FINS, FUR & FEATHERS: Can't whine about summer weather

This summer has been one that we cannot complain too much about the weather. All too often we get a stretch of warm days only to follow with cool, rainy weather that puts a damper on many of our outdoor activities, but this summer we can’t really complain too much.

With so many days of decent weather, it is only a matter of time that the cool winds of fall will be upon us. Until then get out on the water as much as possible. The salmon fishing has been a combination of good news/bad news. The good news has been the coastal fishery. Even though the quota of Chinook has been reached, prompting a closure there, you can still retain two salmon per angler, just they must be hatchery raised Coho. There still are good numbers of fish in the Westport/Ilwaco area. Many of these fish are heading for the Columbia so areas around Buoy 10 should be pretty good. Action will not be as good as it was during the peak, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to give it a try. If you want to keep close to home, best bet would be around the islands. This season has not been the big banner year we had last year, but a few fish have been taken off the west side of San Juan Island. One to two fish per boat have been common to those lucky enough to get through all the dogfish and the pods of orcas coming through. The whale watching charters have been doing pretty good for their business. This usually means the fishing shuts down whenever a pod moves through. The Tulalip Bubble is another area that is not experiencing the fantastic year we had last, but is still worth a try. Usually by now the major peak of the run has come and near the end of August is when it starts to tail off. From all reports that I have gotten, the peak has never really came, just a steady stream of fish that produced a couple a fish per boat per trip. It still would not be a bad idea to give a try, while it is still open.

If the lure of the salt water during the warm days is too tempting, then it may not be a bad idea to take advantage of some decent crab action. Good catches of both Dungeness and red rock crabs are being reported from most of the inside waters of Whidbey Island. You are very limited if no boat is available, but the dock at Cornet Bay is an option. For those of you that can get aboard a boat, the best area to try is the recreational crabbing zone just north of Camano Island State Park. By far this has been the area yielding the best catches. Off limits to commercial crabbing, this place will be crowded during the weekends, but if you can get out during the week this would be a place I would definitely give a try. Cornet Bay and Crescent Harbor are areas that can usually give up a few keepers to those willing to work. Polnell Point is another area to try, and some decent numbers of Red Rocks can be found there. By advised that these areas will have quite a few buoys in the area and you will have to do some maneuvering of you boat to get through the maze. Be respectful of other people’s gear and do not disturb them. Another way to take advantage of the warm weather is to keep an eye on the tides and get out for some shellfish to compliment the fresh crab being served.

Since the kids are heading back to school, it might not be a bad idea to plan a trip over the mountains to take advantage of some very good warm water fishing. Most lakes and reservoirs are nearing their lowest levels of the year. This is good news for anglers, since it concentrates the fish in the available suitable habitat. Some very good catches of perch, bluegill and crappie are taking place on many of the lakes from Yakima to the Idaho border. Good catches of bass, walleye and catfish are also taking place, especially during the evening hours. The further east you are willing to travel the better the fishing gets. The seep lakes area, Moses and Banks lakes, along with Potholes Reservoir have been putting out good numbers of fish of all varieties. A fishing trip with a stringer full of fat panfish is a great memory to send the kids off to school with.

Like I have said, it won’t be long that we will be talking about snow in the mountains and flooded fields for duck hunting so it is best you get out and spend as much time out in the nice weather as you can.

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