Officials monitoring significant rise in catch of spot shrimp

Fishing : Officials monitoring significant rise in catch of spot shrimp By Mark Yuasa Seattle Times staff reporter

Shrimping was so good in some areas of Puget Sound that fisheries managers closed it after just one or two days of fishing.

State Fish and Wildlife estimated 2,200 pounds of spot shrimp was caught from the north end of Vashon Island to Narrows Bridge during last Saturday’s opener.

The catch was more than triple the sport fishery’s 600-pound allocation for the season, and also exceeded the 1,500-pound allocation for sport and commercial fisheries combined.

“Up until this year, Marine Area11 wasn’t really considered a hot spot for recreational shrimp fishing,” said Rich Childers, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “That has clearly changed.”

Fisheries counted 454 pot buoys on opening day, up from 86 buoys last year and just 18 in 2003. Rules allow a maximum of two shrimp pots per person and a maximum of four per boat.

“High numbers of large shrimp per pot also contributed in boosting the catch well above expectations,” Childers said.

An increase of shrimp in Marine Area11 was also detected in preseason test fisheries last month, and fisheries plan to discuss raising catch quotas with tribal co-managers next year.

“We’re confident the area population can sustain a higher quota without jeopardizing the health of the resource,” Childers said. “What we don’t know, given the growing popularity of this fishery, is whether increasing the quota will provide a significant increase in fishing days.”

Shrimp fishing in Marine Areas 9 and 10 (Central and northern Puget Sound) have also closed due to better than expected catches.

In Marine Area 9, shrimp fishing effort more than doubled from last year, increasing from an average of 187 pots counted per day last year to an average of 394 pots counted per day this year. Fishing was better, with the average Area 9 boat bringing in 14.4-pounds of shrimp, versus 8.7-pounds last year.

In Marine Area 10 the fishing effort was similar to last year, but once again fishing was better, especially in Elliott Bay, where the average boat landed 17.5-pounds of shrimp versus 12.9-pounds last year.

Fishers should check for other shrimping regulation changes and restrictions on the Web site at www.wdfw.wa.gov or 360-796-3215 or 866-880-5431.

Elsewhere, shrimp fishing remains open in some parts of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Port Angeles and Discovery Bay, and Marine Area 8 are open 7 a.m.-3 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays until quotas are attained. Port Townsend is also open those days but is closed for spot shrimp.

“Folks in Marine Area 8-1 and the Utsalady area have been doing well,” said Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood.

Hood Canal is open 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays and Wednesdays until the quota is attained.

Hood Canal was the most popular area during last Saturday’s opener with about 1,650 boats catching an estimated 20,000 pounds of spot shrimp.

“We’re still expecting at least three more days of shrimp fishing in Hood Canal and more in other areas,” Childers said.

Also, Marine Areas 4 (east of the Bonilla Line), 5, 6, 7 and 13 are open daily. Pots can be checked from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset.

Top fishing spots of week

1. Halibut in marine areas: “We’re doing really well for bottomfish, and getting limits of halibut and some huge lingcod,” said Larry Giese, owner of Deep Sea Charters in Westport. “Robert Watson Jr. of Albuquerque, N.M., caught a 33-pound, 15-ounce lingcod on Sunday.”

“The opener was very good for charter and private boats,” said Joey Lawrence, owner of Big Salmon Resort at Neah Bay. “Bud Alberts of Bellevue caught a 156-pound halibut off the Garbage Dump in 290 feet of water using a herring. The charters all had limits of halibut from Blue Dot and some of them went down south to catch the fish.”

Elsewhere, fishing was good at Mutiny Bay, Green Point, Freshwater Bay, Sequim area, the old Navy bombing range off Fort Casey, and Hein, Dallas, Salmon and Middle banks.

2. Lingcod in marine areas: “Fishing for lingcod has been pretty decent mostly on Possession Bar,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Everett.

Also, hit the artificial reef south of Alki Point, Toliva Shoal, under Narrows Bridge, Point Evans and Blakely Rock off Bainbridge Island.

3. Trout in statewide lakes: “The lakes that were decent on opening day will remain pretty good for the next couple of weeks,” said Chuck Phillips, a state Fish and Wildlife fish program manager.

Those include Ki, Geneva, Pine, Steel, Green, Wilderness, Heart, Lone, Goss, McMurray, Riley, Storm, Cain and Padden. Down south try Spanaway, Mineral, Ohop, Tanwax, Deep, Long, McIntosh, Munn, Pattison and Aberdeen.

East of the Cascades, fishing remains good in Jameson, Starvation, Fishtrap, Alta, Conconully, Pearrygin, Spectacle, Wannacut, Williams, West Medical, Vic Meyers, Warden and Wapato.

4. Bass and perch in Lake Washington: “Perch and bass fishing picked up, and I have a customer who is catching and releasing quite a few off his dock on the lake,” Beppu said.

5. Salmon and steelhead in Lewis and Kalama rivers: “The Kalama was really good on Monday before the rain and it should be good again when it drops,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “I was on the Lewis (yesterday) and they were still catching fish at the hatchery, and I saw one steelhead that weighed 16 pounds.”

Other fishing spots

North coastal rivers: Fair for spring chinook in Soleduck and Quillayute.

Lewis River: Fair near the hatchery for spring chinook and steelhead.

Wind River: Fair to good for spring chinook at the mouth and in the gorge.

Cowlitz River: Slow for spring chinook and steelhead.

Grays and Elochoman rivers: Hatchery spring chinook fishing opens Saturday.

Drano Lake, and White Salmon and Klickitat rivers: Improved for spring chinook in Drano Lake, Klickitat below Fisher Hill Bridge and at the mouth of White Salmon.

Columbia River: Trout and steelhead fishing from I-5 to Rocky-Tongue Point line, and shad fishing below Bonneville Dam won’t open Monday as originally planned. Sturgeon catch and keep reopens Saturday from Buoy 10 to Wauna powerlines near Cathlamet. Good for sturgeon in the gorge and Camas area.

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