Here is quick rundown on what some of my contacts had to say while out on the water in recent days hunting down salmon.
Here is my report from Point No Point on Saturday and Sunday:
It was moocher city up at Point No Point over the weekend! We estimated about 75 boats drift mooching, and if you tried to troll with downriggers through the fleet you got an earful of nasty words spewed at you. It was pretty much bumper to bumper full of boats trying to fish a small hole off the lighthouse. There was at least 35 anglers fishing from the shore as well.
We had a pretty good trip, and caught one nice 20-plus pound hatchery king on Saturday (see the pic!), and my friend unbuttoned another big king right at the boat during the daybreak bite. On Saturday we saw about 20 fish caught first thing in the morning on drifts that took us from the lighthouse off the point into the bay itself.
We took off at 9 a.m., and the low tide change bite according to my friend who stuck it out drew about 30 more fish inthe early afternoon.
We decided to head back up on Sunday morning, and it was the same scenario although the daybreak bite just generated a handful of kings. We were lucky and hooked and released a wild king that we felt weighed about 15 pounds, and also released another small blackmouth.
Later than morning at low tide change there was another good bite and a friend said about 30 kings came up and they hooked and landed three themselves. PNP was probably one of the better places to be on the opener.
The first come from Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist who spent the weekend seeking out kings at Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend:
“If you were in the right spot at Midchannel Bank it was a good place, and it turned out first thing (on Saturday) morning a few people caught a lot of kings, and a lot of people that caught nothing.”
“We kind of scratcher for our kings, and we were in the wrong spot first thing in the morning, but ended up getting three kings the first day, and second day (Sunday, July 17) we scratched up one fish in the morning.”
“It felt like there was 400 boats on the water on Saturday, but we couldn’t see all of them, and then on Sunday mornign there wasn’t even a line at the boatramp. We only saw 20 rigs that had launched at Keystone by 5 a.m. Obviously at Keystone the guys who were out on Saturday weren’t coming back on Sunday.”
“Over at Fort Casey one of the guys I know got on them and caught limits early Saturday, and couple more like us scratched out a few, and two or three boats that had none.”
Barkdull says the good news is there was some bait on the bank.
Pete Sergeef, a state Fish and Wildlife sample checker at the Don Armeni ramp in West Seattle gave me this report:
“I was at Armeni ramp on the weekend, and the parking lot hasn’t been full at all, and that it probably due to the bay being closed. I saw seven fish out of 21 boats on Saturday, and three fish out of 22 boats Sunday, but saw a bunch of resident coho.”
They were catching the resident coho at Jeff Head, and some of the guys were going to midchannel yellow marker buoy off West Point. My biggest coho was 4 or 5 pounds, and the average was 2 to 3 pounds.”
“I know a friend of mine fished Saturday night in front of Shilshole Bay and got a 26 pound king.”
Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife sampler in the Strait of Juan de Fuca gave me his impressions on how things shaped up at Sekiu and Port Angeles:
“Looks like fishing was so-so, and they had good numbers of pinks caught at Sekiu, but it looks like the chinook numbers may be down a little bit. Not many coho and their numbers dropped off this week.”
“We had a new run of pinks arrive at Sekiu, the samplers were talking about some nice size ones. With all the rain I think that brought the pinks in and they are flooding in like waves.”
“They are starting to get some pinks at Port Angeles, not any big numbers yet. Still a few kings around PA and some silvers.”
The number of crowds was kind of down last week, and then it picked up on the weekend.”
Down south on the Columbia River, Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist had this to report:
“In general we checked a lot of summer steelhead, and quite a few wild ones especially for bank anglers in the lower river. It is a little better for sturgeon out of Deep River/Knappton. They are also getting quite a few walleye and bass in The Dalles Pool.
Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood felt the king opener in northern and central Puget Sound didn’t live up to the hype that was talked about before it opened:
“If I had one word to sort of coin what we saw over the weekend, I was disappointed and we had fish being caught, but for the amount of participation and the number of fish we’ve heard, and the reports we heard, I would say it was a little bit of a letdown. We saw some nice kings caught in high 20s to low 30s, and most tended to be in middle teen area.”
“Guys that fished at Possession Bar said at least 300 boats were out there from Scatchet Head and on the bar itself. I wouldn’t say it was great, but OK.”
One place that we did hear was good for kings came from Point No Point, and a number of our guys did pretty well. Overall I would have to say moochers had good reports at Point No Point, Kingston and Apple Tree so that side seemed to be a little bit more productive overall.”
“I heard of more fish being caught on plugs than I did with flasher, hootchies and spoons. And the plugs seemed to have made a revival like Tomics and Silver Hordes in glow colors, Mother of Pearl and green chartereuse.”
The Edmonds Pier has been disappointing for kings with one or two caught a day.
Kokanee fishing at Lake Stevens has been very good, and I know of two guys who 19, that were all right around 13 and 14 inches. They caught them at 60 feet using a little Number 14 flourescent red spin-n-glo with two Gamakatsu drop shot hooks with Gulp maggots and a shoepeg corn. Crabbing has been phenomenal out there.”
Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Shilshole Bay reported this on the king salmon opener in Area 9/10:
“I would have to say the first weekend had mixed results, with some boats getting several fish and others not getting only one or two kings. Our boats got more non-hatchery fish than fin clipped this weekend, but between the two boats we did land over a dozen king salmon.”
(Photos courtesy of Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter)