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Take it to the bank baby!

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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Wed Apr 02, 2008 10:13 am    Post subject: Take it to the bank baby! Reply with quote

Tony puts it in perspective! Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.

Take it to the bank, baby!

Getting tired of bad news? Me too. It's the economy, words like recession, the stock market, price of gasoline, who shot who, presidential candidates, gubernatorial candidates… where's my tide book?

For most of my life, living here in the Pacific Northwest, I am thinking about getting outside or living the good life, being outside. I plan my days, weeks and at this time of year, months, paying attention to the tides and all the good things these tidal exchanges bring to my world.

If you are a reader of this column, you have learned that the inland saltwater of Washington delivers a smorgasbord of outdoor opportunities during these waning days of winter. Coming off the incredible great days of February, I am hitting my stride, chasing winter hatchery-produced chinook salmon, along with chewing fresh razor clams between my cheek and gum.

March is the pinnacle of winter blackmouth fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca through the San Juan Islands south to Olympia. During February, spending time on and off the water at the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic tournament, followed by the Discovery Bay Salmon Derby, I am pleased to report to you that the fish are there. Baby, are they ever there. Records were smashed at both events for numbers of hatchery fin-clipped chinook salmon caught and number of anglers chasing those fish. Try 1,200 anglers who fished these two tournaments. If sport salmon fishing is a fading sport in this part of the country, then I'm Jimmy Hoffa.

It is my belief tested over time, that when March rolls around, it's time to go to the bank in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca… the south end of Hein Bank on an ebb tide, the north end of Middle Bank also on an ebb tide and Coyote Bank on either tide. Take it to the bank, baby.

Winter blackmouth love these banks in March, chowing down on herring, sandlance (candlefish) and shrimp. Work the bottom 10 feet, between 100 and 140 feet of water and stand-by to make a bank deposit into your cooler of fresh winter blackmouth. My oh my! A fresh chunk on the grill, a little lemon pepper and garlic salt with a few thin slices of butter or margarine to keep the filet moist, excuse me while I pass out.

I'm going to make it easy for you. The best weekends to fish for blackmouth in March should be the weekend of March 8-9 and the weekend of March 22-23. With a little break in the weather, you may want to consider burning a vacation day or two to ensure your deposit of fresh winter chinook in the bank.

March will offer a razor clam dig on the central Washington coast too. The bad news is that it occurs going into and during the weekend of good blackmouth tides on March 8-9. I'll do both! Dig me?

I also plan to participate in the Anacortes Salmon Derby, March 29-30. For me, it's my last weekend to fish for winter blackmouth this season. Hold the sympathy cards. If you can't get into the Islands this month, for the first time in several years, salmon fishing is open through April 15. Middle Bank or Coyote Bank will be the place to be during these first two weeks of April. Don't overlook Spring Pass between Jones Island and the western tip of Orcas Island.

Look for the annual salmon forecast results following an all day meeting in Olympia, March 4. Although the preliminary forecast for chinook and coho salmon bound for the Columbia and the fisheries along the Washington coast look grim, I remain optimistic that we can maintain or expand selective fishing for hatchery fin-clipped chinook salmon this summer and next winter. Several Puget Sound tribes have been successful in blocking the movement forward with selective fishing, particularly during and following the 2007 annual salmon setting process. Currently, the Tribes intercepts two-thirds of the returning Puget Sound hatchery chinook and their strategy is to keep that formula intact. From my perspective, the Department of Fish and Wildlife produces about 30 million hatchery chinook salmon in the Sound each year. If state taxpayers are paying millions of dollars for this production, which they are, shouldn't we have an opportunity to catch them? If you think politics is confusing and frustrating on a local, state or federal level, try salmon politics. You can't get there from here.

March is a month to get outside and on the water. Spring is in the air, my boat is ready to rock and I'm totally ready for the taste of fresh chinook salmon on the barbeque. See you on the water!
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Captain Walker
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 7:35 am    Post subject: Take it to the bank baby! Reply with quote

Another fine article by Tony!

I look forward to the next installment.
Captain David Walker

Moderator, Boaters Line Moderator
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