Fishing

Heavy-rain forecast tough on angling

Recent rain has already washed out some rivers, and with one of the wettest storm systems in recent years predicted for this weekend fishing conditions aren't likely to be ideal.

The National Weather Service is predicting as much as 21/2 inches of rain around the South Sound this weekend and as much as 10 inches in the Olympic Mountains.

The freezing level is expected to rise to 7,000 feet or higher, creating the possibility of snow melt further filling the rivers.

Still, there are places where the fish might be biting.

RIVERS

Columbia: The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced this week that it is requesting anglers on the Columbia River use barbless hooks next year. However, using barbless hooks will not be required.

“Going barbless only makes sense in these fisheries where we’re trying to maximize survival rates for released wild fish,” WDFW director Phil Anderson said in a prepared statement. “Anglers can play an important role in that effort by using barbless hooks.”

Currently, fishing on the river seems to be best in Eastern Washington. Anton Jones of Darrell and Dad’s Family Guide Service says steelhead fishing has been very good between Bridgeport and Brewster.

Kalama: “End of story,” said Wayne Orzel of Pritchard’s Western Angler on his recorded fishing report. “The river is just blown out, big time. ... I’d say forget it for three or four days.”

Lewis: There are chum – many of them quite dark – and winter-run steelhead to be had.

Puyallup: Anglers are catching some chum, but some are too dark to be worth keeping. The fishing is similar on the Carbon River.

Satsop: Not a bad spot to try for steelhead.

Wynoochee: Eggs and shrimp will give you the best chance of landing steelhead.

LAKES

Pass: Rainbow and brown trout are biting near trees and stumps.

Spanaway: Bud Herlitzka of Spanaway Park Boat House says “the fish are out there, they’re just getting fat and lazy.”

He says boat anglers are doing best. They are hitting their trout limits by fishing at a depth of about 10 feet. Browns are also biting for trollers.

St. Clair: Try going deep with chironomids and Woolly Buggers.

Calligan and Hancock: Lead tackle will no longer be permitted on these King County lakes starting May 1, the WDFW announced this week. The lakes are among 13 statewide where lead tackle will be banned in an attempt to protect loons.

SALT WATER

Hood Canal: Head north for blackmouth. Also a good bet for crabbing.

South Sound: If you want to try crabbing, head to the Nisqually River area. Otherwise, the action remains slow.

Tacoma: Fishing is slow, according to staff at the Point Defiance Boathouse Marina. Squidding has been good around area docks.

HUNTING

Hunters who report their activities before Jan. 10 will be entered to win a special hunting permit, the WDFW announced this week.

Those who file reports for every black bear, deer, elk or turkey tag they purchased in 2010 will have a chance to win one of five deer permits and four elk permits. The permits, good for various areas around the state, will be valid Sept. 1 to Dec. 31, 2011.

All hunting reports are due Jan. 31.

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