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Whether your preference is saltwater or freshwater, Skagit County has many fishing opportunities.

All five species of salmon – chinook, coho, sockeye, chum and pink – can be compelled to bite in local rivers and bays.

Trout species, such as steelhead, rainbow, cutthroat, brown and brook, can be landed in numerous lakes and rivers, while warm-water species, including large and smallmouth bass, perch, crappie and bluegill, can be hooked as well.

Numerous alpine lakes dot the landscape of the North Cascades. Just grab the pack rod and day pack and head into the hills.

On the marine waters, there are just as many opportunities. Saltwater species include lingcod, halibut and, of course, salmon.

Anacortes is a good place to get out on the saltwater in search of salmon, lingcod and halibut. There are several charter services more than willing to lend a hand.

Before making a cast into any body of water, be sure to check the state’s regulations. The thick pamphlet detailing the regulations, titled Fishing in Washington, can be picked up free at most sporting goods stores.

Anglers 15 and older need a license to fish in Washington.

There are numerous types of licenses; be sure to purchase the one that best fits your needs.

Visit the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Web site for emergency closures, etc.

Check the latest regulation pamphlet for season, size, catch, limit and gear restrictions. Species and solid fishing months with runs are listed below.

Skagit River

Chinook: July-August
Winter steelhead: December-April
Summer steelhead: June-November
Coho: September-November
Chum: October-November
Pink: August-September
(Pink salmon return in odd-numbered years.)
Sockeye: July
Sea-run cutthroat: August-October

Samish River

Chinook: August-October
Chum: October-November
Coho: September-November
Winter steelhead: December-March
Sea-run cutthroat: August-October

Local Lakes

Pass Lake: Open year-round to fly fishing, this catch-and-release lake is a trophy trout producer. Large rainbow and brown trout prowl the waters. Pass Lake is usually excellent in early spring and late fall for fish averaging 15 inches, with some cracking the 28-inch mark.

Big Lake: Open year-round, this large lake is great for panfish such as largemouth bass, crappie and yellow perch. Fishing tends to be best during the spring and summer months when warmer water livens up the fish.

Campbell Lake: Open year-round and stocked annually with cutthroat, the lake is known more for its warm water species than its trout. Spring and summer are the best time to hook largemouth bass, yellow perch, black crappie and bullhead catfish.

Clear Lake: Open year-round, fish lucky enough to have survived the summer will be even larger. Look to hook rainbow, cutthroat, largemouth bass and yellow perch.