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Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Anyone get out for the opener today, gear or fly?
The morning tides looked pretty favorable with a small exchange.
SF
 

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Wished I could but it was my weekend to work. Going out this Wednesday later around noon, I hope...not a sure thing due to other errand businesses.
Anyone interested in coming along if I go? My boat has a space. Either Elliot Bay or MA9.
 

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Coast to Coast
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Hit a small south sound spot yesterday afternoon using gear. It produced for me last year, both lings and several nice rockfish (released), but nothing going yesterday. It was windier than I was expecting and I had to work to control the drift. I didn't see any other boats out where I was, but I didn't get out there until around 11:30.
 

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Was this opener just for Puget Sound or for all of Washington? I was in Westport yesterday surfing at a spot where all the boats pass by and there we're a TON of boats (rather annoying how every wave was laced with boat wakes for us surfers). Wondered if it had to do with a May 1 opener or if it's always busy like that on the weekends.
 

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Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Was this opener just for Puget Sound or for all of Washington? I was in Westport yesterday surfing at a spot where all the boats pass by and there we're a TON of boats (rather annoying how every wave was laced with boat wakes for us surfers). Wondered if it had to do with a May 1 opener or if it's always busy like that on the weekends.
May 1st opener is for MA's 5-13...except MA 12.
Open till June 15th.
SF
 

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Wished I could but it was my weekend to work. Going out this Wednesday later around noon, I hope...not a sure thing due to other errand businesses.
Anyone interested in coming along if I go? My boat has a space. Either Elliot Bay or MA9.
I could join you on Wednesday. Will you be fishing fly only, or gear or both?

N.
 

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Fished MA 7 yesterday and MA 9 this morning. In MA 7 fishing was on par with recent years with good numbers of sub-legal fish (at least two year classes of fish) boding well for the future.

From WDFW checks it looks like fishing in the Port Townsend was good with approximate a ling/boat. In central sound (MA 9 and MA 10) not nearly as good with the checks running 1/4 to 1/3 of a ling/boat. The concerning thing about the eastern portion of MA 9 and MA 8-2 and MA 10 is the catch is being dominated by older males (mostly 10+ years old based on their size). From my experience this morning it looks like another year with poor recruitment of sub-legal fish - that makes 6 years in a row. I believe that those fisheries are collapsing; with harvest of slot size fish exceeding the numbers being recruited.

On a more positive note the copper rockfish appear to being doing well with another year class just recruiting to the fishery.

Curt
 

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Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
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14,853 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Fished MA 7 yesterday and MA 9 this morning. In MA 7 fishing was on par with recent years with good numbers of sub-legal fish (at least two year classes of fish) boding well for the future.

From WDFW checks it looks like fishing in the Port Townsend was good with approximate a ling/boat. In central sound (MA 9 and MA 10) not nearly as good with the checks running 1/4 to 1/3 of a ling/boat. The concerning thing about the eastern portion of MA 9 and MA 8-2 and MA 10 is the catch is being dominated by older males (mostly 10+ years old based on their size). From my experience this morning it looks like another year with poor recruitment of sub-legal fish - that makes 6 years in a row. I believe that those fisheries are collapsing; with harvest of slot size fish exceeding the numbers being recruited.

On a more positive note the copper rockfish appear to being doing well with another year class just recruiting to the fishery.

Curt
Curt,
What would be the likely cause of poor year class ling recruitment in the sound?
SF
 

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SF -
I don't know.

The early life history is such that any of a number of factors could be limiting their recruitment success. It is clear that it is more of local effect than a Puget Sound wild problem. The San Juan Island fish seem to be producing good numbers of young fish with the fish in Possession are not; twenty years ago it was the exact opposite with several good years on Possession and poor recruitment up north.

Maybe it would help to have a quick early life history review of ling cod. The fish spawn in the late winter period with the females laying their egg masses in places like rock ledges, crevices, etc.. The number of eggs of the female vary significantly depending on the size of the fish. A 10# fish may have 60,000 eggs while a 30# may have more than 10 times as many. Once the eggs are laid the male take overs the guard duty protecting the egg mass from predators. When the eggs hatch the small fry (as small as 1/4 inch) are pelagic essentially floating with the current feeding on copepods. By mid-summer the lucky fish will have grown to about 3 inches at which point they settle to the bottom. The successful fish land in eel grass or kelp forests and begin behaving like the larger ling eating small bites of the same foods. They grow pretty quickly with the Puget Sound females reaching the legal slot minimum size in 3 or 4 years with the males taking a year or so longer. The females are reaching maturing at about that point the males at 18 inches or age two. The females continue the more rapid grow; growing through the protected slot limit in 5 or 6 years. The males themselves are slower growing rarely exceeding 36 inches in length. It is rare for a ling t make it past its teen years.

Potential mortality could occur to the egg masses. Smaller males may not be able to effect defend the egg mass or predation by seals or other predators of the males could remove the guarding male leaving the egg mass at risk. The hatching fry success may depend on the whims of a number of factors; is their hatching timing in sync with the copepod blooms or other food sources, will the currents carry to the fry to food sources or at the time for settling to the bottom they may not be able to find the needed habitat structure for their survival. Of along the process the small lings are especially vulnerable to predation. We all are familiar with the importance of food availability and timing as we see their effect on the year to year survival of resident coho. And of course there is the very real potential that Puget Sound is becoming a habitat that is toxic to the juvenile lings.

Don't if any of the above helps.

Curt
 
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