Salmon consistent in the San Juans

Salmon action has been pretty consistent over the past few weeks in the waters surrounding the San Juan Islands.

As usual, finding the bait is the most important step to being successful. Once found keep your gear at the depth you are marking the fish, which usually close to or just above the bottom.

Most fish I have had reports on are being caught on coho killers and cut-plug herring. I imagine there are also some fish being caught on coyote spoons and hoochies, but the reports have been scarce or no one is sharing that information.

Most of the action seems to be coming from popular areas around the smaller islands east of Orcas Island. Indian Village, Lopez Flats, Thatcher Pass and Tide Point have all been producing fish for those anglers brave enough to venture out.

This past weekend, a monster 34-pound hatchery fish was caught around the Lopez Flats. Herring seemed to be the bait that enticed this monster hatchery fish to bite. That is one giant sized hatchery fish, no matter how you look at it.

At this time of year, fish tend to be on the smaller size, usually weighing in the 8 to 15-pound range, with the occasional 20-pounder being caught. A fish weighing 34 pounds is one of those we dream about. Congratulations go out to the lucky angler.

That is the size of fish that would probably put $12,000 in your pocket at the Anacortes Salmon Derby that takes place the last weekend of the month. I couldn’t think of a better way to start the spring break than with a bit of vacation money.

Areas 8-1 and 8-2 have been quiet, with most of the action happening in the northern areas. Lack of bait seems to be a contributing factor but if you can find it, stay with it.

The green can just outside of Oak Harbor is always a very popular place to start. It is a short trip from the launch and it tends to be a good holding area for bait.

Cornet Bay has been kicking out a few limits of smelt and quite a few herring as well. You can go down there pretty much any time of the day and see those diligent few jigging for these popular little fish.

If you only have a few hours in the day to get down there, I would recommend going about two hours prior to a high tide and fish for two more hours after it. Morning tides are by far the best.

Jigging for smelt and herring is also fun for the kids. Taking them can not only pass on the sport along to the youngsters, but also put some fish in the freezer.

If you have been to my Web site, and visited the forum, you will see that the WDFW has predicted a pink salmon return of 5.1 million fish. This is 2 million more than what was predicted to return in 2005. With numbers like that, most of us are a little anxious for their return.

Many of us hope the fishing is better than 2005. That year, it seemed like the pinks stacked up off the coast until the rains hit and then made a shotgun dash to the rivers. If they do it this time, at least there will be an extra 2 million of them to slow it down a bit.

Visit the Web site in between my articles for the most up-to-date information. You can also send me an e-mail as well. I would love to hear your reports and see some pictures.

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