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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

August 19, 2009 at 9:02 PM

Salmon angling at the summer peak period

I just got done with my fishing report for the paper, and while I couldn’t write as much as I wanted here are some of the reports that you won’t see in the print version.

Lets start off with the Columbia River region where the action has gained big time momentum this week.

Buoy 10 at the Lower Columbia River mouth remains decent for mostly coho and a few chinook.

“It has been good, but not great and if you put in your time you should catch fish,” said Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association, and who I fished with on Monday when we hooked four nice coho and two kings above the Astoria Bridge on the afternoon flood tide.

By Tuesday, Floor and his three partners had six coho and two kings. Floor fished the ocean off Ilwaco today [Aug. 19] and hooked eight unmarked coho and finally got one before he moved inside the river and got another one. The area above the bridge on the high water is money for those who want to make the trek down there.

It sounded like the ocean off the South Coast had slowed down for coho, and it was pretty foggy today.

Further upstream, the big kings that were being caught left and right at Buoy 10 this past Friday and Saturday were milling around middle section of the Lower Columbia.

“The Lower Columbia from Longview to Vancouver has really picked up for chinook, and we’re seeing some pretty decent catches of steelhead in Bonenville Pool tributaries like Drano Lake and the White Salmon River,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

At Bonneville Dam, about 160,000 steelhead had been counted in the last seven days. Daily counts came between 16,000 and 34,000 for the last week, and was getting pretty close to the preseason forecast of 352,000. Low water flows and warmer water could slow the counts down this week, and by Tuesday the counts had dropped down to under 13,000 steelhead, but chinook counts are going up.

The ocean off Westport, La Push and Neah Bay were also averaging more than one fish per rod, and it is mainly a coho show although plenty of pinks were being caught at Neah Bay too.

In Puget Sound, the show for pinks has started to become excellent and there are still a few kings around.

Pinks are thick from Edmonds to Elliott Bay, and from Mukilteo south to Humpy Hollow it has been hit and miss.

“It is typically a white flasher or white dodger or pink mini squid or cotton colored Coho Killers that have worked well for pinks,” said Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood. “The pinks are sort of moody and tempermental, and they go on the bite a bit and then you get your fish a pretty quick. Then you’ll hit some times where you can troll and get nothing for a long time.”

Chamberlain says to expect good pink fishing in Marine Areas 9 and 10 through the end of the month.

One of Chamberlains co-workers fished with his buddies at Fort Casey shoreline off the west side of Whidbey Island using a float and herring. They hooked 10 coho and half of them were the larger ocean type fish of 8 to 10 pounds.

Shore anglers can try Deception Pass State Park, Bush Point, Picnic Point, Mukilteo, Meadowdale Park, Kayak Point, Lagoon Point and Fort Casey, and the Possession Bait Shop on the east side of Whidbey, which are all good for pinks.

“One nice thing about early coho is that they tend to bite better,” Chamberlain said. “You should also see some pinks in that area as well.”

Kings are in rivers like the Skokomish and Samish, but many are illegally snagging them which has always been a problem. The fair and right way to catch them is using a float with eggs or free floating eggs.

The Lower Snohomish River from the 522 Bridge downstream and the tidewater areas are good for pinks.

Portions of the Skagit and Skykomish rivers also are currently open for salmon, while a portion of the Green River opens Aug. 22.

Freshwater salmon fishing opportunities will increase Sept. 1, when the Stillaguamish River opens and anglers can fish additional stretches of the Skykomish and Green rivers. There are special gear restrictions for the Green River.

Salmon fishing also opens Sept. 1 in the Carbon River in Pierce County; Copalis River, Van Winkle Creek and Joe Creek in Grays Harbor County; the Bear and Niawiakum rivers in Pacific County; and Clearwater River in Jefferson County. The Puyallup River opened Aug. 16, and has been very good for pinks.

Also beginning Sept. 1, anglers fishing in the Quillayute system – which includes the Bogachiel, Sol Duc, Calawah and Dickey rivers – can keep two adult salmon, plus two additional adult hatchery coho as part of the six-fish daily limit.

On the Hoh River, anglers will be able to fish for salmon seven days a week as of Sept. 1 and keep up to two adult fish as part of their six-fish daily limit.

This Friday to Monday are the last days to fish for kings in inner-Elliott Bay, and should remain fair. This has been the place for big kings and the only area it seems in the Puget Sound that has been consistent for them this entire summer.

More fishing derbies are slated including the Sinclair Inlet Salmon Derby, held near Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula, Aug. 22-23, and the Willapa Bay Salmon Derby at the Tokeland Marina on Sept. 5.

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