March 2012 Fishing Report Dave’s
Fishing Report Sponsored by Whatcom Counties Fishing PRO Shop.
March 13, 2012
By Ken Shagren, Fishing Pro Staff, Dave’s Sports Shop
“Remember to check the official WDFW regulations before going out!”
Welcome to the Dave’s Sports Shop fishing report. Check in with us as we attempt to keep you informed on where the fish are biting and what is working to catch them. We will try to keep the information current so that we can help you decide where the best opportunity for success will be located.
As most anglers are waiting for the general lake opening on the last weekendin April, some bass enthusiasts are already looking for pre-spawn largemouths. Weather patterns this time of year make it hard to elicit strikes from cold water lethargic bass, but catches can be made. Late winter bass will be in deeper water as they prepare to spawn in shallower water. Look for drop offs near feeding areas where you would normally find them during warmer summer months. Keep in mind that they don’t travel very far to find deeper more comfortable winter habitat. If you found fish in a shallow water area last summer, look for them now in nearby deeper water with weeds or other cover. It’s important to note that they will not chase your lure. You have to put it right on their nose.Try throwing jigs, jig and pigcombinations, large tubes or worms, or spinner baits. A slow presentation is the key to any lure choice. Be sure to check out the new line of Strike King Lures that has just arrived at Dave’s Sport Shop.
ThePacific Fisheries Management Council’s 2012 preseason salmon forecast has been issued to help determine local seasons. The total numbers for all chinook and coho stocks are down compared to last year. Most predictions hold that seasons will be similar to 2011. The trend for summer/fall chinook on the Skagit system continues to drop. With only 9,800 total chinook predicted to return to the Skagit, it is safe to assume that there won’t be any added recreational fishing opportunities.The bright spot in our area is the predicted 42,800 hatchery summer/fall chinook coming back to the Nooksack/Samish systems. Many of those fish will return to the Samish River; however, a significant number will return to the Nooksack River as well. The local coho return is also a good news –bad news prediction. The Skagit system will see about the same number of hatchery fish returnto the Cascade River in 2012. The bad news for the Skagit is that there will be a drop from 138,000 wild coho in 2011 to 48,000 in 2012. If this prediction holds it could impact the daily bag limit on the Skagit. The Nooksack system is the “silver” lining in the PFMC forecast. The wild coho prediction is down slightly, but the hatchery coho prediction is up from 28,000 fish in 2011 to 51,000 fish in 2012. Finally the best news of all may be the Baker Lake sockeye run which continues to improve each year. The Baker River is predicted to return 35,000 sockeye which compares favorably to last year’s actual return of 27,000 fish. It’s looking good for another Baker Lake sport fishery.
We are now starting to see larger fish in the San Juan Islands from the Fraser River spring chinook run. One of the many places you can find these fish is Thatcher Pass on the outgoing tide and the Eagle Bluff area at the north end of Cypress Island on an incoming tide. The fish that are at Thatcher Pass on the outgoing tide will be off Cypress Island on the incoming tide.Other outgoing tide fishing holes include Tide Point, Point Lawrence, and Obstruction Pass.
Generally, the north end of Orcas Island can be productive at Point Thompson, Point Doughty and Parker Reef. Also tryLopez Pass, Spring Pass, Waldron Island or Point Migley off of Lummi Island.
The most popular rigs have been herring orIrish Cream or Cookies and Cream Silver Horde Tailwagger spoons and a flasher. Flashers seem to be a personal choice, but most are some combination of green and silver, gold, white, or red florescent tape. Try to be efficient. Cut down on travel time by fishing an entire tide in one area and use two rods in an effort to cut down on tangled lines. More time in the water equals more fish catching opportunity.
Be sure to circle the calendar for the scheduled Puget Sound San Juan Spot Shrimp opening in May. Area 7 south opens on May 5 at 7 am. The other openings are May 11, 12, 17, 18, and 19.
BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA
Steelhead fishing on the Chilliwack/Vedder continues to be consistent. The difference this year has been that fish have not been holding in the lower river as much as last year. The consistently productive areas have been in the Vedder Crossing area and above. Spoons and Colorado spinners are becoming more effective as the water temperature rises, but float fishing steelhead eggs or jigs are still the most popular choices. The locals are also using roe sacks, yarn tufts (wool), rubber egg imitations and wool combinations, and dyed prawn tails. As for fly fishermen, the local shops are recommending egg sucking leaches, glow bugs, prawn patterns or intruders. The Vedder will continue to produce until the current license year ends on March 31.
The draft forecast from Fisheries and Oceans Canada predicts a return of 2.1 million sockeye to the Fraser River. This is a relatively small run compared to good returns thathavetotaled 6 to 12 million fish or more in recent years. If this prediction holds, a recreational sockeye fishery could be questionable.
We will resume reports from Vancouver Island and vicinity in early spring. Check back with us then.
This Fishing Report is Sponsored by Dave’s Sports Shop in Lynden. Check them out for all of your fishing and hunting needs. www.DavesSports.com