FINS, FUR & FEATHERS: Low water, poor fishing

Dry weather doesn’t seem to be letting up and more fishing opportunities are drying up with much of the landscape.

Be sure before you venture out to do any type of fishing, you should look for any emergency closures. Numerous rivers on the peninsula that are closed to protect returning salmon. So far, emergency closures have been warranted over here, but lower water levels do make for more difficult fishing.

The month-long blackmouth fishery is open and a few fish are moving through. Timing tides is key, and your best methods will be mooching or jigging. Live bait works best with herring being the top choice; candlefish will work in a pinch. Most of the traditional blackmouth areas will be the place to look. Places like Jefferson Head, Point No Point along with Gedney and Camano islands being tops. Don’t expect hot and heavy action, more like a luxury if you catch a blackmouth to add to your two- fish limit in Marine Areas 7-11.

Your best bet at catching a salmon is chums. Many of these fish are entering area rivers and are anglers’ main focus. Most local rivers have chums moving through so try hitting popular holes for dog salmon. There are still coho here, but not enough to get overly excited about. The run is pretty much over and any catches are a bonus.

Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2 remain closed to recreational crabbing, but squid jigging is starting to pick up and should continue to do so for the next few weeks. Jigging does not take much specialized gear: any ultra light to medium action combo should do. What you need to purchase are special squid jigs. These are not like any fishing jig you may have used. They don’t have treble- or single-barbed hooks on them, more like small little hook-like projections that ensnare the squid’s tentacles when it latches onto the lure.

Squid jigging is done at night. Some serious jiggers bring their own lights to help attract the squid, but if you can find a pier that is already lighted you’re in business. The best jigging takes place from Everett to the piers in Seattle, but we have had our share of calamari at the public pier in Coupeville. Ask the guys at Ace if they have heard anything about squid being in, and when they do, get out in a hurry. This is not a long season, and when word gets out, prime spots on the pier will be taken. Remember that each person jigging for squid, must have their own container, and at press time the limit was five quarts or 10 pounds.

Elk season has just about wound up. Again our area won’t lead the state in any type of harvest stats, that is saved for the areas on the peninsula and between Ellensburg and Yakima. For those who still have an unfilled deer tag, you still have a chance if you don’t mind going to the east side and hunting the late white-tail season. Most of the GMU’s on that side of the state are open and check the regulations for any antler restrictions. As the month goes on, bigger bucks will enter the rut and become more visible. The late season over here has a couple of more weeks before it opens.

Bird hunters are out after pheasants and waterfowl and with good reason. There are only a few weeks left of plants on designated release sites and with times passing, more ducks and geese are making their way into our area. One resource that often gets overlooked here are grouse and quail. Grouse season hasn’t been great, but you will have plenty of elbow room as most hunters are in the barley fields. Quail are not hunted very heavily on this side. There are not as many as in the Okanogan Valley, but with a good dog not afraid of the brush, a hunter can have a good chance. A light weight 20 gauge with low brass No. 8's is all that is needed. You should have plenty of room, since not too many will be going after these birds.

The time to enjoy hunting here is fast running out. Before long it will be Thanksgiving and the season will close. There is no excuse for not being out in the field so grab the gun or rod and head outdoors.

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