Fishing, politics and a big show

The Washington Outdoor Report

Razor clamming at Ocean Shores. /Courtesy John Kruse

This week we’ll share the latest fishing reports from around the state, check in with the legislature about a bill of interest to outdoors enthusiasts who use our state parks and with Ed Sullivan in mind, tell you about “a really big show!”  

Fishing Reports:
STEELHEAD:  Bob Kratzer with Anglers Guide Service in Forks reports steelhead fishing has picked up in several Olympic Peninsula streams.  The problem at this time of year is rain, especially heavy rain that blows out the rivers and makes them difficult to fish.  Your best bet (in terms of finding fishable water) is the Sol Duc, which clears up faster than other streams.  If you are without a boat and looking for good bank access the Bogachiel is your best bet.  There are still a few hatchery steelhead around but from now to April you’ll primarily be catching and releasing wild fish.
SALMON:  Blackmouth salmon fishing in Puget Sound Marine Areas 10, 11, 12 and 13 remains lackluster at best. That’s the kindest thing that can be said based on recent creel checks that have found most anglers going home with nothing in their coolers.  Marine Area 7 (the San Juan Islands) opens on February 1st and anglers are hoping for better luck there.
STURGEON:  Catch and keep sturgeon fishing has been open since Jan. 1 in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day Dam pools.  Recent creel checks by the Oregon Dept. of Fish and Wildlife show little pressure on these fish.  Bank anglers have struggled but the few boat anglers interviewed have done very well, catching and releasing a good number of non-legal fish before keeping the one legal fish each angler can take home.  There is a quota for sturgeon in each of these pools.  As of Jan. 26, 53% of the quota had been kept in the Bonneville pool, 72% in The Dalles pool and 30.5% in the John Day pool.
TROUT:  Pete Corbett at the Creekside Angler Fly Shop in Issaquah recommends heading east across the Cascades to catch trout right now.  Corbett says the Yakima River can fish very well in February and anglers have been catching larger trout too in the last couple of years.  Better still, the river is not crowded at all this month.  Another good bet is Rocky Ford Creek near Ephrata.  This clear, spring fed creek has large trout known to be wise to the offerings of fly anglers.  Try fishing nymphs or streamers on these special regulation rivers for success.
CLAMS:  Razor clam digging is open on several Southwest Washington beaches in the days ahead and some of these digs will actually feature low tides occurring in daylight so you can leave the headlamps at home!  Here are the details for this week as far as dates, open beaches, and low tides:
Feb. 6, Thursday, 4:40 p.m. -0.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 7, Friday, 5:26 p.m. -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 8, Saturday, 6:09 p.m. -1.3 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 9, Sunday, 6:51 p.m. -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Kill the Discovery Pass?  
A bill has been introduced by Senator Mark Schoesler from Ritzville to axe the Discovery Pass, a user fee for those who visit Washington State Parks.  His proposal?  To instead fund our state parks entirely through the general fund.  Senator Schoesler apparently has a short memory.  It was just 11 years ago when our state, going through the Great Recession, nearly closed up to 33 of its 116 state parks because of planned cuts from the general fund.  The Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife also saw significant cuts during this time and that funding has never been fully restored.  The Discovery Pass does give a financial cushion to help our State Parks Commission weather financial storms, a cushion borne by those who support the parks.   
SPORTSMEN’S SHOWS:  The Pacific Northwest Sportsmen’s Show is the second largest sportsmen’s show in the entire nation and will take place again at the Expo Center in Portland.  The dates this year are Wednesday, February 5th through Sunday the 9th.  In addition to 900 exhibitors there will be a special VIP Movie Night presented by Leupold & Stevens on Saturday the 8th featuring an appearance by well known television hunting host and conservationist Randy Newberg.  The MeatEater crew to include television and podcast host Steven Rinella will also be at the show on Sunday the 9th.  Go to http://thesportshows.com for admission prices, hours and more information.

John Kruse – www.northwesternoutdoors.com and www.americaoutdoorsradio.com

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