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.
Coho fishing has really picked up in the San Juan Islands through the end of September and will continue to improve as we move into October. We will also be able to keep marked or unmarked Coho this month in the salt. Fishing has also been good off the beaches from Sandy Point to Point Whitehorn as well as Deception Pass, Fort Casey and Bush Point. Once we get a bit of rain river fishing will get hot for Coho on the upper Nooksack and Skagit as well as the Cascade and Vedder as fish will shoot up the rivers. October is a great month to fish our lakes for trout and Kokanee. Most people are out chasing salmon and some of the best fishing in our lakes will be just before the October closing.
Baker Lake: Open until October 31st. A two pole endorsement is allowed on Baker Lake. Limit for trout is 5 between 6 and 18”. Chumming is permitted on Baker 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. I have always been told that October is the best month to fish Kokanee in Shannon and I have seen some pictures of some really nice Kokanee that have been picked up by customers.
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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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 have to be 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. As the weather cools this month expect fishing to improve for the lakes 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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. Fishing for Kokanee has been good for 18 inch plus fish! Try trolling 55 to 65 ft. deep. 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for 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. 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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. September and October will produce good fishing in our lakes as the cooling water will get fish active as they try to put weight on for winter. 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 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. 2011-210,000 Opens for salmon fishing September 16th. From Rockport Cascade Rd. Bridge upstream including forks: Catch and release except up to 2 hatchery steelhead may be retained. Check regs. for details. The Cascade River opens for Coho salmon September 16th. The fishing usually starts out slow after the opener unless there is a substantial amount of rain. Things usually start heating up as we get into October. Fishing on the Cascade has been very slow so far. The river has been so low that fish have been holding in the Skagit waiting for a good rain to bring the river up. As soon as we get some rain then it might be lights out for the Cascade! Silver fishing on the Cascade can be very productive and is a great place to get into some fish. One of the nicest things about the Cascade is that it is quick to drop into shape after a heavy rain and is fishable when most other local rivers are not. This can be a problem when there is a dry spell because the river will get too low and clear. Float fishing with eggs is one of the most productive methods on the Cascade. Most of the time it is best to go with a toned down presentation such as 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. Lures are also a good choice for silvers and make it easy to cover a lot of water. Size 3 to 4 spinners, small spoons, or un-weighted spoons such as Dick Nites, and ¼ oz. jigs are all good choices. Productive colors include green, orange, red, pink, purple, black, and blue.
Nooksack River: 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. Open Saturday June 2nd. Open for salmon fishing September 1st. From Hwy. 544 Bridge in Everson to yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming. Opens Saturday June 2nd. Opens for salmon Sept. 1st September has been and interesting month on the Nooksack. I have been hearing a lot of mixed reviews as to how the fishing has been some people have been doing well and others not so hot. I personally have not been too impressed with what I have seen on the river myself. The theme for river fishing this year has been if the rains start the fish will come. The trick of it is that the rain will come. Let’s just hope it is not non-stop till April style rain that keeps the rivers out of shape most of the fall and winter. Fishing will improve this month as I believe we will get some raining and with it a strong push of fish. The lower river can be very good when the rains start but these fish will be moving through quickly and fishing will become better upriver. In the lower river look for the deeper slower holes (frog water) where fish will hold for a while before moving up river. Hardware is a good way to go in the river if there is good visibility (2’ or better). Spinners such as Blue Foxes in sz 3 to 5 spoons such as Stee Lees, unweighted spoons such as Dick Nites, and marabou jigs will all produce fish at different times. Chartreuse, orange, red, pink, blue, purple, black, silver, copper and gold are all productive colors alone or in combination with each other. Drifting roe under a float or along the bottom is another good option that will work both when the river is running clear and when there is a bit of color to it. Usually a small piece on a so 1 hook is best in clear water and a larger piece with a 1/0 hook is best when there is some color in the river. Adding a bit of yarn or a corky will also help draw attention to your bait especially if the river is running dirty (18 in. to 2 ft. visibility). If the river is running with less than 3 ft. of visibility then plunking is another productive method. 3 to 4 ounces of lead and a 2/0 hook with a size 6 spin-n-glo or a 3/0 with a size 4 usually works pretty well. A good sized chunk of roe helps sweeten the deal and add some scent. When plunking try to place your setup in the lane that the fish are travelling. If you watch where fish are jumping you will notice that this is often near shore. Pink, red, orange, and chartreuse are productive colors for plunking. From yellow marker at FFA high school barn in Deming to confluence of the North and South Forks. This stretch of river is now open and can be some of the best water to fish as fish begin to move upstream. There are usually some good deep holes in this stretch. Fish will also hold in this area before they head up the North or South Fork. I would fish this stretch of river much like the lower river by throwing hardware or drifting eggs. North Fork: from mouth to Maple Creek. Opens June 2nd. Opens for Salmon October 1st. Steelhead Smolt release counts for the Nooksack River: 2007-160,000 2008-164,000 2009-146,500 2010-106,200 2011-99,999 The North Fork does not get as much attention as the South Fork in October because the majority of returning hatchery Coho are bound for the Skookum Creek hatchery on the South Fork of the Nooksack river. The North Fork does have a fair return of Coho and is worth a look especially if fishing is slow on the South Fork. Look for deeper water and if possible slower water. The North Fork does not have as much classic holding water for Coho so look for them in less than ideal spots. In swifter current Coho will be less likely to jump so do not rely on jumping fish to know where to find them. In the swifter water drifting eggs or yarn/corky and yarn with or without a float can be productive. In the slower water hardware such as spinners spoons or jigs will be a good choice. If you are fishing less than prime it is best to not spend too much time on one hole and be willing cover water to find holding fish. 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. 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. 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. Opens for salmon October 1st. Selective gear rules check regs for details. Expect fishing to start out a little slow on the South Fork with the dry clear weather we are having. As soon as we get a bit of rain I am betting on some excellent fishing for sure! The South Fork provides the most productive Coho fishery in Whatcom County given the conditions are correct. This can be tricky because not only is this stretch of river quick to blow out it has a tendency to run low and clear after about a week without rain. The best time to hit this stretch of river is a few days after a heavy rain brings the river up. The fish will move in with the high water and be more active when the river is on the drop. There will still be fish in the river when it is low they just get a lot of pressure from all the fishermen casting at them and get uneasy in the clear water. If the river is running at moderate to low flows than going with small light presentations is the key to success. Try throwing sz. 3 spinners, small spoons, or trolling spoons such as Dick Nites. 1/ 8 to ¼ oz jigs are also worth a try. Another excellent technique for fishing the South Fork is to fish a small bit of yarn on a size 2 or 4 hook or a fly known as a Glo-Bug which is tied with yarn under a float. Keep the presentation light and use 8 to 10 lb. mono or fluorocarbon. Set your float so that your presentation is just about 1 ft. off bottom. This is a very productive way to cover water and catch fish on the South Fork and is the next best thing to drifting eggs which is not allowed on the South Fork. If the river is running high then try throwing sz 4 or even 5 spinners or drifting bright yarn on a sz. 2 or 1 hook. Adding a small Corkie or Spin-N-Glo might help bulk out your presentation and make it easier for fish to find. Fish will come through in waves so if the fish do not seem to be in or are running dark then wait for the next rain and there is a good chance a fresh push of fish will come through. 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. Opens for salmon August 1st. Steelhead release counts for Whatcom Creek: 2007-5,000 2008-5,000 2009-44,462 2010-0 2011-40,000 There will still be a few Chinook and Coho salmon showing up at the mouth of Whatcom Creek this month. If they do it will likely be after a strong rain. Throwing size 2 to 4 Vibrax or Mepps spinners or small spoons might catch their attention. Drifting eggs under a float is another good choice if the creek is running high with a lot of flow then drifting eggs or corky and yarn without a float will also work. The first few Chum should be showing up at the end of the month especially if we get some rain or they begin letting water over the dam on Lake Whatcom up at Whatcom Falls Park. From footbridge below Dupont St. to Woburn St. Bridge: Opened first Saturday in June. This stretch of river offers excellent fishing for small trout. Try tossing small spinners or spoons or drift a single egg or worm under a bobber. 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 Farm-to-Market Rd. Bridge Opens for Salmon Aug. 1st. to Nov. 30th. From Aug. 1st to Nov. 30th. Bait or lure must be suspended below a float. 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. “From August 1st to Nov. 30th bait or lures must be suspended below a float.” Fishing has been good on the lower Samish river for Chinook all through September and people have been having good success fishing eggs under a float. With the dry weather we have been having fish have continued to hold in the lower river waiting for rain. There are still some good fish in the river but quite a few dark fish are in the mix. There have been quite a few Coho also being caught but the majority of them are wild as there is no hatchery program for Coho on the Samish. Expect fish to be holding in the river throughout the month until rain pushes fish up into the upper river and the hatchery. This is a new regulation implemented this year by the state to prevent snagging as other rules in the past have proved unsuccessful. To say the least this will make this year’s season on the Samish very interesting. The very unfortunate thing about this regulation is that it will keep fishermen from being able to free drift eggs or throw hardware. It may curb the rampant snagging which is plaguing this river but I suspect fishermen will simply find ways around it or simply ignore the new regulation. This new rule will make fishing pretty straightforward as far as legal methods are concerned. Basically you will be able to fish eggs, shrimp, shrimp tipped jigs, or corky and yarn with or without bait suspended under a float. I have read about but not tried fishing tuna balls for kings. A tuna ball is simply oil packed tuna tied like a roe sack and threaded onto a hook. Float fishing on the Samish does work and works especially well on a low tide when the fish get concentrated in deeper holes. The most common set-up for fishing the Samish is a 2/0 to 3/0 octopus hook, 18 to 24 inches of 15 to 20 lb. test, and a large (50 cent to silver dollar size) cluster of eggs and little or no weight depending on the current. You want your float drifting vertical which means your bait is more or less below the float. This set up will be similar if you are using other bait except for bait tipped jigs which are tied to the main line without a leader. The lower Samish River also has a few sea-run cutthroat. From Farm-to-Market Rd. Bridge to 1-5 Bridge. Opens for Salmon from August 1st. to November 30th. I would not expect to see much action in the Samish until the end of August or after we get a good rain. In recent years land owners have been restricting access to fishermen. This might make things a little tricky in terms of having lots of water to access and fish. It will be interesting to see if fishermen begin to flock to this stretch of river to avoid regulations imposed on the lower river or if they will simply find a way around the regulations or ignore them. If fishermen start to focus on this stretch of river then things are going to get crowded if not there should still be some elbow room. Throwing size 3 to 6 Blue Foxes, other spinners or spoons works well in the deeper pockets. Free drifting eggs are fishing bait under a float is another good way to go. Many people prefer to use jigs or corky and yarn set on the bottom. Fish run into the line and are then snagged or some fishermen throw their gear out and then occasionally set the hook in hopes of snagging a passing salmon. Unfortunately salmon that are hooked this way are not biting and that is the reason they changed the regs. on the lower river. From 1-5 Bridge to Hickson Bridge: Open from 1st. Saturday in June until November 30th. Opened 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 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 Re-Opens for salmon September 1st. The lower river opens first for Coho on the Skagit River and it will be the 1st. place to look for the 1st silver that will start showing up in the Skagit. Fish are finally starting to show throughout the Skagit but have been hard to get to bite due to low clear conditions. The most popular method for fishing the lower river is with hardware. Small spoons such as Dick Nites, Spinners, trolling plugs (Brad’s Wigglers for example), and jigs will all produce in the lower river. Popular colors include chartreuse, green, pink, red, orange, blue, purple, black, firetiger, silver, gold, and copper. Look for fish to be holding in deeper slower pools as well as the many sets of pilings and brush piles which are present in the lower river. Plunking eggs is another option though fishing bait is not a very popular method for Coho 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. Opens for salmon September 1st. 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. Opens for salmon September 16th. There will probably be a few Coho up this high around the opener especially if we get some rain. Expect fishing to improve as we move into October. When fishing the upper river fish Coho will hold in the soft water wherever an obstruction or side channel slows things down. They like the slow stuff as long as it is deep enough for them to feel comfortable. Fishing marabou jigs has become very popular on the upper stretches of the Skagit River. The method is referred to as twitching which is jigging with a short sweep (18 to 24 inches) of the rod. 3/8 to ½ oz/ jigs in pink/black, red/black, purple/black, pink/white, pink/purple, chartreuse, chartreuse/orange, chartreuse/blue, and blue are all productive. Jigs with black in them seem to be the most popular on this river. Lots of fishermen like to tip their jigs with sand shrimp, coonstripe shrimp or prawn meat. Size 3 to 5 spinners, plugs, and small spoons will also work well in this stretch of river. Green, chartreuse, pink, orange, black, purple, firetiger, copper, silver, and gold are all productive colors for Coho. 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. Opens for salmon September 16th. 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. Opens for salmon September 16th. 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. Chinook retention begins on July 16th. Check regs. for details. River levels have been dropping steadily so the river is becoming more fishable from shore and safe again to fish from a boat. 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. As we get about half way through September Coho and Chinook should start showing up in good numbers and as we move towards October things will just steadily improve. Drifting yarn under a float is the most popular technique on the Vedder River and is very productive. Popular colors of yarn include peach, pink, red, white, and chartreuse. Roe or artificial eggs under a float are also productive. Another productive though less popular technique is throwing spoons spinners or jigs. This can be especially effective if there are areas along the river than have been dug out for gravel or where the river forms deep pools. I would fish the lower river early on. As the season progresses or as we get rain fish will be spread throughout the river. If you go to the Vedder expect there to be a lot of fish and a lot of fishermen. The river can be phenomenal so much in fact that people will come from as far as Europe just to fish it so do not expect to have the river to yourself.
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 There have been reports of fishermen doing well for silvers off the beaches on Whidbey Island. Particularly Fort Casey and Bush Point. Silvers will start showing up as the month progresses off the west side of San Juan Island. Try trolling flashers with spoons or hoochies in green or white. Troll 2.5 to 3.5 mph and try trolling 20 to 120 ft. down or wherever you are marking fish. This fishery can be very productive but it is a long run from anywhere to the west side of San Juan Island unless you live on San Juan Island. Chinook fishing has been good in the straits and in southerly waters but has not been so hot in the San Juans. Hopefully fish will start moving in as they head towards the Fraser, Samish, and Nooksack Rivers. Coho will also start showing up this month and have already been showing up in good numbers south of us. 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 fish 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 schools 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 erratic 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 erratic 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. 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. There has been a closure due to toxins on all clamming this summer and fall in area 7. Hopefully we will get a chance to dig before too long. Shrimping: Closed until next spring Crabbing: Closed until further notice. 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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