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Old 09-24-2005, 02:57 PM
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topwater topwater is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: south lake tahoe
Posts: 89
i can only comment up until august 9th, when my season came to a sputtering (damn Merc) stop.

before the first week of august, there was some bait and the fishing for coho was fair (not great for neah bay, but good by most other standards). we were seeing bait, but not the numbers of salmon one would expect considering the bait.

the first week of august was just plain shocking. that week started with a skunk and didn't really improve that much. we found some pinks and coho fishing areas i rarely ever fish (sw of tatoosh). the fish were scattered, except for the one day we found some pinks feeding very selectively on a large area of krill.

in late july, i did witness a brief glimpse of the past glory on swiftsure. in a thick fog we came upon a wonderful sight. large numbers of coho boiling on the surface, feasting on krill. i hadn't seen this since 2003 (2004 offered poor fishing on swiftsure, but the inside fishing more than made up for it), and not only was it a great sight, but the fishing was that frantic, red-hot fishing that neah bay is known for. unfortunetely, the fishing lasted only a short time (15-30 minutes) and the fish and krill were gone. i feel very fortunate that i was able to get one last glimpse of this feeding activity (especially now) even if only for a short time.

this summer was very odd. the salmon season started with warmer than average temperatures (56 degrees at swiftsure in july) and then things just switched, with 46 degree water southwest of tatoosh (where it is typically warmer than the strait). my last trip was a search for blue sharks, and we ran about 25 miles sw of tatoosh to the juan de fuca canyon, and the water temp barely made 56 degrees (normally it would be 58-60).

whatever happened in the ocean this summer is beyond my explantion. the big blue is an amazing thing and the only thing i know is when i think i have it figured out at all... 2005 happens.

of course, the tough fishing was okay, but dealing with the anti-sportfishing feel from the makah tribe was the most troubling aspect of 2005... although i imagine i have just been ignoring it for years. my passion for the fishing blinded me to what has happened to the sportfishing community that used to call neah bay home. the rampant increase in poaching this summer was another unfortunate byproduct of tribal businesses forcing long term tenants out of the marina. people with no stake don't really care about the fishery or imo the community.

hopefully 2005 was a slight blip in the radar and 2006 is another amazing year at neah bay.

i will miss the fishing,

chris
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