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FINS, FUR & FEATHERS: Turkey season is underway
Spring is definitely upon us. The landscape is greening up, flowers are starting to bud, and the outdoors is starting to fill up with men and women pursuing the great bounty this state has to offer. If you havent taken steps to cure your cabin fever, then get ready for some great opportunities available.
Unfortunately our spring turkey season always opens on April 15 regardless of what day of the week it falls on. This years started on Monday so it is a good bet that the woods are not crawling with camo clad hunters in search of their tom.
Starting this weekend you can bet there will be more people in the woods. If you can get the time off I would get in the woods prior to this weekend and beat the crowds. The east side of the state is your best bet for a bird. Turkeys have expanded their ranges with large populations in Stevens and Pend Oreille Counties. In these northeast counties you will find the Merriams subspecies of birds. As you move into Lincoln county and southward you will start seeing more of the Rio Grande subspecies. The Sherman Creek Wildlife Area on the west side of Lake Roosevelt has plenty of public land and ample birds. In the southeast portion of the state, I would look to places like the Wooten and Chief Joseph Wildlife Areas. More and more Merriam turkeys are being sighted in Kittitas and Yakima Counties, but most hunting will take place on private land.
There is another, albeit, smaller population of birds on this side of the mountains. Understand there will be nowhere near the amount of birds that you will find on the other side, but for the hunter with only a day or two to spare, viable options include Johnson and Kennedy Creeks, along with the Willapa and Wynoochee valleys.
SHRIMP OPENER APPROACHES
For those who enjoy fresh seafood and have been dismayed with the crab closures, may want to look at recreational shrimping, which starts on April 20. If you already take the boat out for crabs, just purchase a shrimp pot kit and head toward the southern end of the island. Onamac Point off Camano has always been a favorite place of mine. Keep an eye on the depth finder and you will see where the shelf drops off to 250-300 feet of water. This is the area to start. Load your traps and give it about fifteen minutes and reap the benefits. Be sure you are prepared for our ever-changing spring weather and file a float plan and wear your PFD.
If you have a youngster that is interested in fishing, start looking into some of the warm water choices that are starting to bite. Yellow perch and bass should start getting more active. Whether you are after a limit or want a trophy there are plenty of choices out there. Campbell Lake has ample amounts of perch. There are so many that many are stunted so dont feel guilty about keeping the fish the kids catch.
Launch your boat at the public ramp and ply the weedlines with a crawler/bobber combination. When one of the kids hooks into a fish, mark the area. Where there is one, there are bound to be plenty more. After you have had your fill of perch, pull anchor and check the submerged timber around the island for trophy-sized largemouths. Other lakes to for perch are Beaver and Little Cranberry in Anacortes. For bass look at Lake Terrell or Lake Whatcom.
Of course the big news on the horizon is the upcoming trout season that starts next week. There will be a full feature on where the state is putting the most fish and some tactics to use. Until then you can still get in a few casts in places like Lone, Pass and Cranberry Lakes.
Drop me a line if you tag a gobbler or land the big one.