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We're gonna get 'em next year!

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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2007 4:13 pm    Post subject: We're gonna get 'em next year! Reply with quote

Tony Floor reflects on this year's salmon fishing and tells us how to schedule next year! Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.

We're gonna get 'em next year!

I can't believe it. Another year, here and gone... toast. December is here, like it or not, ready or not, it's like a steamroller heading your way! I look at December in a couple of ways: First, the traditional version of time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, getting all the holiday things done on the list. Then, there's the winter solstice version, as in December 21.

For this saltwater angler, the winter solstice is the end of the year. Not only is it the shortest daylight day of the year representing the end of the earth's migration to the brightest days in the southern hemisphere, and the darkest days in the northern hemisphere, but beginning December 22, the pendulum of daylight starts to swing back our way, here in the Pacific Northwest. That's what I'm talkin' about baby!

From a salmon fishing standpoint, as I was explaining to a friend this morning, many of the prime saltwater areas I consider favorites are closed during December and January. Yes, the Tacoma, Seattle and Everett areas remain open in December. And, for the first time in over a decade, Admiralty Inlet from Port Townsend to Kingston will open in mid-January for hatchery produced chinook salmon through April 15. Beam me up, Scotty. More details to follow in next month's column.

December is also a good time to look back at the year. There were some highlights, and plenty of low lights on the northwest salmon fishing scene. I will remember awesome blackmouth fishing last February and March in the San Juan Islands and the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca. Thank God for stainless steel props as high numbers of hatchery chinook salmon were gobbling the props right off boats! I think it was the best winter blackmouth season in the last 20-25 years. I have been getting reports, throughout November, that another good survival rate for these hatchery chinook salmon is underway again. Hate it when that happens.

Spring chinook fishing in the Columbia River was in the tank again. That fishery has been through some real roller coaster years as Mother Nature continues to shuffle the deck in the ocean, causing a major effect on survival rates. This phenomenon played into summer fisheries too, particularly in the coastal salmon fisheries as anglers worked hard to scratch out a few chinook and coho salmon throughout the season.

The bright spot was certainly northern Puget Sound in mid-July and early August for hatchery fin-clipped chinook salmon. As I reported to you in earlier columns during the late summer months, salmon fishing was like "the good 'ol days" particularly north of Seattle up to Port Townsend including Possession Bar on the south end of Whidbey Island. I visited with a salmon fishing guide at one of my favorite fishing tackle stores in Tacoma yesterday who reported catches of around 150 hatchery fin-clipped king salmon for his boat during the middle of the summer. That works.

Coho salmon runs into Puget Sound, following the heels of this year's migratory king salmon run was decent too. The Everett Coho Salmon Derby, the last weekend of September recorded coho salmon catches of over 700 fish in one day. Yep, sign me up.

So, while I am staring at my Christmas "to do" list, I am also beginning a new list of fishing plans for my schedule in 2008. Following the big Seattle Boat Show (Jan. 24 through Feb. 2) where I will spend a great deal of time, the motor will be running in anticipation of the February 1 opener in the San Juan Islands. If you are a regular to this column, you have likely witnessed my writings about the great salmon fishing during the winter in the Islands. No, I am not a real estate broker for land in the San Juans. Yes, I am a San Juan Islands fishing junkie during February and March throughout the Islands. It's like shooting ducks in a 55 gallon barrel, baby. Big, chrome, juicy Chinook salmon trying to rip the rod out of your hands. These fish are so bright, I recommend wearing sun glasses in the dark, just to look at them. Baby, they are gorgeous fish. Ten to 20 pounds, oh my, there go my eyeballs.

The Roche Harbor Salmon Classic Invitational runs from February 7-9 next year, which is prime time salmon fishing in the Islands. This event, is followed by the new Anacortes Salmon Derby March 29-30. Both of these events produced incredible salmon fishing in 2007. I am so there.

As you are putting a few ornaments on your Christmas tree, take a break here and there and tie a few salmon leaders. Pour yourself an egg nog, you deserve it, close your eyes, and think about big chrome chinook salmon, pulling on your string. The real big one is mine, sorry about that.

My Christmas wish to you is to get out on the water more in 2008. We live in an incredible place on the planet, rich with natural resources well and alive in the natural world. I've got one more leader to tie, and this one is going on the tree to remind me that 2007 was a great year and 2008 will be even better. Can't wait to see you on the water. Merry Christmas to you and your family. We're gonna get 'em next year!
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Captain Walker
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:26 pm    Post subject: We're gonna get 'em next year! Reply with quote

Another well written, informative article by Tony Floor! Thank you, Hal, for your continued postings of this educational writer.
Captain David Walker

Moderator, Boaters Line Moderator
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