North Hood Canal is Healthy!
Don't get to fish much anymore but this weekend Tracy and I anchored Hannah off a point somewhere on the Hood Canal so she could go to shore and dig a few clams. The late morning was a hot 85 and bright sunshine. It was a minus tide and dead low, not moving at all. I stayed on board to do a little reading but I noticed lots of Sea Runs feeding on small bait fish. Decided to dig out a 6 weight I keep in a locker on board. After lining up and digging around in one of my sons tackel boxes I found an old red spider fly with a rusted hook. Cleaned the hook up a bit and made my first cast off the stern. Not easy casting off a sail boat but the fish were everywhere.
Started stripping the fly in and when it got close to the boat I noticed 5 or 6 SRC"S following it. As soon as they saw my shadow they would disapear but before I could lift the fly out of the water for another cast a Sea run would come out of nowhere and attack the fly. I made 14 casts and caught a Sea Run on every one of them and all the same way. Not one fish took the fly untill they disapeared from sight and I stopped moving the fly. I even tried stopping my stripping half way out but not a bump. It was not until the fly was right beside the boat before one would take. They were not big most in the 9 to 13 inch range and one about 16 inches but they were as pretty as could be. There are so many Sea Runs now in the Hood Canal I wish they would allow us to keep one for dinner. They must be premium food fare fried lightly with a good cold chopped clam salad with lime dressing for dinner and a good bottle of chilled white wine. Also made a few casts with same fly and let it sink to the bottom in about 15 feet of water. Within 3 or 4 slow stips I would hook flounder, not big but plenty of them that's for sure. I wish they would open that up again also as they are everywhere. The Hood canal north end is healthy and the Disolved Oxygen problem is non exsistent from half way up the canal to the bridge.
Great news OC!
Our customary Mother's Day weekend trip was to take the family to Tahuya. We would dig butter clams and pick some oysters and I would always try to have a springer filet along for Mothers Day dinner in the rental cottage.
The water was so warm we could swim in the Canal in May. Over the years things started to really degrade up in the canal that far; I hope things are on the mend.
Are the old native steelhead runs coming back at all?
In any case great to hear about the health of the north canal :)
Steelhead are not doing well in any of the rivers as far as I know. I have seen a few 4 or 5 years ago spawning while walking the Duckabush River but that is it.
The North/Central Hood Canal was 64 degrees this last weekend, not bad for swimming. There is still a lot of green Glacier melt water flowing into the canal in places but that will end soon as the snow is melting fast on the mountain tops.
Divers are seeing more bottom fish than ever before in the North/Centeral part of the canal. It has been 4 years i think since all fishing has been closed due to the false reports of low oxygen through out the entire canal. All the rock fish and the Ling Cod seem to be doing very well and reports of some Ling being huge. The clams and oysters are so thick that we got our 40 clam limit by kneeling down in one spot and never moving an inch. There is not a day we don't see at least 40 Bald eagles and the Osprey are coming back nicely.
As a strong Enviro I see the entire closing of the Canal as a bad thing as reactions to the situation is starting to build by many. We need the Orion Magazine approach to the enviroment and that being work with all factions and come up with a useable plan. I do not know one person who does not support the closeuer of the Canal south of Aycock Rock. Down that way the canal is in poor shape. Aycock Rock would make a great buffer zone and it would allow many folks to use the canal for more recreational endevors. Crab season starts next week and we will see if there will be an extended season.
But for now fly fishing is good for trout and should continue for many years.
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