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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 14, 2010 at 2:46 PM

Some Puget Sound coho runs don’t look good as tail end nears, but northern region looks healthy

While many continue to scratch their head about the lack of coho coming into central and southern Puget Sound, it appears that isn’t quite the case for northern Puget Sound returns.

“We got an updated coho return, and it looks strong for coho in places like the Skagit and Nooksack,” said Pat Pattillo, the head state Fish and Wildlife assistant director.

Fisheries managers have also said coho catches have been fairly good by nontribal and tribal commercial fishermen in Area 7 at places like Bellingham Bay.

While the coho returns are somewhat down for the Stillaguamish and Snohomish river systems it hasn’t fallen that far below what the preseason forecast of about 140,000 fish.

“Once you get past the Shipwreck (a popular fishing area located just south of Mukilteo) it all goes downhill for coho,” said Steve Thiesfeld, the state Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound sport salmon manager. “We just can’t get a good idea of what is going on with coho.”

Thiesfeld says he’s even heard of hatchery coho being caught in Area 6 (Port Angeles), but suspects those could be headed to the Dungeness.

Coho and even hatchery chinook fishing has been so lousy in central Puget Sound that charters are now targeting the more harder to bite chum salmon that are expected to return in huge numbers this fall and early winter.

“We’ve been catching a couple chums, and have started to work on those since there haven’t been many hatchery blackmouth around and we are only catching a few shakers around Jeff Head and Kingston,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Everett.

“The positive signs are all there as far as the bait (herring schools) goes,” Krein said. “Hopefully it will pick back up soon.”

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