The North Sound Chapter of the Coastal Conservation Association of Washington holds its fifth annual conservation banquet and auction Saturday, April 13, at Bellingham Golf and Country Club, 3729 Meridian St., Bellingham.
Tickets are $75 for singles and $140 for couples and can be purchased by calling 360-510-9563 or 360-927-0544. The ticket fee includes admission to the event, dinner and a one-year membership in CCA Pacific Northwest.
Doors open and the silent auction begins at 5 p.m., with dinner and the live auction at 7:30 p.m.
CCA North Sound meets monthly alternating between Mayberry's Sporting Goods in Bellingham and Holiday Market Sports Center in Burlington.
With the main focus on conserving wild and native fish in the Northwest and preserving their marine and freshwater habitats, CCA North Sound and affiliated chapters have taken on specific projects that include:
Supporting the discovery and removal of derelict commercial fishing gear from Puget Sound waters and the Nooksack River.
Dispersing salmon carcasses from state hatcheries in area streams to enrich nutrients for native aquatic insects and fish.
Organizing kids' events, including fly-tying workshops such as the one scheduled for Wednesday, April 17, at Yeager's Sporting Goods in Bellingham.
For more information about the Coastal Conservation Association Pacific Northwest, including meeting dates and locations for this area's chapter, log on to ccawashington.org/home.
Also coming this spring, postponed from an earlier date, is the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Mount Baker Chapter's banquet and auction now set for Saturday, May 18, in Lynden.
RECENTLY CONCLUDED BANQUET
The Northwest Washington Steelheaders, an independent sport fishing group headquartered in Whatcom County, recently held a successful banquet and auction that netted funds to underwrite more winter steelhead production and hold the annual Bellingham kids fishing derby.
Club President Dave Bailey said he was gratified by the show of support from the community at the fundraiser, held Saturday, March 9, at the Deming Logging Show Museum. More than 255 people, including a number of families, attended and the club auctioned or raffled a record 220 donated items.
Bailey said more than 70 businesses and individuals donated goods and services for the 2013 fundraiser.
This year's brood of about 50,000 marked hatchery winter steelhead, whose feed was purchased by the club, and which were raised at the club's McKinnon Pond with help from Mount Baker High School students, is a few weeks away from release out of Kendall Creek Hatchery on the North Fork.
Bailey said his club is getting ready to hold the Bellingham Kids' Fishing Derby early in May.
COLUMBIA FISHERY EXTENDED
With lower than expected early catches, the lower Columbia's personal use spring chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam has been extended through Friday, April 12, by Oregon and Washington managers.
To date, hook and line anglers have landed just 1,500 marked adult spring chinook, 25 percent of the overall expected take of 6,100 of these early kings.
Fishing conditions have been good, with lower and warmer flows this spring. At 141,400 fish, this year's return of early chinook is predicted to be markedly lower than that of recent past years. Last year, 203,000 spring chinook came back.
Recreational and commercial fishing is being managed to ensure that the take does not exceed exploitation guidelines. Once the early lower season is closed, Columbia Compact technical conferees will meet to determine if a late-run stanza can be held. If not, lower Columbia salmon fishing will not reopen until later in the summer.
Until Friday, the lower Columbia will be open from its mouth upstream to Beacon Rock for both bank and boat fishing for hatchery salmon and steelhead with a two marked fish - combined steelhead and salmon, with no more than one chinook - per day bag limit.
The river is open from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam for bank fishing only.
Use of barbless hooks is mandatory and all wild fish (bearing their adipose fins) must be released quickly without being removed from the water.
Regulations for fishing above Bonneville Dam remain the same as previously posted.
Managers say this run is entering a period of flux, with most fish due to enter this month. Fishing could be extended or closed on relatively short notice.
Around 52,000 triploid rainbow trout, averaging around a pound and a half each, are destined to go into 114 of the state's lakes, most this spring.
Whatcom County has four lakes, Padden, Squalicum, Terrell and Toad, on the 2013 "trips" list to receive these neutered trout, which are purchased each year from private fish growers.
First to get theirs are lakes Terrell (a portion of the 836 fish) and Toad (250 trout) this month, Squalicum gets its 178 lunker allotment in May at which time the last part of Terrell's triploid lot goes in. Last to receive its trips will be Padden, in June.
Padden and Toad open for the summer season the last Saturday of this month, Terrell and Squalicum are open year-round.
Next door in Skagit County, six lowland waters are on the triploid recipient list, with stocking to take place this month in Campbell (half of 1,071), Erie (850), Heart (600) and Clear (718). The first three lakes are on Fidalgo Island south of Anacortes, the latter south of Sedro-Woolley. Campbell's remaining allotment goes in May.
In May, Pass Lake on Fidalgo Island will get 162 triploids and tiny Vogler Lake north of Concrete will get 59. Pass is fishable 365 days a year, while Vogler is a seasonal catch and release lake. At both lakes, anglers are limited to using fly fishing.
BASS TILTS IN APRIL
Ins and outs at ramps on selected weekend days at several county lakes may take a little longer this month.
Lake Terrell has a pair of bass tourneys slated for April 13-14 and April 20. The first event is an open-to-all-comers tourney sponsored by the Washington State Pond Jumperz (pondjumperz.com), while the third Saturday contest is only for members of the Washington Bass Association (washingtonbassclub.com).
Whatcom has a two-day fishing contest timed to its start of the summer fishing season April 27-28. Open to all qualified fishers who want to cast their lot (and entry fee), it's sponsored by our local bass group, the Borderline Bassin Contenders.
The Wildcat Steelheader Club's kids derby will be Saturday, May 4, in Sedro-Woolley, followed by the Northwest Washington Steelheaders Bellingham Kids' Fishing Derby on May 11.
On June 1, Sumas American Legion Post No. 212's Howard Bowen Memorial kids derby will be held at the city park on Johnson Creek, followed by the Lynden Camel Club's youth fishing contest at Lynden City Park on Fishtrap Creek.
HIGHWAY 20 UPDATE
Two weeks into State Route 20's annual spring clearing, just 12.5 of miles road remain covered with snow.
The Washington State Department of Transportation's west side crew has cleared, ditched and repaired guardrail up to milepost 150, seven miles west of Rainy Pass, while the east grade WSDOT crew has the roadbed unburdened and daylighted up to Washington Pass at milepost 162.5.
Over in the Sinlahekin near Loomis, Spectacle Lake opened April 1 to trout fishing, with an expected yield of 10- to14- inch rainbows, and Davis, Campbell, Cougar, Rat Green and Lower Green lakes in north-central Washington transitioned to catch and release April Fool's Day as well.
A full slate of 22 other Okanagan waters start their summer seasons at the end of the month and it is looking likely that the northern cross-state route will be open for westsiders to use.
Doug Huddle, the Bellingham Herald's outdoors correspondent, since 1983 has written a weekly fishing and hunting column that now appears Sundays. Read his blog and contact him at http://pblogs.bellinghamherald.com/outdoors.