Englefield Again: Provin’ it!

After our unbelievable first trip to WestCoast Resorts Englefield Bay last year, my son Matt and I could not wait to get back up there. In fact, we were so fired up about our amazing experience that we put a 710 ESPN Listener trip together so we could share the Englefield experience with listeners and friends.

In fact, we’re announcing a second chance trip in late August

Did the trip live up to expectations? Without a doubt it did! Most anglers on the trip had their best chinook days ever in both numbers and size! Bottomfish? How about two ling cod per day with no size restrictions and six in possession! Couple that with two halibut and a pile of rockfish and you are talking new home freezer time!

The WestCoast Resorts Englefield equation for success is solid. Place a floating lodge alone in a remote location accessible only by boat and helicopter.

Oh, the helicopters…C’mon now, aren’t you the least bit intrigued by a fishing trip that begins and ends with a heliopter ride?

Or, more correctly a Helijet which we boarded in Sandspit after our chartered 737 flight from Vancouver, BC.IMG_0880

 

As the lodge comes into view we’re just stunned by the remoteness and beauty of the luxurious, floating lodge at Englefield Bay.IMG_0521 (Medium)

 

Once we’re on the docks the level of organization and experience of the WestCoast Resorts operation is readily apparent. Every boat  is clean, identically rigged and READY!IMG_0536 (Medium)

 

 

The info board is updated daily and hooks you up with weather, tides and hot spots. No secrets here! Since the only boats in the area are from the lodge and fish are plentiful, info is shared freely.IMG_0889

 

After the brief lodge orientation, we jump into our gear and we’re off fishing before noon on our first day!IMG_9100 (Medium)

 

And just how good is the midday chinook bite at Englefield Bay? Well, we only kept three that first day so wouldn’t burn through our four chinook per angler possession limit but we had a double-digit king bite the first afternoon! Simply stated the most smokin’ hot chinook bite I had seen all season which included a three-week stint running my boat in Sitka, Alaska.IMG_0325 (Medium)

 

The next morning, I went out with Chef Patrick Fagan of Bait2Plate.com and my summer on air pard John Martinis. We absolutely STUFFED the fishbox with ling cod, yelloweye, black rockfish and chinook!John&Patrick 

 

The next day? Well, halibut was on the itinerary and we were again very successful but here is the thing that you need to know: Once you’re back at the lodge, the dock staff label, weigh, process and vacuum pack your fish while you relax in the lounge!

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Our final morning, we had our possession limits of bottomfish in the lodge freezer so we got to concentrate on chinook and again, the bite was simply epic! Matt Nelson and John Martinis are working a double which started out as a triple but someone had to take the picture…IMG_0471 (Medium)

 

After the fishing was done, I couldn’t help but take a few pics on the way in to the lodge. The beauty of Haida Gwaii, the Queen Charlotte Islands is well known but this untouched tide pool with a small stream entering it would be an even more fascinating sight in the fall with a few salmon sneaking in when the bears came to feed!IMG_0496 (Medium)

 

The anglers that came along on our Listener trip were very successful and while the fish you take home is not the only way to measure an adventure such as this, it’s interesting to note that the 44 anglers boxed catch weighed over 4500 pounds!IMG_0895

 

The helicopter flight out of the lodge was accompanied with a stitch of sadness but also a feeling of satisfaction for a trip that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.IMG_0553 (Medium)

 

Back at Sandspit Airport, we literally walked off the Helijet and walked right on to the jet to Vancouver where we landed before noon and headed back home over the border.IMG_0623 (Medium)

 

We all played “Horse” on the basketball court when we were kids and after that last shot that hung that “E” on you, the ball was flipped back to your opponent with a defiant “prove it”,

That’s what this trip to Englefield Bay meant to me. After an unbelievable first trip last year highlighted by a tyee for my son and a memorable Father’s Day for all.

WestCoast Resorts has repeated that feat, essentially “proving it” and now Englefield Bay is permanently carved in stone in my annual angling itinerary and I hope you’ll consider making it part of yours.

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Defiance Bait Tank Installation

After his Seattle Boat Show tuna seminar, Defiance Marine Pro-staffer Tommy “Cornfed” Donlin stuck his big ‘ol head into my boat which was on display at the show.

“Where are you gonna put your live bait Nelly?”

“How about this transom fishbox? I should be able to make it flow…”

Cornfed shook his head “You put anchovies in that square box and they’re gonna die before you get to the grounds. You’ve got to have a circular flow to keep them swimming, healthy and the tank has to be round so they can’t hit corners and injure themselves.”

Donlin is a well-known pain in the neck but I knew he was right and heck, there are a number of reasons beyond live anchovy fishing for tuna to install a live well. Shrimping, crabbing, live bait fishing for lingcod and even halibut are great reasons to install a tank. Also, let’s not forget the prospect of jigging herring and putting up your own trays of bait or even fishing them fresh!

Defiance Marine’s DNA is saturated with blue water angling and a quality bait tank is as vital to the tuna fisherman as the downrigger is to the salmon angler. Fortunately, Defiance is recognized as the finest bait tank available and not all that hard for the do-it-yourselfer to install!

First off you’ll need to get organized and get your parts list together including a sheet of one-inch Starboard for the mount. Tank water supply is 1″ and required an 1500GPH livewell pump. The drain is 1 1/2″ and you’ll need a shutoff or seacock valve. Thanks to Harbor Marine at the Port of Everett, it’s a one-stop shop!

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This is the very definition of a “measure twice, cut once” project and it’s vital to make a cardboard template of the tank footprint for an accurate installation.

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Once you’ve got your template, lay it on the deck in your desired location and take a good look around, above and most importantly, UNDER the location!

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The best way to look under your chosen location is to pull up the deck floor which, you’ll have to do anyway to run the electrical and plumbing. On my Weldcraft, I had to plan around a deck support but that will add to the strength of the mount.

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With the deck floor section out of the boat, it’s template time and a jigsaw drill to position the deck plate that will allow access for the plumbing to the tank.

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With the hole cut in the template and the deck floor, we need to trim the template to now fit INSIDE the tank as that’s how it’s going to mount to your deck.

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Lay the template on the Starboard and start making a whole pile of white plastic dust! Make sure you’ve got a fairly accurate fit to the inside of the tank bottom!

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Once you’ve cut the Starboard to fit, it’s time to drill and tap 1/4″ x 20 (threads per inch) hardware into the perimeter of the tank. Four or five will do the trick!

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Time to take all your work back to the boat, cut that nice 1 1/2″ drain hole above the waterline, finish it with a SS hose barb through hull. Add the livewell pump to your water pickup, run the hoses forward and through the deck plate.

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Being careful not to kink the hoses, lay the floor plate back down and fasten it back in place.

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To lay flat on the deck, the Starboard mounting board’s center hole has to be larger than the mount ring of the deck plate. Use the existing deck floor bolt pattern to hold down the deck plate and you’ll have to get one-inch longer hardware to reach!

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Lay the tank down to make the plumbing & electrical connections and you’re almost there! Again, take care that excess hose does not kink!

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Stand the tank up, pop in your perimeter hardware and launch the boat! Test the system for leaks and you now have a 50 gallon bait tank installed!!!

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Removing the tank takes all of five minutes and the only way you’ll know it was there is the plastic deck plate and a wet ring where the tank was…

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I didn’t go into great detail on the transom plumbing aspect because each boat is different and let’s just say that climbing into the transom was not pretty…

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This summer with all the North of Falcon “noise” going on, we’re going to have to be a bit more versatile to get our days on the water. My Defiance Marine bait tank is a HUGE step in that direction!

Give them a call and whatever you do, DON”T tell them TOMMY DONLIN sent you!!!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

 

Sitka 2015: Adjustments

Every year of our annual sojourn to southeast Alaska, I seek a pattern, a clue or a theme to the location and distribution of fish that may lead to an understanding or “edge”, eventually guiding us to a successful season. We’ve all read -with varying degrees of interest and concern- of the changes in sea surface temperatures in the northeastern Pacific Ocean and little did I know when I boarded the plane to Sitka that the ocean temperatures would play a pivotal role in our approach to this world-class fishery.

Most seasons the predominant chinook forage base in the Sitka area is sand lance, commonly known an “needlefish”. Sand lance are a preferred salmonid food item as they are usually abundant, readily preyed upon by chinook, very rich in oil, easily digested due to their delicate structure and can be packed away by an adult chinook like a belly full of spaghetti!!!

Chinook are so fond of sandlance that a large abundance will virtually stop a migration, making these chinook vulnerable to vertical techniques such as mooching and jigging. The problem this season was that the nutrient-poor warm water had in all probability, reduced local zooplankton (euphausiids and copepod) levels, causing the sand lance population to take a downturn. Sand lance do not roam far from their home sand, so are very dependent upon local conditions and poor food availability can quickly lead to a sand lance population crash.

Herring on the other hand are more mobile and opportunistic feeders and therefore have a better ability to adapt to a changing or re-located food base. The preceding paragraph was the longest possible way of stating that herring was the one and only food item found in the chinook we encountered and since the chinook were not all “ganged up” on a sandlance patch, mooching chinook was not the most effective technique.

What was the most effective technique for us?

Why trolling with downriggers of course!

Greg Copeland of KING 5 and my old buddy Phil Michelsen do the downrigger “Dance” with a fiesty, early morning chinook and Sitka 2015 is well underway!

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Phil Michelsen does battle with a big chinook on a misty morning and little would we know….

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 …that this would be the biggest chinook not only of this trip but of the last several years! A beautiful specimen of over 41 pounds! Phil’s grin just says it all!

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Phil and Greg’s last day was a productive, calm and memorable outing and there was alot of work to do after the “photo shoot”!

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Lauren Bivins of Harbor Marine in Everett and my summer “Robbo replacement” co-host John Martinis jumped in for some very solid Sitka success!

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 Lifelong friend Larry Stauffer and I doubled up on a couple chunky chinook that both fell to trolled whole herring. Overall, the average size of the chinook we encountered was larger which was a reverse of a trend of smaller fish over the past several years.

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My biggest halibut of the season was this 70 pounder that we hooked in over 400 feet of water. My Diawa Tanacom 750 electric reel made short work of this flattie!

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 One of Sitka’s signature landmarks, St. Lazarius Island also know as “Bird” Island looks different with every hour of the day. In this afternoon sun it looks spooky…

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…and in the morning sun as the charter fleet runs by it’s merely a milestone along the way. One of the most wonderful things about fish are the places we must go to find them.

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 Brock Huard is in the third season of his Sitka experience and he seems to enjoy it more each and every year. I feel very fortunate to be able to share some of his precious free time in this wonderful place.

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Sitka remains the angling experience of my life and there is something each and every season that stays with me throughout the year. This year it was the ability to make adjustments that stood out. As anglers, we are very good at going to the same places at the same times to use the same gear to catch our fish. However, change one leg of that triangle and we seem to struggle. The ability to observe changing conditions and make adjustments to our game plan is one of the most valuable traits that an angler can possess.

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

 

Sitka 2014 Great White: NORTH!

This year’s edition of The Outdoor Line’s annual Sitka trip was a very special one. We had some Alaska “first-timers”, (I was going to say “Greenhorns” but…) some of our wives made the trip for the first time in several years and 2014 marked the Alaskan arrival of the 710 ESPN flagship, the Weldcraft 280 Cuddy King.

The trip began back in late May with the barge trip from Seattle to Sitka. It’s a bit freaky seeing your boat and truck sail away but it’s a gas to fly into Sitka and find your ride safe and sound thanks to Alaska Marine Lines!aBarge

 

 

We were very fortunate to arrive in time for some flat, sunny weather and a solid chinook bite. Jack Reyes mugs for the camera on the first fish of the trip. Little did we know that the bite would remain…but the nice weather would not.aJack#1

 

Team Outdoor Line’s Brandon Robichaux can’t help but grin on his first day in Alaska..and his first Alaskan chinook!aBrando

 

Phil Michelsen handles a hot king and finds that the Daiwa DXS Series Rods and Saltist reels are more than a match for a big Alaskan chinook!aPhil

 

I even get into the act and all my work getting Great White ready for this trip comes to fruition!aDayone Nelly

 

710 ESPN’s Michael Grey of the “Wyman, Mike & Moore” show experienced Alaska for the first time and his very first Alaskan chinook turns out to be a very memorable experience!aMGglass

 

My summer on air partner John Martinis joined us in Sitka for the first time and I believe that it won ‘t be his last appearance on this trip!AJohnM

 

In between weather systems we managed to refine our halibut anchoring techniques. Here, Phil Michelsen, Michael Grey and John Martinis admire out day’s catch with chinook to 26 and halibut to 100lbs!aPMJbut

Speaking of refining techniques, Pro Cure’s Brine & Bite has  forever changed the way I handle my herring. With one jar of Brine & Bite powder, you can cure up to 8 trays of bait that stand up to some trolling, mooching and shine like nothing I’ve ever fished before!ABrine&b

 

My dear friend Larry Stauffer and his wife Dana enjoyed a consistent chinook bite and we enjoyed having our wives join us for a few days of Alaskan angling!aL&D

 

My wonderful wife Kathy handles this hot king and I can’t begin to describe how special it was to have her join me on this trip!AK

 

Kathy and Dana share a laugh and a special moment after this double on mid-20 lb chinook!

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Larry, Dana, Kathy & I with our days catch. We’ll be remembering this trip in pictures -and barbeques- for months to come!aLDK

ESPN’s Brock Huard joined us for his second season in Sitka and his passion for fishing and ability to learn is amazing to watch! I’m pretty sure he is as hard-bitten as I am with southeast Alaska!ABrockNelly

While it’s nothing short of wonderful to share this time in Alaska with family and friends, we’re working on a bit of a promotion that may allow us to host a listener on this trip next year so stay tuned for that!

Meanwhile, we’re working on sharing what we’ve learned in Alaska about chinook salmon fishing right here. Want technique tips? Stand by! We’re going to deliver some tips that will deliver more fish in your box this season!

Tom Nelson

The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Anchor System Academics

The ability to quickly, effectively and safely anchor your boat is a fundamental aspect of seamanship that will help you catch more fish, enjoy a restful time on your vessel and most importantly, keep all aboard safe and sound in the event of a grounding or complete power failure.

My main focus for this project was to lay out and mount an anchor roller mount and deck pipe (deck top access to the rope storage locker) that would be easy, convenient and safe for everyone on board. Fortunately, the gang at Harbor Marine in Everett had everything I needed!

Our project boat is the Weldcraft 280 with nothing short of a bulletproof “pulpit”!

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Our “raw materials” for this project are, top to bottom: Lewmar anchor roller mount, Rocna Fisherman 6kg modified plow anchor and a Perko hinged chain pipe.aRawmaterial

 

The anchor roller mount installation is straightforward, just line it up straight and make sure the anchor’s point, in this case the Rocna chisel tip clears the pulpit support under the roller.aDrill

 

Now it’s time to lay out the chain pipe hole and since this is a fairly significant jig-saw job, it’s definitely a case of “measure twice, cut once”!

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Rest assured, I double-checked the area under the cut to make darn sure that there was no electrical or other “trouble” hiding under the deck!

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Marine silicone around the pipe flange guarantees that the only water getting into that anchor locker is coming through the pipe… not around it!

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Nice, clean, sturdy installation so far, now for some chain on that Rocna Fisherman!

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A boat length of 3/8″ Galvanized Proof Coil chain shackled to the Rocna finishes the package…almost… 

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While the installation looks bad to the bone, the anchor is a bit tilted and will rock back and forth a bit on the road and the last thing we want is to weigh the anchor on Interstate 5!…So…

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Drill baby drill! The Lewmar anchor roller mount has three holes pre-drilled to fit a 5/16″ lock pin. Drill the anchor stock to fit one of the roller mount holes and add a piece of 150lb test mono with crimped loops for a pin keeper…and buy an extra pin just in case!

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Now I’m ready to anchor fish for halibut in the Straits, springers in the Columbia or maybe even to take a little break in the action! These days, we all need a little break…Right?

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Sitka 2013: Huskies vs. Cougars!

Our annual Sitka “sojourn” took on a decidedly competitive theme this year.

Why?…Well, when you have a Husky and a Cougar on the boat, despite the fact they were Seattle Seahawk teammates… you’re going to have issues but, ..we’ll get back to that later.

Fortunately, catching fish would not be an issue this time. After over 20 years of experiencing the southeast Alaskan salmon stronghold that is Sitka, I am more than familiar with the annual variation in run timing and strength. So,I started to scratch my head a little bit when the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADF&G) issued their Chinook Abundance Index (CAI) for 2013 and it was a slightly low number (1.20). The cautious, conservative abundance estimate indicated some concern with northern British Columbia chinook survival but given strong forecasts to Washington and the Columbia river, I was betting on good action and, for once, I bet correctly!

The “competitors” on this trip would be my friend, former co-host of The Outdoor Line Washington State University and Seattle Seahawk center Robbie Tobeck and none other than ESPN’s  Brock Huard, University of Washington & Seattle Seahawk QB and now host of the Brock and Danny show on 710 ESPN Seattle. Brock’s busy career has kept him in the lower 48 and this would be his first trip to Alaska. He would not be disappointed.

First up on the rod was the “cantankerous Cougar” Robbie Tobeck. He is all smiles with this jumbo yelloweye rockfish.

Tobeck’s  career best 90 pound halibut didn’t hurt his feelings and took a little bit of the sting out of our annual Puget Sound halibut skunkings…

Robbie had to conduct some business in town after our morning bottomfish outing so after we got the fish cleaned and processed, we barely had time to pick up Brock and his friend Jamie Waltier from the airport for the afternoon salmon trip.

Brock had spent his morning broadcasting the “Brock and Danny Show” from the Seahawks minicamp where he interviewed Assistant Head Coach Tom Cable. When Brock mentioned to Cable that he was leaving directly for an Alaskan fishing trip,,,well,.. let’s just say that rabid fisherman and Snohomish, Washington native Tom Cable shifted the focus of the interview from free agents to fishing!

Brock Huard wasted no time getting his first Alaskan chinook on board! Despite a gusty first afternoon, he toughed it out and boated this chrome king.

Brock’s busy schedule allowed him only one salmon trip last year and it was a tough outing. So, when his first king hit, he was something way “north” of excited. In fact, this professional speaker, broadcaster and college football color commentator/analyst completely lost the ability to speak and spun the handle on my Daiwa Saltist faster than I thought humanly possible! Let’s just say that I’m glad we didn’t start him out on a single-action mooching reel…

With day one in the books, my good friend Derek Floyd of Reel Class Charters agreed to take us fishing on his day off. Here, Derek tells Brock’s friend Jamie Waltier what to expect aboard his 30 foot charter boat, the  “Angler”.

Holy smokes! Is that Brock playing a chinook with a single action reel? Absolutely! He is coachable after all!

Tobeck quickly got into the act as well. This 25 pounder got him all fired up and he started to realize that salmon are as least as feisty as his beloved tuna.

Brock Huard’s development as a salmon angler advanced from downrigger trolling with a levelwind to mooching with a single action reel and quickly progressed to successfully netting fish! Here Brock’s buddy Jamie is relieved to hoist the results of Brock’s first Alaska net job!

The biggest fish of the day aboard Derek Floyd’s boat was this fine 27 pounder. Counting coho, a couple chums and chinook, Derek got us into 40 salmon, displaying nothing short of a mastery of this fishery.

On our final day in Sitka, we wanted to get out after halibut just once more. Fresh from his successful netting experience, Brock wanted to give harpooning halibut a try. Here, “coach” Tobeck offers some advice.

Unfortunately, Huard could not overcome his coaching and failed to drive the harpoon through the halibut. Instead, this fish looked like he had just emerged from a tattoo and body piercing studio…

Fortunately, Brock’s prowess with a rod exceeds his, well, lack thereof with the harpoon. Here, Tom Nelson and Brock are all smiles with this 135 pound halibut.

Two long-time Puyallup friends with personal bests: Brock Huard (left) with his first-ever tyee (31 pounds) and Jamie Waltier with a fine mid-20’s chinook. Sitka’s scenic landmark volcano Mt. Edgecumbe looms in the background.

Our last day in Sitka was marked by unbelievable weather, Brock’s largest halibut, chinook and a salmon bite that had to be experienced to be believed. Here, the happy crew gets a chance to grin for the camera with the day’s catch.

Great trip, great weather, great friends and the fish cooperated every day. What more can a guy ask for? Summer fishing is off to a big, red hot start!

Tom Nelson
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Northwest Outdoor Report

Sol Duc Picking Up for Springers
Bill Myer from Anglers Guide Service in Forks says he’s been hooking a few nice spring Chinook on the Sol Duc river every day and the fishing appears to be picking up. Myer said most of his springers have been in the 8 to 14 pound range, but he’s heard of quite a few spring Chinook over 20 pounds already. He’s been backtrolling cured eggs and cut plug herring to get his bites on the Sol Duc. The Sol Duc springer fishery will continue to produce fish well into the month of June.

Trout Fishing Still Great Despite High Flows on Upper Columbia
Jack Mitchell from the Evening Hatch Guide Service checked in from Black Bear Lodge on the upper Columbia River to say that the trout fishing has remained great despite really high flows the past couple of weeks. The upper Columbia has swelled from 85,000 cfs to over 175,000 cfs recently from snow melt in the upper part of the basin. Mitchell says the fishing has remained great right thru the uptick in flows. He said they’re catching trout over 20 inches on a daily basis on anything from carpenter ant patterns to caddis, baetis, mayflies, and pmd’s. Mitchell says the great fishing will continue thru the month of June when the Green Drake hatch takes off.

Hein Bank Comes to Life on Second Halibut Opener
Kevin John from Holiday Sports in Burlington reported excellent halibut fishing on Hein Bank on the second halibut opener on Thursday of this past week. Kevin and the gang from Holiday Sports had their limit of halibut between 25 and 45 pounds before noon on Thursday. They caught their fish on the south end of Hein Bank in 120 to 180 feet of water. He said the hot baits were squid with a big glow in the dark hoochie and a large squid with a whole herring stuffed inside of it. Anglers should have decent weather on the Strait of Juan de Fuca for today’s halibut opener until the wind kicks up later this afternoon.

Last Razor Dig of the Season
Clam diggers will get one more chance to dig razor clams at Twin Harbors beach near Westport next Friday thru Sunday. Twin Harbors will be the only beach open for digging. WDFW coastal shellfish manager Dan Ayres says this has been the most productive clam digging season in over 20 years on the Washington Coast. Since last October diggers have harvested more than 5 million razor clams. The coast will close after this last clam dig to allow the razor clams to spawn and provide another crop of clams for digging next fall.

Kids Fishing Event on Heart Lake
One of the hottest trout fishing lakes in the region, Heart Lake near Anacortes, will close over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend for a kids fishing event. The event takes place on June 1st and the lake is closed two days prior to allow freshly stocked trout to acclimate. Kids that otherwise might not get a chance to catch a trout get the entire lake to themselves on June 1st. The Kids Fishing event has been held for 20 years on Heart Lake and is sponsored by the City of Anacortes and the Fidalgo/San Juan chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers.

First Copper River Salmon Arrives in Seattle
Alaska Airlines pilots carried a 40 pound Copper River king salmon to waiting chefs at Sea-Tac Airport yesterday. It was the first Copper River king to arrive in Seattle and marks the beginning of the yearly craze for this great eating strain of king salmon. Copper River king salmon are prized for their high fat content and restaurants pay as much as $50 a pound to purchase them for their patrons. The Alaska Airlines Boeing 737 contained an additional 24,600 pounds of Copper River king salmon and Alaska Airlines said it would run three more Copper River salmon flights like it on Friday.

Minnesota Lakes Test Positive for Cocaine
Associated Press – Scientists just studied 50 lakes in Minnesota for water quality and found a myriad of manmade chemicals in the lakes – including cocaine, DEET, synthetic estrogen, antibiotics, and antidepressants. The bug repellent DEET was found in 76 percent of the lakes and researchers were shocked to find that 32 percent of the lakes tested positive for cocaine. Cocaine was the third most common chemical found in the lakes and scientists were surprised to find it in some very remote lakes that weren’t close to population centers. Before you head to Minnesota and start snorting lake water understand that you’ll probably drown before you catch a buzz. Scientists say the levels of cocaine in the lakes that tested positive is around several parts per trillion…hardly enough to catch a buzz.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle

Northwest Outdoor Report

Kokanee Bite Taking off on Lake Samish
Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington says the kokanee bite on Lake Samish has been heating up the last few days. He’s talked to several anglers who have been limits of kokanee up to 17 inches on the lake. The hot rig has been a Sling Blade dodger with a Wedding Ring spinner behind it tipped with shoepeg corn and a pink Berkley maggot. Kevin says the larger fish are being caught 20 to 30 feet deep on the downrigger and the best fishing has been occurring in the middle of the lake directly in front of the boat ramp.

Bass Tourney on Lake Washington This Weekend
The American Bass Association is hosting two tournaments on Lake Washington this weekend with separate tourneys running on both Saturday and Sunday. Larry Williams from ABA expects between 20 and 30 boats to turn out for the event. With the smallmouth bass recently moving up onto their beds he expects fishing to be quite good and thinks it will take a 22 plus pound limit to take top honors in both events. Williams says the best technique for catching smallmouth bass on Lake Washington this time of year is a drop shot rigged with either a Snyper or a Yamamoto bait.

Halibut Opener Most Productive Around Port Angeles
Anglers couldn’t have asked for better weather on the halibut opener last week. Anglers got flat seas, sun burns, and there was some good fishing at least for those in the Port Angeles area. WDFW fish checkers in Port Angeles checked 141 boats with 146 halibut on the opener last Thursday. That’s an average of more than one halibut per boat. Last year the average out of Port Angeles was around .3 halibut per boat. Port Townsend and Mutiny Bay off Whidbey Island kicked out a few halibut, as well, while the fishing elsewhere in the eastern Strait and the northern Puget Sound was pretty spotty for halibut. Halibut opens in Neah Bay and LaPush this weekend and anglers are once again getting excellent water to fish for halibut offshore.

Neah Bay Halibut Opener Slower Than Expected
Mike Jamboretz from Jambo’s Sportfishing said they had to fish longer than usual to get their limits of halibut on the Neah Bay opener on Thursday. Jamboretz said the ling cod were so thick on most of 72 Square that it was hard to get to the halibut. He had to move quite a bit to find areas with good halibut numbers and finally found some better fishing on Blue Dot. Most of the fish averaged around 30 pounds and their biggest fish was 45 pounds on the opener. Neah Bay and LaPush are open again today for halibut and Jambo says they’ll have “canoe weather” offshore for fishing again.

Special Hunt Permit Deadline Drawing Near
Hunters should be aware that the deadline for special hunt applications is May 22nd this year. Hunters can apply for special hunts for deer, elk, mountain goat, moose, bighorn sheep, and turkey in Washington thru the special hunt process. The drawing for special hunts takes place in late June.

Two Beaches Open for Clamming
Razor clam digging will be open Friday and Saturday on the Long Beach Peninsula and Twin Harbors beach will be open through Tuesday. Copalis and Mocrocks beaches are closed for the season because harvest guidelines have been met on those beaches. Low tide is at 8:12 a.m. today and digging usually starts a couple of hours before the low tide.

Florida Cops Enlist Alligator to Capture Fleeing Criminal
St Petersburg, Florida – A suspect who fled from Pinellas County Sheriff’s deputies after a routine traffic stop was attacked by an alligator and later found at a local hospital being treated for puncture wounds to his face, arm, and armpit area. According to the police report the suspect, Bryan Zuniga, ran into the alligator at a nearby water treatment plant where it attacked him. He had no choice but to check himself into the hospital and of course…that’s where the police caught up to Mr. Zuniga and arrested him. If you run from the cops in Florida…you probably don’t want to wander too far off the beaten path.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com

Northwest Outdoor Report

Opening Day Catches Good Despite Weather
Despite cool and windy weather in many parts of the state, anglers had a lot of success reeling in large trout on the trout opener last weekend. From creel checks conducted at 98 lakes around the state WDFW estimates that anglers caught an average of 4.6 trout apiece on opening day. The largest trout checked was a 24.5 inch rainbow caught at Vance Creek Pond #2 in Grays Harbor and a 24 inch rainbow was caught at Lincoln Counties Fishtrap Lake.  The top three lakes in the state were Aldrich Lake in Mason County with a 4.7 fish average, Wood Lake in Mason County and Erie Lake in Skamania County tied with a 4.6 trout average, and Martha Lake in Snohomish County had a 4.5 fish average on the trout opener. Good trout fishing should continue on most of the planted lakes for at least another month or more.

Cowlitz Picking up for Springers
Bob Kratzer from Anglers Guide Service is reporting decent fishing for spring Chinook on the Cowlitz River the last few days. Kratzer said he’s been hooking three or four fish a day fishing below the I-5 bridge and that the fishing seems to be improving each and every day. He’s been backtrolling anchovies, plugs, and divers with eggs and shrimp and said on any given day the fish will prefer one over the other. Kratzer recommends using Anise scent and some Pautzke krill powder on the eggs. He says with the Toutle River flowing gin clear the river has been fishing really well all the way down to the confluence with the Columbia.

Port Angeles Tops for Puget Sound Halibut
Bob Aunspach at Swains General Store in Port Angeles said great weather lead to some pretty good halibut fishing on the opener on Thursday. He said fish were caught at the Rockpile, 31-36, Green Point, Freshwater Bay, Whiskey Creek, and the Garbage Dump. Bob said most of the fish he saw were in the 20 to 40 pound range and there was an 86 pounder weighed in by Port Angeles angler Mark Reynolds. Aunspach said horse herring has been the best bait year in, year out for catching halibut in the Port Angeles area. Halibut is open in Port Angeles May 2nd thru the 4th and the next opener is May 16th thru the 18th.

Possession Bar Cranking out Lings
Nick Kester from All Star Charters in Everett limited his boat out quickly on ling cod the first two days of the season in Puget Sound. Kester said it took them about two hours each day to catch their limits of nice ling cod. Kester said live sand dabs were the ticket and he fished them on a 3 ounce sliding cannon ball sinker. He says sand dabs that about the size of your palm are best for catching lings in the Puget Sound and be sure to keep them alive.

Walleye Bite Heating Up on Potholes Reservoir
Mike Meseberg from Mar Don Resort on Potholes Reservoir said he’s looking forward to the upcoming week of warm, sunny weather. They’ve been dealing with strong winds off and on for the past month that’s kept both the fish and the fisherman guessing. Meseberg said one of their guides caught limits of walleye in Linn Coulee earlier this week and a few walleye have also been coming out of Crab Creek and the mouth of Frenchman’s Slough. Mike says the best way to catch them right now is with a spinner and a nightcrawler on the bottom. The Rod Meseberg Walleye Classic is being held at Mar Don Resort this weekend and people from all over the northwest will be hitting the lake. With 80 degree weather forecast for the region this weekend Meseberg thinks the fishing should really pick up for the tournament.

Man Injured After Taping Cartridge to BB Gun
Gainesville Sun – (Darwin Award nominee emerges in Gainesville, Florida) A man who tried to shoot a squirrel for dinner by taping a .40-caliber cartridge to a BB gun was hospitalized with shrapnel wounds after the cartridge exploded. William Daniel Lloyd, age 31, taped the cartridge to the end of the barrel to apparently shoot a squirrel for dinner. When he fired the BB gun it hit the primer on the cartridge and the round went off alright. The cartridge exploded sending shrapnel into Lloyd’s upper arm and lower leg. Since the man was a convicted felon he wasn’t allowed to possess firearms or ammunition. He apparently found the cartridge while looking thru a scrap metal pile and thought it might work for getting some dinner in the form of a squirrel. Lloyd’s injuries weren’t life threatening.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
Washington Fishing and Hunting Reports and Forums

Northwest Outdoor Report

Lake Chelan Still Tops for Kokanee
Mike Campbell from Lowrance Electronics lives in Chelan and says the kokanee fishing on Lake Chelan is the best he’s seen in over 30 years. He described the fishing as “wide open” on the lake right now. Campbell says the kokanee are averaging  between 16 and 18 inches and  he recommends using a Luhr Jensen Triple “000” dodger and a Kokanee Killer tipped with shoepeg corn to catch them. He says the best fishing has been occurring in 60 to 105 feet of water around Rocky Point and Minneapolis Beach. Campbell says that once you find a school on your electronics it’s important to stay on them.

Smallies Hanging Deep in Lake Stevens
Greg Rockenback at Greg’s Custom Rods in Lake Stevens says there’s been some nice smallmouth being caught on the lake in 30 to 40 feet of water. Greg recommended using football head jigs in any pattern that resembles a crawfish. Lake Stevens holds more smallmouth bass than largemouth’s and Rockenback says the smallies will go up to 6 pounds in the lake. He says the water temperature is about 45 degrees right now and he’s hoping with the warm weather it will jump start the kokanee bite soon.

Washington Halibut Seasons Announced
The halibut season in Puget Sound will be shortened a bit this year to compensate for exceeding last year’s quota. This year’s halibut season was reduced by five days in the eastern strait and nine days in Marine 5 because of last year’s quota over-run. The southern Washington coast will see a slight increase in its halibut season. Managers have moved the fishing days from Thursday thru Saturday to Friday thru Sunday to accommodate an extra weekend day to allow more anglers to harvest halibut. For more on the upcoming halibut season in Washington be sure to check out the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website.

Wenatchee Wolf Pack Confirmed
After being wiped out as a breeding population in Washington in the 1930s wolves have been making a comeback here in Washington State recently. Since 2008 wolf packs have established themselves in Okanogan, Pend Oreille, Kittitas, Stevens, and now Chelan County. The Chelan County pack was confirmed recently by trail cam photos sent from a resident in Pitcher Canyon just south of Wenatchee of two wolves feeding on a dead bull elk. State biologists say that wolves are rarely a threat to humans but they have been known to attack pets, especially dogs.

Springers Still Slow on the Columbia
Only 13 percent of the springer quota had been caught on the Columbia River through last Sunday. The season is set to close on April 6th, but officials are meeting on Wednesday to review the run to date and decide whether a season extension is warranted. Many think an extension of the springer season will occur on the Columbia. The season is scheduled to end on the lower river April 5, but with such a small percentage of the quota having been caught by anglers it’s likely that the season will be extended. Oregon officials are meeting on Wednesday to decide whether a season extension is warranted. The annual NSIA derby is on the river today, which will be a good gauge of how the fishing is.

Walleye Limit Increased
WDFW just increased the walleye limit on Lake Roosevelt, the San Poil River, and the lower Spokane River to 16 walleye per day with no size restriction. Officials are trying to control the population of walleye to reduce predation on native species and produce more quality walleye for future fishing opportunities.

Kokanee Seminar at Three Rivers Marine April 10th
Don’t miss the free Kokanee Seminar on April 10th at Three Rivers Marine in Woodinville. Capt. Ryan Bigley’s seminar will kick off at 7:00 p.m. and mini-clinics start at 6:00 p.m.. Kokanee are just starting to bite in our local lakes and now is the time to learn where, when, and how to catch these great eating fish. Three Rivers Marine will have free hot dogs and pop as well as a ton of raffle prizes including a Jared Johnson edition Lamiglas kokanee rod to give away. Get ahold of Kent Alger at Three Rivers Marine in Woodinville for more details.

Renew Licenses for 2013
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to remind fishers and hunters that licenses are good thru Sunday, March 31st. Fishing licenses, hunting licenses, and Discovery passes will all need to be renewed on April 1st for the coming year. License fees will remain the same across the board for 2013.

Man Arrested for Shooting a Deer in a Walmart Parking Lot
Indiana Gazette, Pennsylvania – At the Resort Plaza Walmart in Indiana, Pennsylvania people can save a dollar and apparently waste a buck, as well. Arcangelo Bianco Jr. was doing some banking at the Walmart back on November 26th when he spotted a huge 10 point whitetail run around the corner of the store and across the parking lot. He quickly jumped out of his truck with a handgun and began firing multiple rounds at the animal. After successfully harvesting the big whitetail he loaded the deer in the back of his truck and took it to a local processor. In addition to having a parking lot full of witnesses the incident was also captured on Walmart’s surveillance cameras. The game officer working on the case said it was the nicest buck he’s seen come out of Indiana County in the last three years. A preliminary hearing for Bianco is scheduled for May 1st.

Rob Endsley
The Outdoor Line
710 ESPN Seattle
www.theoutdoorline.com