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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 15, 2011 at 8:08 AM

Grays Harbor river systems like Humptulips and Chehalis offer good late fall salmon fishing

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The Humptulips and Chehalis River systems are unique in that anglers have the decent chance to catch salmon all the way into early December.

This year the forecast for Grays Harbor is 133,054 coho compared to 101,168 in 2010. The Grays Harbor chinook forecast is 27,189 (13,934 headed to the Chehalis and 13,255 bound for the Humptulips). The Chehalis is closed for chinook this season.

“The fishing had been steady in between rains (on the Humptulips River),” said Andy Shanks, owner of Island Guide Service who recently caught a nice king. “Pulling wrapped plugs, tossing spinners and float fishing eggs is producing well.”

Fall salmon in the Grays Harbor drainage begin arriving in early October. Anglers have been catching fish in the harbor for a couple weeks not although water conditions have been less than ideal.

Fishing in Grays Harbor streams should remain strong through Thanksgiving, and possibly a couple weeks beyond that time frame in cefrtain sections.

The late coho run on streams such as the Humptulips and Satsop should be especially productive through this month.

Anglers should check the regulations on the river they plan to fish as there are some wild fish release rules or species specific release rules in place, and daily limits vary from river to river.

The hardest part about fishing in these river systems is learning about timing and weather. Invest a lot time watching weather patterns, mainly rainfall, which affects stream flow and color and fish migration periods.

Another thing to watch is when the tribes are fishing in the river systems. A Quinault commercial net fishery in the Humptulips can mean feast or famine for sport anglers.

(Photo courtesy of Andy Shanks, owner of Island Guide Service)

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