14.64 lb catch garners $15K prize

The December 1, 2016 Marine Area 7 opener saw pretty darn good Winter Chinook fishing.

The Friday Harbor Salmon Classic saw stormy weather, but fair fishing for the two-day tournament. Team Tailwalker and angler Ray Bone took the top prize of $15,000 with a 14.64 lb Blackmouth. This great event donated $10,000 to Salmon for Soldiers. Thanks to all the organizers and participants for a fun time!

We had good luck on Silver Horde spoons. The fish are skewing to the small side this year, so going to the KIngfisher 4" lite spoon may up your chances of finding larger Blackmouth. There are a bunch of hatchery keeper sized 4- to 8-lb fish around. We didn't encounter more than one or two unclipped Chinook in three days of fishing.

The WDFW needs to have the ability to keep this season open, and let us fish on these hatchery fish that need to be caught. Clipped or unclipped, these fish in the Islands right now are all of hatchery origin. There are a huge amount of them swimming around, so something is working to provide more fish, right?

Please figure out how to do the right thing, and keep WA State license holders fishing on fish that their license fees and tax dollars paid for. Early closures on a fishery like this help nothing, and hurt recreational fishermen, families, businesses, and the State itself through decreased license revenue.

More fish is a good thing, and we have it. The weather, and a longer season will even out pressure on the resource.

Time for WDFW to take back control of season setting, and manage by common sense, good judgment, and with the best interests of their customers, the fee and taxpayers, at the forefront. Do what's right for the fish and fishermen this year, even if it means risking some hot water, and you'll begin to win back some credibility as a functioning agency. Then we can talk about the fairness of fee increases.

The leader board of the Friday Harbor Salmon Classic. Pete Nelsen of Shaw Island lands in the top three again. His derby record is nothing short of amazing.

Chris Tawes took the $10,000 1st prize in the Resurrection Derby out of Anacortes. Proceeds for this derby go to salmon enhancement projects.

Chris Tawes and his 14.22 lb Resurrection Derby winning Winter Chinook.

Our team caught lots of fish over the two day Friday Harbor Salmon Classic, but nothing big enough to land on the leader board this time.

The cannon start at the 2016 Friday Harbor Salmon Classic. Hope to see everyone at the Roche Derby. Until then, stay safe, have fun, and we'll see you on the water! Photos courtesy of Kevin Klein

Photos by Matt Pranger

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