Puget Sound hatchery king fishery among area's best options | Outdoors
The summer fishing season has been so good that deciding where to go might be much harder than actually hooking a fish. "There are way too...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seattle native and lifelong angler Mark Yuasa blogs on fishing in the Pacific Northwest.
The summer fishing season has been so good that deciding where to go might be much harder than actually hooking a fish.
"There are way too many opportunities," said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist who was torn between king fishing at Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend or heading to Baker Lake for sockeye.
Barkdull was among the hundreds of anglers who decided to fish Monday's opener of the northern Puget Sound hatchery king fishery.
The fishery has been very good so far, with most of the action between Midchannel Bank south to Possession Bar and Point No Point.
"Midchannel is the place to be, and it's been pretty red hot the past couple of days," said Mark Baltzell, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "At Port Townsend on Monday we checked 102 chinook for 56 boats."
King fishing is fair to good at Point No Point, Possession Bar, Skunk Bay, Marrowstone Island and the west side of Whidbey Island. Most were 8 to 12 pounds with some over 25 pounds.
Central Puget Sound is open for hatchery chinook fishing, but was spotty at Kingston, Jefferson Head, West Point south of Shilshole Bay, Point Monroe, Yeomalt Point, Blake Island, Southworth and Dolphin Point off Vashon Island.
The coastal salmon fishery is good, and tuna were still being caught off the southern coast.
"It was close to a fish per boat at Neah Bay, and folks have said it is the best they've seen in some years," said Scott Barbour, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "There's a bunch of coho, but a lot of wild (only hatchery coho may be kept) and smaller ones. Salmon fishing (coastwide) is still staying consistent."
At La Push, anglers averaged more than a fish per rod. At Westport, the catch was made up of mostly chinook, and anglers there and at Ilwaco averaged close to a fish per rod.
Private boats out of Ilwaco were finding tuna about 50 miles offshore, and one boat had 48 tuna for five anglers. Some were also having fair success out of Westport.
On the sockeye front, the Baker Lake fishery should come alive this week as more than 6,614 have been transported into the lake. Expect close to 10,000 swimming in the lake this weekend, and a bunch of anglers in line at boat ramps.
A total of 513,959 sockeye have passed above Bonneville Dam, surpassing the 462,000 preseason figure. Single-day counts at Rocky Reach and Wells dams are well above 20,000.
Sockeye fishing is good in the Upper Columbia above Rocky Reach, below Wells Dam and the Brewster Pool.
The Lake Washington sockeye have started to wane with 130,565 counted at the Ballard Locks through Tuesday, surpassing the 45,871 preseason forecast. It's unlikely a fishery will occur, but it will be a boost for spawning purposes.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or email@example.com
"They're doing pretty good on perch and bass in Lake Washington and Sammamish," said Jerry Beppu, owner of Linc's Tackle Shop in Seattle.
Fair to good for kokanee in Lake Stevens, and fair in American, Samish and Cavanaugh. Good for trout in Lake Shoecraft and Lake Goodwin. Decent for cutthroat at Grimes Lake. Good for lake trout in Lake Chelan. Fair to good for walleye and perch, and a few trout in Sprague Lake. Potholes Reservoir is fair to good for trout, bass and walleye. It picked up in Lake Washington for cutthroat. Long Lake in Lewis County was planted with 1,000 brown trout July 10. Goose Lake near Carson recently got a plant of 6,000 cutthroat averaging a half-pound apiece.
"The (hatchery) king fishery in the Skykomish was quite good, and some hooked three to five per boat," said Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood. "The lower and middle sections of the Skykomish also have steelhead too."
Good for steelhead from Longview downstream in the Lower Columbia, but many are wild fish that have to be released. Fair to good for steelhead and chinook in the Cowlitz. Fair for sturgeon in the Lower Columbia from Vancouver to Longview; open Thursdays to Saturdays for catch-and-keep fishing. Cedar River is open for trout catch-and-release.
Salmon fishing has been spotty in the San Juan Islands, and the Bellingham Salmon Derby last weekend produced 181 fish for almost 500 anglers. Winner was Kevin Geoghegan with a 28.52-pound king worth $5,000. The hatchery king fishery in the Strait off Sekiu and Port Angeles slowed down, but was still fairly good at midweek. The hatchery coho caught have been of nice size, averaging 3 to 5 pounds with some pushing 8 pounds.
Fair for kings off the Edmonds Pier, but slow at Seacrest Boathouse Pier and Pier 86 in Elliott Bay. Slow to fair for hatchery kings off Tacoma, Dolphin Point and the Narrows area. Tulalip terminal fishery is slow for kings. Slow for salmon in Hood Canal south of Ayock Point. A brief minus-low tide series this Thursday to Saturday should expose beaches to shellfish gathering. The Dungeness crab fishery in most areas of Puget Sound, Hood Canal and south part of San Juan Islands is decent, and is open Thursdays through Mondays only.