FINS, FUR & FEATHERS Gusty weather is good for goose hunters

For most sane people the recent blustery weather is not something to look forward to. If you happen to see a person who smiles when the weatherman forecasts windy, cool, rainy days ahead, it is a good chance you are seated next to a local duck hunter.

Notice there was nothing mentioned about that person being sane. The weather we’ve been having has been in stark contrast to last year’s fall and winter fare.

The big water has been very choppy moving the birds to smaller, more accessible water. The cloud cover has been pretty good and the wind is giving some motion to the decoys.

All this means the person you considered normal at work or home, is usually up well before dawn, loves the forecast and is accompanied by a wet smelly companion. Oh yeah, the dog is usually with him too.

Numerous fronts have been moving across our neighbors to the north, pushing more and more ducks southward. So far the birds have been finding suitable feed locally so barring an early freeze, the waterfowl season should continue to be pretty good.

You can see the northerners are making their way in. On Saturday there were a ton of ducks sitting on the bay in Oak Harbor. In addition huge flocks of geese have been seen on the central part of the island, plus a bunch of snows can now be see at the refuge off Fir Island Rd.

The fields at the Headquarters unit are starting to flood and I am sure the island segment is the same way. The Welt’s property segment near Samish Island is producing for the early morning hunter. As the fields flood more, hunting over decoys the entire day will be good.

Elk season in Full Swing

Modern firearm elk seasons are now in full swing. According to all state reports, the best area for a Rocky Mountain bull is in the spike only areas around the Yakima area. For a large bodied Roosevelt bull, check the Willapa Hills area. Good deer hunting was reported throughout the state, with limited reports here on the island. One quick note I forgot to mention last article, not only did my son Ben shoot his first deer, Jason “Cold Hands” Huizenga also tagged his first deer on the trip. Locally Randy “The Souda Slammer” Davis took a decent blacktail doe. If you still have an unnotched deer tag, the buck season in the far eastern GMU’s kicks off on Nov. 5.

Fishing Tactics change

All the recent rain has muddied local rivers. The Samish is up considerably and fishing tactics for the big kings has changed. With the additional water flow, drifting egg clusters has been resulting in more snags than fish.

Your best bet now is to plunk and keep your bait close to shore. The additional weight will keep your bait in the current better and the fish are hugging the banks instead of fighting the increased current.

If we get a day or two break from the rain, it may fall back into better fishing conditions. On the Skagit the pink run has about run its course. A few are still being seen way upriver, but for the most part the end of a fantastic run of fish has ended. The run of ’01 will be talked about for years.

Silvers are still showing in good numbers in the upper reaches of the river. Good catches of silvers have also been coming from the Cascade River just below the hatchery. If the water is muddy, drifting spawn has been working, while tossing Dick Nites is the ticket if the water clears up.

Because of the cold, wet weather that has moved in, fishing on the lakes has slowed a great deal. If you are looking for bass, best bet will be slow retrieved jigs and tube baits over deep structure. On the bright side, there will not be near the amount of water and jet skis.

Don’t forget the upcoming salmon derby put on by the Puget Sound Anglers for this weekend. Stop in and talk to the guys at Ace for more info and tickets.

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