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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 2, 2009 at 7:56 PM

Lots of fishing to be had in Western Washington

OK another cramped day to get fishing reports into the newspaper on Thursday, so I am going to fill the blog with plenty of stuff you won’t see in print.

The pink salmon fishery continues to garner most of the attention around Puget Sound, and for good reason.

“It would be an understatement to say the pinks are thick in Puget Sound,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Everett. “This return certainly touches the prediction [5.1-million pinks] or exceeds it, and the level of fishing intensity has stayed way up there.”

Krein continues to find easy limits of pinks mixed in with some larger coho between Meadow Point and West Point off Shilshole Bay.

“When the pinks are thick the coho seem to be way more aggressive and are willing to bite better,” Krein said. “We are getting at least one per trip, and I had one 13 pounder and another about 11 pounds so these are some nice coho.”

State Fish and Wildlife checkers were busy at the Everett boat ramp from Aug. 28-30 where anglers averaged better than 2.5 fish per rod with 5,500 pinks tallied in three days of fishing.

“September should be a really good month for coho and pinks,” Krein said. “It has been lots and of double and triple hook ups all at one time, and I have a photo with three fish in the net at once.”

Other places where a nice combo of pinks and coho continue to show are Mukilteo south to Humpy Hollow (near Browns Bay), Edmonds area, West Point, Jefferson Head, Elliott Bay, Possession Bar and both sides of Whidbey Island.

Good pink shoreline spots are Lincoln Park, Dash Point, Kayak Point, Point No Point, Deception Pass, Meadowdale, Picnic Point, Possession Point on east Whidbey Island, and from Fort Casey to Bush Point on west Whidbey Island.

“We are still seeing a lot of pinks in the area, and people switching over gear to catch silvers are finding them in good numbers weighing anywhere from 7 to 13 pounds,” said Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood. “these fish are moving and traveling so you’ve got to find them like in the shipping lanes between Possession Bar and Mukilteo, and off Edmonds.”

Chamberlain says most of the coho have been found 30 to 60 feet deep, but one of his clients fishing off Kingston found them in the shipping lane down at 150 to 180 feet.

Another indication of how strong and on how long this will last, just look out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, where the pinks and some coho are thick from Neah Bay to Sekiu and clear into Port Angeles.

“The coho numbers went up for sure out there at Sekiu, and I heard of one that was 20 pounds,” said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife sampler in the Strait. “The pinks are also hanging in there and it looks like we’ll see some pretty good fishing for the holiday weekend.”

The Quilcene/Dabob Bay coho fishery has also picked up in recent days.

Hatchery king fishing is open in south central Puget Sound and San Juan Islands at places Dolphin Point, Secret Harbor, Eagle Point, south of Southworth and the Tacoma area.

Reminder: The Area 9 and 10 hatchery king fishery is now closed.

On the coast, the ocean salmon fishery off Ilwaco will reopen soon, and there is a fisheries conference call scheduled for today, Sept. 3.

“Westport had a good week [1.8 fish per rod] and I heard there was a wall of coho just out at a depth of 100 feet,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Neah Bay did better and if you include pinks in the catch it was 1.25 fish per person. The weather was also tough again.”

Pressure is really light at La Push, but those who ventured out still average 1.6 fish per rod, and almost all were coho.

The Tokeland Marina Salmon Derby at Willapa Bay is Saturday, Sept. 5, but fishing was slow.

“I went on Friday and it died, then our sampler at Tokeland on Sunday saw nothing,” Beeghly said. “People are marking fish like crazy [on their fish finders], but they aren’t biting. A lot of the for this year has been at Washaway Beach because the coho were dipping in there. Scott Barbour [a state Fish and Wildlife biologist] ran out of Willapa into the ocean on a calm day recently and he couldn’t keep the coho off the line.”

Very good for tuna at Neah Bay, Westport, Ilwaco and La Push with charter boats averaging 10 to 11 fish per rod.

“I know one guy out of Ilwaco who was with five people and they got 50 fish which is pretty phenomenal,” Beeghly said. “I’m not sure how far out they were running this past week.”

The Washington Tuna Classic is Sept. 12 at Westport. Details: www.washingtontunaclassic.com.

Long lines at all the river boat ramps have been common place this week, and the lure has been very good pink fishing along with some early coho showing up.

“It took Mark Spada [a local tackle rep] more than 30 minutes to launch his boat in downtown Snohomish, but when he got out on low tide there was pools and schools of pinks moving through,” said Bryan Nelson at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville. “Guys trolling plugs are also catching a few more coho in the Snohomish from 522 Bridge down to Lowell.”

It is also very good for pinks and some coho in the Stillaguamish, Skagit below Concrete, Green, Nisqually and Puyallup. Fair for king in the Samish and Skokomish. Fair for steelhead in the Upper Skykomish.

Those looking for some freshwater fishing can stay close to home and fish in the backyard of Seattle at Lake Washington.

“Folks are still doing good for perch in Lake Washington,” said Maria Beppu, owner of Linc’s Tackle Shop in Seattle. “We also had a couple of guys who are getting some catfish at night using lanterns off Seward Park and the Stan Sayres Pits.”

Other good night time cat fish holes are the Foster Island area and Arboretum. Try for perch in Lake Washington off the docks at Seward Park, south end of Mercer Island, Coulon Park, Leschi, Mount Baker, Kenmore and Madison Park.

There’s a whole bunch of excitement going on down in the Columbia River and its tributaries.

“We’re looking at record levels and catch for chinook and steelhead in August, and there are still chinook and coho at the head of the [Lower Columbia] estuary,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It sounds like those chinook have moved from Longview upstream the last few days, and the weekend tides are good.”

“We are seeing some good early movement in the tribs [Cowlitz, Kalama and Lewis], and there are chinook coming back to the hatcheries already, and they are on time or earlier or big or both,” Hymer said. “And the coho too we are seeing increasing numbers in the tribs. The chinook and steelhead are going pretty good at Bonneville.”

Good for chinook and coho in the Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis North Fork and Washougal. Good for steelhead in Drano Lake and White Salmon River. At Buoy 10, weekend anglers averaged a coho per rod.

Upcoming fishing derbies: The Cascade Musky Association Derby is Sept. 12-13 at Mayfield Lake. Details: 253-841-0171. The Edmonds Coho Salmon Derby is Sept. 12. Details: www.northwestsalmonderbyseries.com. The Sloop Tavern/Ballard Elks Lodge Coho Salmon Fishing Derby is Sept. 20. Cost is $20, and fishing is allowed in Area 10 only. Details: 206-227-0851. The Everett Coho Derby is Sept. 19-20. Cost is $25. Details: www.everettcohosalmonderby.com.

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