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FINS, FUR & FEATHERS
The recent nice days have been the bane to many duck hunters, but for the angler the unseasonably warm, sunny days have provided a comfortable atmosphere to do some November fishing. Take advantage of it now, the weather guessers keep saying that winter will arrive soon.
For some quality salmon fishing one need look no further than the local waters of Oak Harbor. While the boys were watching the hordes of ducks in the protected bay of Oak Harbor, they watched as a couple of anglers pulled in a few salmon. According to the watchful eye of Ben, one of the men was using a buzz bomb in chartreuse/green pattern.
From what I have heard, there are quite a few salmon in both Oak and Crescent Harbors. Marine Area 8-1 opened on Nov. 1 so it is legal to keep fish from there. Only one Chinook over 22-inches is legal. Daily limit on salmon is two per day.
For the shore angler, buzz bombs in the above mentioned color or a blue/pearl would be a good choice. If you are lucky enough to have a boat, cut-plug herring or Coyote spoons trolled in about 90 feet of water should work. If we get any more of these nice days, you owe it to yourself to give it a try. The waters around Oak Harbor are going to close at the end of the month and will no re-open until mid-February. During the mornings of these nice days, the water has been like glass. It is a good idea to take advantage of it.
Crabbing is still open in area waters and it is not often the water conditions allow for some early winter outings. While the action has not been overly hot, there are still some out there. With the nice weather and salmon biting who needs any more of an excuse?
If that is not enough to satisfy your fishing fix, the dry days have dropped the rivers into decent fishing shape. There are still reports of Kings being taken at the major holes on the Samish. Hard to believe, but some are saying there are still pinks way upriver. Mind you they have to be pretty soft and not worthy of the table. Some silvers are still showing in addition to chums. With the clearer water, tossing plugs and spoons is producing. If the weather guys are right for a change, drifting eggs or yarn will work when the rains come.
Duck hunting cools
As mentioned the nice weather has not made it ideal duck hunting weather, but some hunters are getting lucky. Fellow firefighter Dan Mean Dog Clark witnessed Jason Elvis Hebb get his first duck. They did report they needed sunblock more than camo, but time in the blind still beats time at work any day.
The geese are still out in good numbers on Fir Island, but the fields that were pretty wet the past few weeks have dried some with the recent weather. I have a great idea for the hunter who does not know what to do with all their ducks. I took some duck and goose breasts over to the folks at Seabolts and had them made into sausage. The expert opinion of my two sons will attest to their quality. No more excuses about not liking the taste of waterfowl.
Being adaptable is the mark of a good hunter (or at least one who is not home much). If the ducks aren't flying, then head for pheasants. Plants are now taking place at the Outlying Field in Coupeville for the remainder of the season. Remember to stop at security and pick up a base-hunting permit. Releases are also taking place in Bayview, Ebey Prairie, and the Arnold Farm. Later in the season the hunting on places like the Headquarters Unit and Smith Farm get better. Not every bird is taken, so there are a lot of carryovers.
If you hunt the mornings, run the dog through the thick brush that border the fields or wait until mid-morning and let the dogs work the standing barley. Keep the pooch close, these birds are more skittish and will flush well out of range if the dog is working too far. Even though the season runs until the end of the month, most releases stop after Thanksgiving.
Late season Buck Hunt
For those with a deer tag available, the late modern firearm blacktail hunt opens on Nov. 15. The bucks are coming into the rut, so they will be more active during shooting light hours.