th. in anticipation of a strong return. It will be interesting to see how this fishery plays out. There will be a few factors affecting the quality of this fishery including: river conditions (clarity and river flows), how well the fish bite, and how many fish show up. I am guessing that there will be two methods of targeting these fish. Plunking sand shrimp and flossing Fraser River style. Plunking will only work if the fish are biting well and there is at least 2 ft. of visibility. Flossing requires a dense concentration of fish enough flow for a good drift and areas that will funnel and concentrate the fish. The plunking rig that was used when the Baker River was opened will probably be the same rig that will be used on the Skagit. The baker river rig consists of enough lead to stay on the bottom (3-5 oz. for the Skagit) on a 20 to 30 inch dropper of 10 lb. test attached to a 3 way swivel or a mini spreader bar. On the other end of the swivel or spreader attach a 15 lb. test 20 inch leader tied with a single 2/0 or 3/0 hook. Slide on a small bead or two a pink mini hoochie (optional) and a size 4 or 6 rocket red or pink spin-n-glo. Sand shrimp or coonstripe shrimp tails are attached to the hook to add scent and appear to the presentation. Flossing is a technique that is the primary method for fishing sockeye on the Fraser River. Flossing is simply a method of snagging in which the hook slips into the fishes mouth to give the illusion that the fish are biting and thus have been hooked legally. A Skagit River flossing setup would likely consist of a 8 to 14 ft. leader of 15 to 20 lb. test a size 10 to 12 Corky or Cheater a 2/0 to 3/0 octopus hook and a piece of yarn, 1 to 3 oz. of lead (cannonball or pencil) and a standard swivel setup or a Fraser river lead dropper rig. Whichever method works will depend on river conditions but I would put my money on the plunking rig to be the most popular setup. Hopefully this fishery will be a productive one that will be something to look forward to for years to come.
From Mouth of Gilligan Creek to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete: Re-opens June 2nd. Not much is happening until fall. 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: Re-opens June 2nd. Not much is happening in this stretch of river until Fall. There will be some Cutthroat and Dolly Varden in this stretch of river this spring.
Hwy. 530 bridge at Rockport to Cascade River Rd.: Re-opens June 1st. Opens for Chinook From June 1st. to July 15th. This stretch of river is the only stretch the Skagit that opens for spring Chinook. This fishery is best executed from a boat. The Cascade River is probably a better bet for bank fishermen but there are still opportunities for shorebound fishermen along this stretch of river. Boat fishermen will backtroll plugs, backbounce or side drift eggs or throw sz. 4 to 6 spinners. Last year I heard that fishermen were also having good luck twitching jigs for Chinook. Kings like to hunker down in the deeper holes so it is important to present your bait near the bottom. Shore fishermen should have good luck drifting a good sized chunk of eggs along the bottom with or without a float. Throwing size 4 to 6 spinners would also be a good bet.
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. Re-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
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. Chinook retention begins on July 16th. Check regs. for details. The Fraser has been running exceptionally high in June so it will be interesting to see how things are going when it opens for Chinook. No word yet on speculation of when they may open the river for Sockeye but if they do open it will probably be the end of July or the beginning of August. Chinook fishing on the Fraser is generally done two ways. The most popular method is referred to as flossing. The other method is bar fishing (plunking). Flossing involves a long leader (10 to 14 ft.) with a 1/0 to 3/0 octopus hook and yarn with or without a corky and 1 to 4 ounces of lead depending on river flows and the area being fish. The key is to find where the fish are travelling and using enough lead to bounce the bottom at the speed the current is flowing. The long leader will slip into a fish’s mouth hooking them on the side of the jaw. Bar fishing involves plunking a heavy weight (6 to 20 oz.) and a large Spin N Glo (Sz. 2 to 00) large hooks (4/0 to 7/0) and shrimp or roe if allowed. The key to this method of fishing is to place your presentation where the fish are running. Lighter colors are generally more popular if the river is running with good visibility which is rare at this time of year and darker colors when the river is running murky. Spin N Glos with mylar wings are popular because they create more vibration which is helpful in low visibility conditions. 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. Currently Fly Fishing only and only opens from Vedder Crossing downriver. The Vedder River will open to red King Salmon fishing this month. June has been pretty wet so the river will be very high for the opener. This run usually builds throughout the month improving closer to August. Float and yarn or roe, drift fishing similar presentations or throwing hardware such as larger spinners or spoons are all good candidates for success.
Area 7 Saltwater Report
Note: all fishing in Area 7 limits fishermen to 2 single point barbless hooks.
Salmon: Opens July 1st. Check regs. for details. Last year fishing for Chinook was excellent right out of the gate and described by some as being the best fishing in the last 40 years. There have been a few reports from the July 1st opener and they have been good. It sounds like those in the k now got into some fish. As a general rule Chinook salmon are caught in 90 to 120 ft. deep water within 5 to 10 ft. of the bottom in the San Juans. This is a guideline and not a rule especially in the summer time. For the most part Chinook will run the bottom but they will also be suspended and they will also be found suspended in water that is much deeper than 120 ft. The San Juans are a large area with lots of water to cover. Trolling with downriggers is the method of choice in the islands just for this reason. If fish are concentrated then mooching or jigging will also work. Keep in mind that dogfish get thick in the islands at this time of year so herring may be a difficult bait to use. There are countless places to fish for salmon in the San Juans but some are much more well-known than others. A few of these places include: On an ebb (outgoing) tide, Lopez Flats, Pile Point, Secret Harbor (Deepwater Bay), Tide Point, Obstruction Pass, Point Lawrence, and the Hummer Hole (West Bank). On a flood (incoming) tide, Eagle Bluff. Other good places to check out are Point Roberts, Alden Bank, Pt. Disney, Parker Reef, Pt. Migley and Lummi Rocks. Spoons, Hoochies, and herring or anchovies (excellent bait but beware of dogfish), are the most popular presentations trolled behind an 11 inch flasher. Popular colors include green spatterback, army truck, Irish crème, cookies and cream, cop car, purple haze, and white. 3.5 to 4 inch spoons or hookies are good sizes to imitate resident herring and the Coho Killer spoon of needlefish hooch are good candlefish (needlefish) imitations. The 1st step is matching your presentation to what the fish are feeding on. If you are trolling with a few people and are using a couple of rods then try using a different setup on each rod. Candle fish are found near the bottom over sand so fish a needlefish imitation within a few feet of the bottom. If a certain depth or presentation is working then switch your depth and presentation to match where the fish are being caught. If you get a fish on the boat it does not hurt to check what it has been feeding on and try to match the food source. Another anticipated fishery is the resident Coho fishery which takes place from Gooseberry Point up to Birch Point. This fishery is completely different than the trolling fishery for kings and takes place in shallower water with lighter gear. These fish can be fished for off the bank from limited access points along Cherry Point off of Rainbow Rd. If you have a small boat that can be launched off of the beach or at Gooseberry Point then you will be in business if the fish are in the mood to be co-operative. Most fishing will take place in shallow water (7 to 40 ft. deep) near shore. I like to work my way along the each from a boat or from shore until I see fish breaking the surface. If you see a school of fish try to get within casting distance of them. This fishery is both productive for gear fishermen and fly fishermen. For gear fishing jigs spinners and spoons are all good options. For jigs I prefer a 1.5 to 2 inch Buzz Bomb, or a ¼ to ½ oz Crippled Herring or Gibbs Minnow in silver, or white. For spoons I like to throw small stuff like Dick Nites, Miracle Lures or Needlefish on a 4 to 6 ft. leader with ½ to 1 oz. of lead. 50/50, or silver with different color tips (chartreuse, red etc.) are all good choices. For spinners size 3 or 4 Blue Foxes, or Mepps in silver, gold, copper and any combination of chartreuse, orange, red, or pink will all do the trick. If the fish are not responding change up the presentation or change the speed of your retrieve. I have found that these fish will respond exceptionally well to a fast eratic retrieve. I have had my best luck using a 2 inch chrome Buzz Bomb. For fly fishermen a 6 to 8 wt. rod paired with a floating or sink tip line and a handful of minnow imitation streamers should be in business. Size 4 to 1 clousers in shades of pink, silver, green black, or gold will all produce. Try retrieving your fly with an eratic stripping motion for best results. If you are fishing from shore then it is generally best to fish an incoming tide as fish will often move closer to shore.
Halibut: Closed until next spring.
Lingcod: Closed until next May
Cabezon: Opens May 1st. Cabezon are hard to clean but excellent to eat. They are generally caught as a bonus while fishing Lingcod. If you would like to specifically target them then try fishing curly tails particularly near kelp beds. Cabezon primarily feed on shrimp and crab so adding some shrimp scent or crab scent if you can find it will help you increase your catch of Cabezon.
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. Call the shellfish hotline for an update. From here on out there will be plenty of good clam digging tides. Remember to check the red tide hotline. This is especially important as we near the summer months.
Shrimping: Opens Saturday May 5th. There will be additional openings Friday May 11th, Saturday May 12th, Thursday May 17th, Friday May 18th, and Saturday May 19th. There will be additional openings if there is still a remaining quota. When shrimping look for a steeply sloping bottom in 200 to 350 feet of water. Stay near your pots and check the current tables and try to avoid setting your pot when there are strong current. Iceberg Point off of Lopez Island, Carter Point off of Lummi Island, the north and south side of Matia, the east side of Orcas, West Bank off of Sucia, the South Side of Patos and the South East side of Speiden are a few good spots for shrimping. When shrimping you will want to use 400 to 600 feet of leaded rope a yellow marker buoy and a small mooring buoy to keep your setup from getting sucked under. You will also want to add 10 to 20 pounds of lead to your pot to keep it from drifting away. Shrimp pellets, cat food, canned mackerel, salmon, or tuna, or salmon or whitefish parts are all good shrimp bait. The more bait you fill your pot with the better the results. Crabbing: Opens in area 7 South on July 15th and August 16th in area 7 North. Crabbing will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This year we will have more and better days of the week to crab just like last year. Crabbing was good last year so hopefully this year will be a repeat. Dungeness crab prefer a sand gravel or mud bottom. Bays near river mouths are known to have good numbers of crab due to nutrients provided from the river. Crab are more often found in bays than areas with very strong tidal flow. Crab will move around to find food but most crabbing is done in 50 to 100 ft. of water. That does not mean that crab are only located at these depths. Crabbing can be effective in water from 15 to 200 ft. deep. A trend these days is using longer rope and crabbing in 100 ft. plus depths with good results. Most sports crabbers do not crab this deep so that might be a reason that it is productive. This month we will be able to crab area 7 South. Padilla Bay, Samish Bay, Chuckanut Bay and Bellingham Bay are all known and productive areas for crabbing. A lot of people crab these days so it is very tough to avoid a crowd. As a general rule the further away from major boat launches the less competition. When crabbing a good tactic is to set your pots at 5 to 10 ft. depth intervals. If pots are doing better at a certain depth or location then it is a safe bet to move other pots into that vicinity. Still try other areas as crab will be on the move. If you are shore bond then the Alaska Ferry Terminal, Boulevard Park, and Squalicum Harbor all have docks on which to crab. When area 7 North opens then the Blaine Pier provides good opportunity for shore bound crabbers. Crab Pots are most productive when set out for long periods of time (45 minutes or longer) and crab rings work better short term (15 to 45 minutes). If you are planning on leaving your pots semi or fully unattended then pots are the way to go. If you are willing to check your set up often then rings are the top choice. If you are crabbing off a pier and staying with your gear then rings will produce better results than pots. Fish, Chicken, or any meat or seafood is good bait for crab. Salmon is one of the top producers because there is a lot of oil in the meat. The most important thing is to use bait that is not old or rank smelling. Crab are scavengers but they do not like rotten meat. I really like to add a can of cat food, mackerel, pink salmon, or oil packed tuna to fresh bait because it provides a scent trail for the crab to follow even if they have stolen your fresh bait. One of the keys to success is having a well baited pot. With so many people crabbing there is plenty on the menu for crab to choose from so you will have to offer them the captain’s plate.
Steelhead: Not much happening until next fall.
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
This Fishing Report is provided by Mayberry Sporting Goods in Bellingham.www.Mayberrysportinggoods.com
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