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February Salmon fishing in the San Juan Islands

 
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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 04, 2009 1:01 pm    Post subject: February Salmon fishing in the San Juan Islands Reply with quote

Time to get rev'd up for February salmon fishing - Tony knows how! Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.


February fishing in the Islands


Ahhhh, February. Winter dissipates, days are getting longer again, and here comes the beginning of the saltwater salmon fishing season parade for this cat.

If you follow salmon fishing here in the northwest like this writer, you know that February represents the opening of blackmouth fishing in the San Juan Islands followed by the Strait of Juan de Fuca opener in mid-February.

If you are a frequent reader of this column, in its three and one-half years of existence, you have witnessed my writings heralding the San Juan Islands as the Pacific Northwest Mecca for blackmouth fishing.

In order to improve your success, as a salmon angler, the how to, where to and why are important ingredients to the recipe. Once those skills are honed, then the when becomes very critical.

In my time on this planet, I have invested considerable time, learning the elements to become a knowledgeable salmon angler. It is my passion, profession and recreation. Therefore, paying attention and focusing on the when ingredient is very important. Letís cut to the chase. The blackmouth, feeder chinook salmon, three and four years old, are the primary results of production from a Puget Sound hatchery, and many of them live in the San Juans in February. They live there for the food, not the view, unless we are linking view with food. Like their parents did as growing and maturing chinook salmon (and their parentsí parents), late winter in the San Juan Islands is an incredible region for fish habitat and the grazing that feeding chinook salmon require, in their final year of life.

Knowing that February and March are considered prime time to go blackmouth fishing in northern Washington waters, I feel the inertia of our economic crisis working against me. People are hunkered down as the tsunamis of bad news pounds the minds of the northwest people like boxing against Muhammad Ali on his best day. As an optimist who has dealt with a fair share of the chuck holes of life, there are plenty of logical reasons why I should not launch my Osprey in February and go fishing. That is exactly why itís time to go fishing.

Wondering about my Kool-Aid? It was not produced at Hanford. Yes, we are in an economic crisis in nearly every form of business, certainly including the boating and fishing world. And, while itís easier said than done, this too shall pass. Life is short and Iím headed for the San Juan Islands next weekend for the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic, February 5-7.

In the last 35 years that I have fished the San Juan Islands during the winter, I have learned a lot about where to fish this incredibly diverse area of real estate. Just last winter, fishing with local angler Jay Field of Anacortes, he introduced me to the Lopez Pass area which produces good blackmouth catches throughout the winter, particularly when tons of baitfish cruise the area.

Rocky Bay, on the northeast shoulder of San Juan Island is another steady producer that was recently added to my list of favs, especially when the wind is howling on the west side of the Islands.

Spring Pass, Obstruction Pass, Humphrey Head, Parker Reef/Thompson Pt., Presidentís Channel, Tide Pt., Eagle Bluff and the list goes on and on. Thatís the real beauty of the San Juan Islands in February. Not only are the fish there, but there are always places to fish effectively, out of the weather, if weather is an issue.

Techniques are fairly simple. I fish a plug cut herring off a downrigger ball, in 90 to 140 feet of water, maintaining a range of 5-10 feet off the bottom. Iíll come up off the bottom further if Iím fishing areas of extreme rocky habitat, such as Presidentís Channel on the west side of Orcas Island.

Admittedly, I live a pretty good life for a northwest boy. I go fishing. I write about fishing. I go fishing. I promote salmon fishing. I go fishing. I help negotiate fishing seasons. I go fishing and I eat fish. Yeah, baby, I eat fish. Fresh San Juan Island blackmouth on the grill, oozing with Omega 3ís, and, like the old M&M chocolate candy commercials said... melts in your mouth, not your hand.

So, take a look out the window, right now. What do you see? I see February and itís time to go north. See you on the water... in the Islands. Itís blackmouth time baby, hey now, hey now!
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Captain Walker
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:23 am    Post subject: Moving on to the Spring for Salmon Fishing... Reply with quote

February has come and gone. It is time to move on to the spring runs, both in the North and South

Blackmouth to the north, Spring Chinook to the south

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camatian



Joined: 19 Jan 2010
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 3:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is the shortest commercial fishing season? I want to go commercial fishing but I have to work at my family's fishing lodge in the summer, so I was wondering what the shortest commercial fishing season is, so I don't have to be gone from the lodge for so long.
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Last edited by camatian on Thu Jan 21, 2010 4:02 am; edited 1 time in total
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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2010 9:58 am    Post subject: Fishing season Reply with quote

Hello Camatian,

Where do you live and where is the family fishing lodge? Bristol Bay is has a very short season but that is in Alaska and may interfere with the family fishing lodge season.
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