Baker, Skagit Opening For 3-day Sockeye Season

Thanks to a good run, fishing for sockeye will open for three days on the Baker River and part of the Skagit starting this Friday, July 16, WDFW announced this morning.

“You want to fish it early in the morning with Spin-N-Glos and sand shrimp,” says Stuart Forst at Holiday Sports (360-757-4361) in Burlington. “Ninety percent are caught that way.”

Use either a size 6 or 8 drift bobber in peach or other light colors.

Though it can be a bit of a combat fishery, the open areas include the Baker from its mouth up to the Highway 20 bridge, and the Skagit from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to a point 200 feet above the east bank of the Baker.

“There’s a lot of room to fish,” says Forst. “You could fish 20 at the mouth, if they’re congenial and like each other.”

WDFW says that the Baker’s run is above egg-take needs; a tribal fishery will be opened as well. Daily limit for sport anglers is two sockeye.

Forst adds that he’s had luck with a 1/4-ounce red-feathered jig too.

“Clank it along the bottom away from the plunkers,” he says.

Season opens at 12:01 a.m. on the 16th and closes at 11:59 p.m. on the 18th. Anti-snagging and night closure rules are in effect.

When dam operators start spilling water on the Baker at mid-day, it’s time to pack up because the surge flushes the salmon back to the Skagit, says Forst.

WDFW also says that there is a possibility of further openings, including on Baker Lake; they would be announced after meetings with local tribes.

In other sockeye news, Columbia River managers upped this year’s forecast to just under 400,000. So far, nearly 380,000 have gone over Bonneville Dam.

Over a quarter million have passed Rock Island Dam below the mouth of the Wenatchee River and 204,000 over the next dam above the river, Rocky Reach. We’ve got a call in to the regional fisheries manager about Lake Wenatchee sockeye, but through July 6, none of the salmon had gone over the dam in the Wenatchee River’s Tumwater Canyon below the lake.

The Lake Washington sockeye count also exceeded 100,000 on Monday, the first time it’s done so since 2006.

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