The popular fishing pontoon on the east side of the Hood Canal Floating Bridge will close on July 7, allowing the Washington State Department of Transportation to begin a major retrofitting project.
"WSDOT has made it clear that the new bridge retrofit, scheduled for completion in 2006, will not accommodate fishing access," said Sue Patnude, regional director for state Fish and Wildlife.
"We're looking for alternative sites, but replacing that kind of fishing access is not going to be easy. Because of its unique configuration, the pontoon made it possible for people without a boat to fish in deep water where the fish are running."
For more than a decade, state Fish and Wildlife has paid the transportation agency a monthly fee to maintain the pontoon as a public fishing site.
Several sites near the bridge provide access to beach fishing, including Salisbury Point State Park and Kitsap Memorial State Park. Neither site, however, provides fishing access to deep water for people without boats.
"We're really sorry to lose fishing access from the bridge," Patnude said. "We'll do our best to find an alternative, but it's going to be tough."
Top spots of the week
1. Shad in Lower Columbia River: "Bank anglers averaged seven shad per (rod), including fish released," said Lisa Harlan, a state Fish and Wildlife spokesman.
Harlan reported that almost 2 million shad passed over Bonneville Dam last week. The June 5 count was 504,723 shad, and on June 6 it was 520,664, breaking the previous record of 212,826 on June 9 of last year.
2. Halibut and bottomfish off the coast and Strait of Juan de Fuca: Halibut fishing will reopen at Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Catch Areas 3 and 4) on June 18-21, and catch prospects should be very good.
"We have plenty of halibut left in our season quota, and fishing remains good," said Larry Giese at Deep Sea Charter in Westport. "On bottomfishing trips anglers were limiting on rockfish and near-limits of lingcod."
Other areas worth trying for halibut and bottomfish are Ilwaco, Freshwater Bay, Port Angeles and Sekiu.
Last weekend's Sekiu Halibut Derby results: 1, Luke Dodson, Lake Bay, 71.5 pounds $720; 2, Randy Bowers, Port Orchard, 71.5 pounds, $200; 3, Bob Blanchette, Clallam Bay, 65.0 pounds, $100. Biggest sea bass: Rick Schenk, Tacoma, 6.09 pounds, $100. A total of 215 anglers were entered in the derby.
3. Chinook and steelhead in Cowlitz River: "Fair for steelhead and a few spring chinook, but they are having to put their time in to catch them," said Karen Glaser at Barrier Dam Campground and Tackle Shop.
4. Trout in statewide lakes: "Doing real well, and I limited out (yesterday)," said Joey Johnson at Mineral Lake Resort in Lewis County. "Rainbows are averaging 12 inches, and on Monday we had a guy pull in an 8-pound rainbow off the dock."
"It was pretty good on Lake Washington for perch and cutthroat over the weekend, and they're seeing some bass in (Lake) Sammamish," said Maria Beppu, owner of Linc's Tackle Shop in Seattle. "Lake Union is good for crappie."
Try for perch in Lake Washington at Mount Baker, Leschi, Madrona, Arboretum and Gene Coulon Park.
Other places giving up some trout on both sides of the Cascades are Cottage, Mayfield, Merwin, Meridian, Green, Pine, Rattlesnake, Pass, Chopaka, Dry Falls, Nunnally, Squalicum, Lone, Spanaway, Jameson, Fishtrap, Roosevelt, Potholes and Conconully.
5. Cutthroat off Camano Island: "I fished for cutthroat off Camano the other day, and caught and released five nice ones," said Kim Weymouth at Skagit Fly Anglers Shop in Mount Vernon.
Reminder: Fishing in all marine areas for cutthroat is catch-and-release only with barbless hooks required.
Other fishing spots
Puget Sound: Lingcod fishing closes after Sunday.
Southcentral Puget Sound (Area 11): Chinook fishing remains spotty with just a few fish caught around Point Defiance Park in Tacoma.
North-coastal rivers: Water in all rivers remains low and clear, but persistent anglers are catching some spring chinook in the Hoh and Soleduck, and steelhead in the Bogachiel.
Snohomish river system: "Slow for chinook and steelhead, and I just think it's too early yet," said Bryan Nelson at Three Rivers Marine in Woodinville.
Stillaguamish River: "It's slow for steelhead, but a few cutthroat have been coming out of the Stilly," Weymouth said.
Green River: Slow for steelhead.
Kalama River: "The catch remains heavier for hatchery spring chinook than hatchery summer steelhead," Harlan said.
Boat anglers this past week averaged one fish kept per every four to five anglers, and bank anglers averaged one fish per every eight anglers.
Lewis River: Bank angler is slow, but boat anglers did better with either one spring chinook or hatchery steelhead for every three rods wetting a line.
Klickitat River: Good for spring chinook.
Wind River: Catch remains good for spring chinook in the upper river.
Columbia River: Fair for steelhead from Longview downstream. Fair for sturgeon in the estuary. Walleye and bass fishing good in Bonneville Pool, The Dalles Pool and John Day Pool.
Starting Monday, chinook fishing will be open daily from Rocky Point-Tongue Point up to the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco. The daily limit is six salmon with a minimum size of 12 inches. No more than two may be adult fish.
Retained chinook must have a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in its place to indicate hatchery origin. All wild chinook as well as sockeye, chum and wild coho must be released.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org