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A preliminary review of the 2011 salmon forecasts calls for strong pink salmon runs to the Green and Puyallup rivers, while chinook returns in the deep South Sound should be good.
The return of warmer weather, although it's supposed to be accompanied by rain, should get more folks on the water. Winds this week made the South Sound pretty unfishable. Steelhead anglers should consider the Olympic Peninsula rivers or the improving Cowlitz River.
Rob Schmidt of Sequim won the $10,000 first prize at last weekend's Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby with an 18.90-pound salmon. Overall, there were 248 fish checked in during the three-day event that ended Monday.
The temperatures might be dipping, but the action is heating up a bit on Spanaway Lake.
If we don't get too much rain, rivers in the region should be in good shape. Steelhead anglers will have to head to the Olympic Peninsula or to southwest rivers with Tuesday's closure of the few North Sound river locations that were still open.
It seems as though the fishing has been consistent, good one day or bad the next, no matter the area. Some of the best reports have come from the Wynoochee for steelhead, Spanaway Lake for trout and the North Sound for salmon.
There seems to be some more positive reports coming from area waters. Anglers may want to make the trip to Skunk Bay and Foulweather Bluff for salmon. The Olympic Coast rivers are in good shape and giving up some steelhead. Local lakes, including American, are good choices for rainbow trout.
The state earlier this week announced two rule changes to stay in compliance with federal rules.
With better weather in the forecast, fishing prospects might also improve. Anything that will warm the water should help lake anglers in pursuit of trout, while good weather should stabilize river flows and visibility.
There is encouraging news from the Columbia River: the first spring chinook are showing up. So far, at least four fish have been caught during a commercial white sturgeon fishery, said Joe Hymer, a state fish biologist.