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Opening days not far away
Rain, rain please disappear, openings days are almost here.
For the past week or so, when I haven’t been parked behind the computer at the office banging out stories or drowning my young self watching soccer matches, one of the few high school spring sports that doesn’t get postponed due to inclement weather, I spend my time curled up with the dog in front of the fireplace with a body-warming libation riding the storms out.
All those types of behaviors, at least on the weekends in my case, are going to do a major turnaround an a few days when I, like other Whidbey Island outdoor enthusiasts, will thumb our noses at the lousy weather.
It’s spring again and time for anglers and hunters to hit the lakes and fields for the openings of the halibut, trout and turkey seasons.
In addition, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has tentatively scheduled two razor clam digs this month.
Meanwhile, the hatchery blackmouth season is in the home stretch according to WDFW fish biologist Steve Thiesfeld. “Now is the time for anglers looking to hook a blackmouth to get out on the saltwater and take advantage of the remaining weeks of the season,” he said.
The blackmouth season continues in marine areas 7 and 9 through April 15, while folks in marine areas 8-1 and 8-2 have until April 30.
Also, anglers can still cast their lines for steelhead. Catch-and-release fishing is open through the end of the month on the Skagit River from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to the Cascade River. The Sauk River is also open from the mouth of the river to the Darrington Bridge, and anglers can still keep two hatchery steelhead through April 30.
Turkey hunters, ages 15 and younger, have to get right with the program as the two-day gobbler season is April 4 and 5. The general turkey season for all hunters opens statewide April 15 and continues through May 31.
Mike Cope, WDFW upland game manager, said late winter bird counts indicate slightly lower numbers this year but overall, the population numbers remain strong. “Turkey hunters should have plenty of good opportunities this spring,” he said.
Anglers are counting down the days until they can get out on the water in search of the elusive halibut. The slab season opens April 23 in marine waters throughout the region. Fishing for the big flatfish will be open five days a week, Thursday through Monday, with a daily limit of one halibut. There is no minimum size limit for halibut caught in any area.
The big lowland trout season gets underway April 25 and many lakes in the area have been stocked with thousands of legal-sized trout. Fish and wildlife officials estimate as many as 300,000 Washingtonians will hit their favorite fishing holes to kick off the new season.
Finally, razor clam digs have been tentatively scheduled for April 10 through April 12, and April 25 through April 27.
Twin Harbors will open April 10, and will be joined by digs at Long Beach on April 11 and 12.
The late April digs will be held at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Moonrocks.
What more could outdoor enthusiasts on Whidbey Island ask for, so why not make plans to get out and have some fun this month?
Be sure to remember that valid 2009-10 hunting and fishing licenses are required for anyone 15 years of age and older.