I have to admit I was a bit upset that I wasn’t in town for the halibut opener but after the reports I received, I guess I didn’t miss much. Sitting by the beach in Waikiki sipping a cool drink I found myself thinking of halibut quite often, but the warm weather on the beach was far from what it was like in the Whidbey Island area.
More than one person told me how they loaded up the boat and headed out, only to get to the boat ramp and find the weather was too bad to even attempt a launch.
I did hear of a few dedicated halibut anglers that managed to catch a couple of smaller ones in the 10-to-12-pound range. One was caught around Admiralty and the other two were out on one of the banks in the straits. Both were caught with bait and not lures or jigs.
With any luck the weather will lighten up a bit so we can get out there and try to catch some nice-sized ones before they head out to sea. I am hoping I can bring some of the nice weather I experienced in Hawaii back to Whidbey and I will continue to dream of that monster fish.
Although I did not get a chance to do any fishing in Hawaii, one of the guys in the command and his father did quite well on a charter boat and caught some nice yellow fin tuna. One ended up on the grill during our barbeque.
Local lakes have been recently stocked with fish. Cranberry was the first with over 5,000 brown trout as I have mentioned before, but it has also received over 7,000 rainbows as well. These fish are small even for hatchery fish and I am sure the birds are having a field day.
Other Island County lakes that received their share include Deer with 2,500, Goss with 2,000 and Lone with 4,000 rainbow trout planted.
Skagit County lakes have received considerably more fish. These lakes are by far the most popular and Heart definitely has a lot more shore access. Erie received 9,000 and Heart received 8,000 rainbow trout and the fish should be well dispersed throughout the lakes when the opener arrives.
These fish are a bit bigger than those stocked in Cranberry Lake.
When opening day arrives, be sure to get out early wherever you go. Nothing will ruin a day fishing faster than getting there and not finding an area to fish.
My favorite technique is to use power bait. The most productive colors I have found are green, orange and rainbow. Maybe you have a different color that works.
The most common set up is to use a slip sinker and a swivel or small split shot. The leader length should be enough to float the bait above the weeds. I like to put a small ball on my hook and then see if it floats in the water. Too many times I have seen anglers put a small blob of bait on the hook and it never floats.
Another popular technique, and one that I used for many years as a kid, was to put on a good old salmon egg and a marshmallow with the same rig as above.
Trolling mall spinners like rooster tails are very effective in lakes like Erie. With the limited amount of public shore access in the lake, trolling is the most popular technique. Use spinners in the same colors as I have described before.