By now, anglers are adapting to a new fishing season and it will be interesting to see just what kind of a year it will actually be.
For starters, the matter of new licenses is already old business. Catch record cards have been returned and we await the results of accumulated data statewide.
Lake fishing opened last month and fishers have been making trout their focus for the last several weeks. This interest should continue well into the summer since the Department of Fisheries seeks to assure anglers their efforts are warranted by new plants. This would definitely be the case at Lake Sylvia which accommodates a state park and draws the public.
The next big thing on the fishing scene will be the opening of rivers, streams and beaver dams to fresh water fishing the first Saturday of June, which is June 7.
In the meantime, anglers have a few other options before them. The spring Chinook season is a great attraction for local anglers, primarily on the Cowlitz or Columbia river. These two rivers carry the largest numbers of springers. Of course, this will mean there is travel involved. Some folk prefer the more solitude option of the Hoh River, even though the numbers are not equivalent. Nevertheless, there still is the travel issue to face.
Locally, the Chehalis River has historically provided a small run of spring Chinook salmon. Sometimes, the pursuit of these fish simply becomes a boat ride with no fish to show for the effort. The Chehalis is also known for its sturgeon fish population. This fishery is definitely an attention getter.
However, the rules and even catch- and-release regulations have made changes in terms of interest. It still gives anglers an opportunity to wet a line in fashion with the sport.
For me, I use this portion of the season, which I call a transition, to organize, retool, repair and oversee my fishing equipment. I like to sort out my gear according to fisheries. At times, things get put in the wrong box or vest and I find myself packing things which are not part of what I am doing.
I find that the better prepared I am, the more productive I can become. At least, I will have on hand what I need to pursue the fish of the moment. I don’t know how many times I have gone after one species with gear applying entirely for another.
This can get even more complicated if boats and motors are involved. I have watched anglers trying desperately to start their boat motor to no avail after it has sat for the better part of a season. Equally so, a boat can become a collection zone for fishing paraphernalia. It is amazing what one can find tucked away in the inner chambers of a fishing vessel.
In regards to our next upcoming fishery it would be prudent to scout steelhead -bearing rivers. Taking stock of where these fish are holding will not only take some time, but it will give one a “leg up” on other anglers. Any kind of an advantage can prove to be beneficial.