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Originally published July 17, 2013 at 6:34 PM | Page modified July 18, 2013 at 10:57 PM

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Fishing strong for king salmon, especially off Port Townsend

Seattle Times staff reporter

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The hatchery king salmon fishing spree has hearts fluttering in the Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into Admiralty Inlet.

“It looks like the chinook fishing is holding up at Port Angeles, and the pink numbers are still pretty high,” said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife fish checker in the Strait. “We had over 200 pinks checked at Port Angeles, and they’re catching them right along the shore.”

Just to the east, Midchannel Bank — a huge underwater sandy plateau — off Port Townsend has been lights out for large-size kings.

“I know a boat that hooked 12 kings and kept four up to 25 pounds, and I don’t know anywhere in the state right now that can compare to what’s happening off Port Townsend,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for Northwest Marine Trade Association.

“It is easy to overlook and forget that without selective fishing (where salmon are marked in the hatcheries to differentiate them between wild fish) there would be no summer fishing at Port Townsend,” Floor said. “This is a shining example that it works, and provides a great opportunity.”

In western Strait, Neah Bay anglers were averaging a decent 1.7 fish per rod.

“It is wall-to-wall pinks and lots of silvers at Neah Bay, and its hard to get your line down to catch a chinook,” Bennett said.

Other fair to good spots for kings, coho and pinks are Freshwater Bay and Sekiu.

Elsewhere on the coast, Westport opens daily for salmon beginning Friday, and finally picked up for coho and kings.

“At Westport it was just under a fish per person average, and Monday a lot of the charters limited mostly on coho,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Ilwaco anglers averaged 1.0 fish per rod and most were hatchery coho; and at La Push it was just over 1.0 fish per rod when you include pinks in the catch.

In northern and central Puget Sound, the hatchery king fishery started off with mixed results at Richmond Beach to Edmonds; Jefferson Head; Pilot Point; Kingston; Point No Point; Point Monroe; Yeomalt Point; West Point near Shilshole Bay; and Possession Bar.

Charters were finding fair action for small coho, 16 to 20 inches, in the shipping lanes off Jefferson Head.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine AreasA few kings caught daily at the Edmonds Pier. Slow to fair for hatchery chinook at Clay Banks off Point Defiance Park, Point Dalco on Vashon Island, Dolphin Point, Southworth, Blake Island and Colvos Passage. Fair to good for kings in San Juan Islands off Thatcher Pass, Tide Point, Cypress Island and north side of Orcas Island. Slow for salmon in Hood Canal, but a few pinks caught off Hoodsport. Off and on for Dungeness crab in Puget Sound and Hood Canal; open Thursdays to Mondays only. The first signs of albacore tuna came out of Westport this week with boats finding them about 40 to 45 miles offshore.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide riversGood for chinook and sockeye in Brewster on Columbia. Fair for steelhead in Lower Columbia. Fair for hatchery kings and steelhead in Skykomish, and for steelhead at Reiter Ponds. Fair to good for steelhead in Cowlitz between the hatcheries. Fair for trout in Cedar. Try North Fork of Stillaguamish for steelhead. Nisqually is open for salmon. Nooksack is open for pinks.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide lakesBaker Lake is fair to good for sockeye, and most were caught at a depth of 40 feet. A creel check Sunday at Baker Lake showed 23 boats with 57 anglers caught 35 sockeye. So far, 3,858 have been transferred up to Baker Lake, and 6,530 taken at the fish trap. Good for kokanee at Stevens, Keechelus, Kachess, Meridian, Merwin and American. Good for trout at Padden, Mineral, Jameson, Angle, Desire, Bosworth and Anderson. Council Lake was planted with 2,955 trout on July 8. The Potholes is good for perch, walleye, bass and trout. Fair to good for trout in Diamond, Roosevelt, Alta, Conconully and Williams.
Biting: YesRating: 4 stars

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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