July 3, 2008 · Updated 6:10 PM
"On Dec. 1 our short blackmouth season will come to an end. All the waters around Whidbey Island will close at that time for salmon angling. From everything I see and hear, it's been a good year for those of us fortunate to have a boat or know someone that does. Few of us can say we did not catch a fish this year.Here is what's happening and where. Saratoga Passage is full of salmon. Unfortunately most of them are under 22 inches. Many anglers report catching a dozen or more shakers before catching a legal fish. These small aggressive salmon will strike meat, iron or plastic. An angler's best chance is with larger lures. The larger spoons or blue-pack herring are your best bet. Persistence is the key and check you rig of choice constantly. Net-pen raised silvers are still in the Oak Harbor bay. Anglers for the last few weeks have consistently caught fish. The rig of choice is a green wooley-bugger behind a clear casting bobber. FIsh the high tide on the north end of the bay. These salmon are turning dark and quickly losing their food value.Mid Channel Bank (Maristone) has been the boat fisherman's choice spot. This bank has consistently produced nice fish throughout our short season. That's the good news. The bad news is to expect to lose most of the fish you hook to seals. The seals at Maristone are well trained and they fallow right behind your boat and promptly take any fish that you're lucky enough to hook. Seals are a different challenge to overcome legally. Your best chance is with heavier lines and horsing the fish into the boat as fast as you can. I have heard of seals fallowing hooked salmon right into the an angler's net so be careful. The Samish River is still alive for shore anglers. One of our customers fished the upper Samish on Monday and this angler caught and released nine silvers, seven chums and a three-pound cutthroat during several hours of fishing. Good for you D.J.As blackmouth season comes to an end, other fisheries come alive. Whidbey Island is one of the few places on earth that you can catch a stealhead next week. If you have any questions on season or equipment contact Kevin or Gary or just drop in at at Ace Hardware on Pioneer Way in Oak Harbor. --------------Kevin Peterson works in the sporting goods section at Ace Hardware in Oak Harbor. "