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Originally published September 25, 2013 at 5:47 PM | Page modified September 25, 2013 at 8:23 PM

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Coho, or silvers, making for a strong salmon run in Puget Sound

880,000 coho salmon, better known as “silvers,” are migrating in marine areas and clear up into many local rivers.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Right now the waters from the Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into Puget Sound are shimmering in silver.

That mint bright color comes in the shape of about 880,000 coho salmon, better known as “silvers,” that are now migrating not only in marine areas but clear up into many local river systems.

At Sekiu in the western Strait, many anglers have been scoring limits of two coho daily, and Port Angeles just to the east was also decent, although you can only keep hatchery coho there.

“We saw some big numbers of coho at Sekiu, and lots of wild coho being caught out there,” said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife checker in the Strait, whose samplers checked more than 3,300 fish last week. “The coho aren’t as big as last year and in the 7- to 10-pound range, and a big one is 12 to 13.”

Starting Oct. 1, anglers at Sekiu and Port Angeles can keep two salmon daily, and one may be a chinook.

While it wasn’t a record coho catch in Puget Sound, the Everett Coho Derby last weekend showed a good number of fish around.

More than 2,000 anglers turned out for the largest derby on the West Coast, and managed to catch 833 fish for a total weight of 5,727.60 pounds. Some 34 fish topped the scales above 12 pounds and 86 weighed more than 10 pounds. The average coho was 7.41 pounds.

The winner of the derby’s $10,000 first-place prize was Don Pittwood of Lake Stevens, who caught a 15.50-pound coho on the east side of Possession Bar.

In central Puget Sound, coho fishing has been somewhat tough off Shilshole Bay to Edmonds, Jefferson Head, Elliott Bay and to the south off Tacoma.

It looks like a good number of coho were also heading into northern Puget Sound rivers, with catches ramping up in the Snohomish, Skagit, Stillaguamish and Lower Skykomish.

“There are coho up and down the Skagit, but they’re hard to get at with all the humpies (pink salmon) still around,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “We’ve got more coho back to the hatchery at Marblemount than we normally have at this time of the year. The Baker facility also has more coho than we’ve had in years.”

Razor clams

The first coastal razor clam digs at Twin Harbors from Sept. 19 to Monday generated 8,900 diggers with 14.3 clams per person (the first 15 dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit). Next tentative digs are: Oct. 4-5 and Oct. 18-19 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks; Oct. 6-7 and Oct. 21 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Oct. 21 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Oct. 8, Oct. 17 and Oct. 22 at Twin Harbors.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine areasTry the Ilwaco jetty for a mix of coho and kings. Fair for coho off the west side beaches of Whidbey Island and Deception Pass at North Beach. Slow for coho and chinook at Ilwaco, but better at Westport. Fair for chinook, coho and pinks in San Juan Islands. La Push late salmon bubble fishery is Sept. 28 to Oct. 13. Westport Boat Basin Salmon Derby is open through Oct. 31. Grays Harbor reopens for coho this Sunday with a forecast of 281,985 compared to 198,012 last year.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide riversSalmon fishing on Puyallup from 11th Street Bridge up to City of Puyallup outfall structure across the river from the junction of Freeman Road and North Levee Road is closed Oct. 1-2, Oct. 6-9 and Oct. 13-16; and after Oct. 16 is open daily through Dec. 31. The Upper Puyallup is open daily Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. Fair for chinook in the Lower Columbia, and starting Thursday anglers can keep wild or hatchery-marked chinook from the Warrior Rock boundary near the Lewis River mouth downstream to Buoy 10. Good chinook catches off the mouth of the Klickitat and White Salmon River, and inside the Klickitat itself. Fair in Drano Lake for chinook and steelhead. Lewis mainstem and North Fork are fair for coho and hatchery chinook, and starting Oct. 1 all chinook may be kept and should be decent. Fair in the Cowlitz for chinook, coho and steelhead, and the Kalama for chinook and coho. The Yakima salmon fishery is slow. Good for chinook per boat in the Hanford Reach area of the Columbia. Good for ugly spawned-out pinks in the Skykomish, Snohomish, Puyallup, Nisqually, Green and Skagit.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide lakesMorton Lake near Covington was planted last Thursday with 1,000 trout averaging 2 pounds apiece. Lake Sammamish is open for kings. Good for perch in Lake Washington off the docks at Mount Baker, Seward Park, Leschi, Madison Park and Renton. Slow to fair for trout at Angle, Green, Roosevelt, Pass and Lone. Mineral closes for trout after Sept. 30. Jameson Lake opens Oct. 1-31 for trout. The Potholes is good for perch, walleye, bass and trout. Lake Washington is open for coho north of the 520 Bridge and east of Montlake Bridge, but its spotty off Hunts Point area, Edwards Point and below Sand Point toward the entrance of the Montlake Cut. Goose north of Carson was planted with 1,300 cutthroats averaging a pound apiece.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars

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

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