The coastal salmon fishery remains the high point of the summer with most anglers getting easy limits of either coho or chinook at Ilwaco, Westport, Neah Bay and La Push.
“It has been excellent fishing for at least 10 days now, and just day after day of limits,” said Mark Cedergreen, president of the Westport Charter Boat Association.
“Most are coho and dressed out they’re averaging 8 to 10 pounds with some bigger,” Cedergreen said. “The fish are being caught close in to port and the charters are only making at hour run from home. Not everyone is getting limits, but virtually everyone is and most are in by noon or sooner.”
“It is the best fishing we have had since 2004 or 2005,” Cedergreen said.
Buoy 10 at the Lower Columbia River mouth has also gained some steam since opening on Aug. 1.
On Aug. 7, 28 boats with 71 anglers caught six chinook and 56 coho; Aug. 8, 43 boats with 110 anglers caught 10 chinook and 74 coho; and Aug. 9, 29 boats with 69 anglers caught three chinook and 23 coho.
One of the most puzzling places where the kings have been a no show or for the most part of passed by uncaught is Puget Sound from Port Townsend into Whidbey Island by Possession Bar and Point No Point and down into areas like Edmonds, Jefferson Head and Vashon Island.
Some of the theories include the warm weather may have pushed the kings further down into the water column or the shipping lanes, while most anglers targeting kings are milling the shorelines.
“It has been on fire for kings at places like Tahsis, Esperenza [off West Coast of Vancouver Island], Sekiu was good before it closed for kings [on Aug. 7], and the tribes did well in [Elliott] Bay [more than 4,000 kings caught on Aug. 5],” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association.
“I think it is more of a behavioral issue than they don’t exist,” Floor said. “It is the mystery of the summer, and here we are in what is supposed to be a phenomenal season. The only smoking gun is the warm weather drove them further down into the water column and put them off the bite.”
Elliott Bay slowed down from being good on Friday to just fair over the weekend.
“I’d say it is fair fishing in the bay,” said Peter Sergeef, the state Fish and Wildlife checker at the Armeni boat ramp in West Seattle. “I saw 20 kings for 60 boats [on Monday, Aug. 10], and there are a lot of pinks out there too.”
On Saturday, 205 boats in the bay with 398 anglers had 59 chinook, 21 coho and 100 pinks, and a couple of the kings were over 30 pounds. On Sunday, 183 boats with 387 anglers had 44 chinook, 12 coho and 45 pinks.