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Olympic Peninsula Sponsored by
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Date 01-Apr-14
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Conditions : Olympic Penisula: Spring has sprung throughout the region, bringing with it a range of fishing opportunities from razor clams and lingcod to steelhead and trout.

This year's razor clam season is shaping up to be a record-breaker with most diggers taking their allotted 15 clams per day, said Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager. The clams are not only more abundant, but also bigger than usual, he said.

"Clams are averaging 4¾ inches in size, and there are plenty of six-inch sized clams out there," Ayres said. "We've had really good digging conditions."

Morning digs are scheduled April 1-3 at both Twin Harbors and Long Beach. More razor clam digs have been tentatively scheduled in mid-April at multiple beaches.

Long Beach will host its annual razor clam festival April 19 and 20. WDFW has scheduled digs for those dates, but is waiting on marine toxin test-results to finalize those digs. The Long Beach festival includes razor clam digging lessons, a chowder taste-off, clam fritter cookout and other entertainment. For more information, visit the festival website.

At Sequim Bay State Park, clam season gets under way one month early, beginning April 1. You can dig for Manilla, butter or other intertidal clams. However, sport clam and oyster seasons have delayed in several areas where the seasons typically start April 1. Those areas include Potlatch State Park, Potlatch DNR Tidelands, Oyster Reserves of North Bay and South Indian Island County Park. WDFW has a public clam and oyster beaches database with the latest information on openings.

At Sequim Bay State Park, clam season gets under way one month early, beginning April 1. You can dig for Manilla, butter or other intertidal clams. However, sport clam and oyster seasons have delayed in several areas where the seasons typically start April 1. Those areas include Potlatch State Park, Potlatch DNR Tidelands, Oyster Reserves of North Bay and South Indian Island County Park. WDFW has a public clam and oyster beaches database with the latest information on openings.

Anglers looking to hook a wild steelhead could be in luck as long as river levels in the northern peninsula remain low enough to be fished, said Mike Gross, a WDFW fish biologist for the region.

"Earlier this year, the rivers often ran too high to fish," Gross said. "As they've dropped, we've seen some good fishing."

Steelhead fishing closes April 15 on the Hoh, Quinault and Clearwater rivers and April 30 for the Quillayute, Dickey, Bogachiel, Calawah and Sol Duc. These are the only eight rivers in Washington where wild steelhead can be retained, and anglers are limited to one wild steelhead per license year.

For hatchery steelhead, the Skookumchuck River is a good bet in April, said Mike Scharpf, a regional fish biologist for WDFW. He also recommends several lakes for trout, which WDFW is now planting throughout the state. The general public should try Lake Sylvia for trout fishing, Scharpf said. The lake, which is open year-round, will be stocked with about 1,000 trout in April.

American Lake in Pierce County is another good spot for trout, said Larry Phillips, a regional fish biologist. Early opportunities for trout in Thurston County include Black and St. Clair lakes.

WDFW crews will stock Vance Creek Pond #1 (Bowers Lake) in time for spring break, April 5-13, Scharpf noted. The pond will be open to youth (14 years and younger) and senior (70 years old and over) anglers as well as anglers with disability status through WDFW or those who have a designated harvester card.

Meanwhile, this month is anglers' last chance to hook a blackmouth salmon in several areas of Puget Sound. Anglers have until April 10 to fish for chinook in marine areas 5 (Seiku) and 6 (eastern Strait) and until April 15 in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet). Areas 7, 11 and 12 are open until April 30.

Anglers fishing in marine areas 5, 7, 9 and 13 have a limit of one salmon daily while those fishing in areas 6, 11 and 12 can keep two salmon daily. Wild salmon must be released in all areas.

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