Ack! Island-eating Chinook!

Bad news for property owners in Washington’s San Juans: The islands are under attack and likely will sink into Rosario Strait unless salmon anglers can save the day.

“Reports at this writing suggest the Chinook salmon are eating away at the foundation of the San Juan Islands,” reports geologist Tony Floor of, err, the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

At this very moment, he’s hooking up the boat and will be on his way north to save the likes of Lopez, Shaw and Orcas shortly.

His campaign begins this weekend at the Roche Harbor Salmon Classic, the first stop on the Northwest Salmon Derby Series.

All right, so perhaps reports of the imminent demise of the islands are slightly exaggerated, but give Floor a break: His blackmouth obsession has been known to get the best of him this month.

It was only a few years ago, when February rolled around, that I swore I could sense the smell of fresh chinook salmon in the morning, as it was the beginning of the Puget Sound late winter/early spring blackmouth season.

Neighbors complained about me barking at the moon, revving up my Suzuki 250 h.p. outboard like Kyle Petty Jr., ready to peel out around the race track. Yeah, I confess that was me, and for the most-part, continues to be me, when someone talks about winter blackmouth fishing in Puget Sound.
Today, I am a little bit more tempered when exposed to those backbone-shaking words thanks to a much longer fall/winter/spring blackmouth season that begins in many Puget Sound areas in November and December. Regardless, February remains very special to me as I sense the conclusion of shorter daylight days and early spring is in the air.

This year, not unlike many other Februaries, the San Juan Islands continues to be the big daddy of quality blackmouth fishing featuring big blackmouth since that season opened on December 1st. Strong abundances of hatchery produced chinook salmon, adipose fin clipped, running at a rate of two or three hatchery chinook to one wild chinook throughout the winter. Seeing a 12-15 pound hatchery chinook next to my boat, ready for the net, feels like winning the lottery over and over and over.

For more from Floor, sign up for his monthly newsletter.




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