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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 14, 2011 at 5:19 PM

Plenty of fishing activities happening in the weeks ahead

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Here is what various fisheries biologists, tackle shops, resort managers and others had to say about fishing in their own words.

Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Vancouver:

“The only big changes are all the regulations like the Firday, Saturday and Sunday fall chinook retention fishing in the Lower Columbia below the Lewis River mouth. The Lower Cowlitz is doing well for chinook and coho.”

“There were some pretty good checks between Vancouver and the (Bonneville) Dam in recent days here for fall chinook. Fishing at Buoy-10 (at the Columbia River mouth) is bouncing around, and Oregon had a good check the last couple of days with nearly a fish per rod average. That could change pretty quickly with a weather change and slow things down. The Washington checks (from Buoy-10) haven’t been quite as good, and I suspect some fish are heading back to Youngs Bay and that will bump it up. Plus they have a few more fishing guides on their (Oregon) side which raises the catch rates.”

The Lower Columbia River reopens for chinook fishing, and here is the state Fish and Wildlife news release:

Columbia River anglers can catch and keep chinook salmon for three extra days, Sept. 16-18, below the Lewis River downriver to the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line.

Chinook fishing will also reopen Sept. 16, two weeks ahead of schedule, in the Buoy 10 area, which includes the lower 16 miles of the Columbia River. The daily catch limit in both areas will be two adult salmon or hatchery steelhead, or one of each.

Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Montesano who monitors the coastal salmon and tuna fisheries:

“Neah Bay effort has dropped to almost nothing, but what we saw was 0.5 fish per person average, and two thirds of them are coho and one third was pinks, and only a handful of chinook for the week.”

“La Push was good and we had an average of 1.3 fish per person, and it was mostly coho and equal number of chinook and pink, which was a 0.2 fish (per rod average) on each of those.”

“At Westport it is slowing down too, although effort picked up a little bit with the chinook retention rule kicking in, and I didn’t see great catches with a 0.8 fish per person average. It was about three coho for every chinook, and pinks are pretty much gone now.”

“At Ilwaco there we saw about 0.7 fish per person average, and it was about one to five chinook to coho. Effort has also died off to almost nothing now.”

“There was some tuna effort, but catches were really spotty and I saw anywhere from one to about six fish per person on charters both in Ilwaco and Westport. For private boats the best I saw was three tuna per person. It has been a slow year for tuna, and even the commercial guys aren’t getting a lot.”

On reflecting about the coastal summer salmon fishery: “The main goal is to get through the planned fishery with the secondary goal with providing additional opportunity where we can.”

“Willapa was alright and (Scott Barbour, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist in Montesano, and a friend) got a couple decent chinook at Willapa Bay so there are still a few chinook around. The Grays Harbor coho fishery opens on (Friday) Sept. 16, and the La Push late season salmon fishery open Sept. 24, and with the catches we are seeing right now it might be a decent late fishery. Ilwaco is open for salmon through Sept. 30, and Neah Bay, La Push and Westport are open until (Sunday) Sept. 18.”

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Gary Ryan, manager of Van Riper’s Resort in Sekiu:

“It did pick up yesterday (Tuesday) and I didn’t see see too many unhappy faces, and this morning we saw lot more wild coho than hatchery fish. I’ve seen a few people cleaning fish this morning and I know one boat that had six wild coho to release. We had those big low tides last week, and that might’ve had something to do with the slow fishing. There are still quite a few coho in the ocean, and if we get a weather change it should push more fish in.”

Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood:

“We still have lots of pinks in the river (Snohomish, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish, Green, Duwamish, Puyallup and Skagit) and slowing up in the saltwater areas like the western beaches of Whidbey Island where they have subsided greatly, and coho numbers are starting to improve greatly and it is picking up on the western beaches off Whidbey Island, off Possession Bar and Scatchet Head. Coho fishing varies a bit with Monday and Tuesday was slow, and it could be things were off a little bit because of the big low tides.”

“It’ll pick back up, and there are some coho showing up in the rivers, and some of the guys have started to trade off their pink gear, and are tired of humpies and now chasing coho.”

“It should continue to ramp up on the coho now and be good through mid-October. The number of people chasing pinks have cut way down since last weekend. I wouldn’t say it was the last hurrah, but a lot of guys are starting to go for coho and cutback on fishing period because of less daylight which is getting narrower every day, and other activities like kids football and soccer games.”

“To be honest this is the time of the year when we have some of the best fishing opportunities. Whether you go for trout, perch, bass or salmon there are a tremendous amount of places to catch fish. It amazes me that not a lot of people take advantage of the good yellow perch fishing in Lake Washington. You don’t have to go out all day and it is not a big hassle to fish for them. Just put on a worm and catch your first perch and the cut chunks of the perch and use that to catch more perch. They are super great eating fish, and you can deep fry them with panko breading and that is hard to beat.”

Jerry Beppu, owner of Linc’s Tackle Shop in Seattle:

“Our customers are still doing quite well on perch and for bass too. They’ve been also getting more nice-size crappie this summer than in years past. The crappie are a little harder to find, but when you find them they are fairly good size crappie and that is another bonus. Fishing is good from Leschi down to Seward Park.”

“As long as the weather stays the way it is we’ll get in on some of the good pink fishing, and hopefully they’ll be around until the end of the month.”

(Photos by Mark Yuasa and state Fish and Wildlife)

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