Outdoors

Several local fishing seminars coming to Bellingham

Searching for the ultimate understanding of the arcane details of saltwater pursuits for shrimp, salmon or halibut?

Perhaps you want to know how to coax out of your fish finder a better view of the sub-surface world in which those species dwell?

You need to look no further than a quartet of free seminars put on by LFS Marine and Outdoors in Bellingham, starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, April 18.

The brace of morning sessions will focus on fish-finding electronics (beginning at 9 a.m.) and home waters salmon fishing (start at 10:30 a.m.). The two afternoon talks are to delve into halibut (12 p.m. start) and shrimping (1:30 p.m. start) gear and tactics.

Slated to speak of these marine waters quarry are six fishers, Steven Chamberlin, Bill and Eric Havland, John Beath, Zack Miller and Ernie Brock, each with years of experience and success in their respective pursuits.

Chamberlin is a retired U.S. Navy sonarman, the Havlands bring more than 50 years of combined salmon fishing, Beath is an award-winning writer and charter skipper, Miller and Brock each are long-time ardent catchers of shrimp.

Timing of these tutorials will give participants sufficient opportunity to incorporate gear and technique information and suggestions into their individual repertoires well in advance of start of 2015 personal use seasons.

Recreational shrimping in Washington inland waters kicks off the first week in May, halibut opportunities inside and out begin around mid-May and saltwater salmon seasons begin in earnest in June (ocean side) and July (inside waters).

LFS Marine & Outdoors’ saltwater seminars will be held in the Squalicum Boathouse at Zuanich Point Park on Bellingham’s waterfront. They’re free to the public, but reservations are needed to be sure of getting a seat.

Reserve one or more of the 150 or so chairs for each by calling LFS Marine and Outdoors at 360-734-3336 weekdays during business hours and signing up for any one or more and even all of the sessions.

MORE HALIBUT CALENDAR

With a catch cap set at 218,416 pounds (for the Washington recreational side), 2015’s slate of inside waters personal use halibut fishing openings will unfold as follows.

Marine Areas 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10: 57,393-pound Puget Sound quota in 11 total days of fishing, open between May 8-9 and between May 15-16 (Fridays and Saturdays) and between May 21-24 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and May 28-30 (Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Marine Area 5: Eight days total, including May 15-16 (Friday and Saturday), May 21-24 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday) and May 29-30 (Thursday and Friday).

Marine Areas 11, 12, 13: These southern Puget Sound marine recreation management zones will be closed to halibut fishing this year to protect threatened and endangered rockfish species.

For coastal areas, the season is scheduled as follows:

Marine Area 1 (Columbia River): 10,254-pound zonal quota with fishing to begin Friday, May 1, four days per week (Thursday-Sunday) with sub-quota cut-offs .

Marine Area 2 (Westport): 42,739-pound zonal quota with the season set to open Sunday, May 3, two days per week (Sunday and Tuesday) for three consecutive weeks, then an area-wide closure May 24 and 26. Resumptions are possible if sufficient allocation remains after initial openings.

Marine Areas 3 and 4 (La Push and Neah Bay): 108,030-pound zonal quota with fishing kicking off in both marine areas May 14, two days per week (Thursdays and Saturdays) through May 23. If enough harvestable fish remain to be caught, the fishery will re-open June 4 and possibly June 6.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there will be a one-fish daily limit and no minimum size restriction. Anglers may possess a maximum of two fish in any form, and must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card.

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (United States and Canada are its members) is the sole arbiter of the exploitation of North Pacific halibut by the all-important catch allocation metric of weight.

The panel annually sets poundage quotas for its halibut management zones ranging from waters of California to the Bering Sea based on observed population trends throughout these waters. Quotas are set not only for fisheries targeting halibut but for those commercial ventures going after other fish species that catch halibut as well.

Another catch-sharing plan brokered by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council further splits that number among treaty and non-treaty interests in Washington, with tribal fishers harvesting for both commercial sale as well as ceremony and subsistence.

The non-treaty quota also is divided among commercial and personal use fisheries and that recreational catch allotment is apportioned still further between Washington outside or ocean fisheries and inland waters opportunities.

Each jurisdiction must demonstrate its competence at holding their fisheries to each year’s allocated poundage.

LINGCOD

Outside fishery: spring lings in marine areas 1-3 along the Washington coast, as of mid-March, became fair-game for personal use fishers. Marine Area 4 lings are legal to retain beginning April 16. These fisheries are subject to restrictions designed to protect rockfish and coordinate with halibut opportunities.

Inside fishery: fangers from Strait of Juan De Fuca into greater Puget Sound may be kept during a 46-day period starting the first of May. Note: this year’s fishing regulations remain in effect until June 30, 2015. The inside bag limit is one fish between 26-36 inches.

SR 20 UPDATE

Friday, April 3 is now the ‘soft’ target date for resumption of driving on the North Cascades Highway portion of State Route 20.

There’s heavy emphasis on the phrase ‘no promises’ but if the pace of work and good fortune continues in this spring’s low snowpack environment, pavement will be daylighted in time for Okanogan trout fishing and holiday egg hunting.

This week, at the close of day eight of 2015 snow-clearing work (end of week two) the Twisp and Skagit state transportation department maintenance crews were within about eight miles of each other.

The eastside heavy machine entourage pushed and hurled its way through the last of the Liberty Bell Mountain cluster of avalanches and is westbound from Washington Pass (MP 162.5) as of Thursday, March 26.

After clearing a minor creek debris flow from the running surface at MP 154, the westslope machine forged its way, in soft snow, to within two miles of Rainy Pass.

Rock bolting being done by a private contractor continues at the road cut site along Granite Creek near MP 142 but is expected to wrap up in the coming week.

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.

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