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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 18, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Lower Skagit River sockeye fishery generates fair action, but the recent heavy rainfall has made it unfishable

The sockeye fishery in the Lower Skagit River got off to a fairly good start during last Saturday’s (June 16) opener with plenty of angler effort and interest in this newly implemented fishery.

“There was some sockeye caught, and we heard about a few people getting limits,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Sample checks by state Fish and Wildlife on Saturday’s opener showed 107 boat anglers caught 13 sockeye, and based on incomplete checks there was 76 bank anglers with 17 sockeye.

“Right now the entire Skagit River is pretty punched out of shape and running over 60,000 (cubic feet per second),” Barkdull said. “But, believe it or not there were some caught (on Sunday) before the river kept rising and chased everyone off by the afternoon.”

Barkdull says it will take a couple of days for the water to clear up.

“I was pleasantly surprised by the number of fish caught,” Barkdull said.

Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood also took a trip up north, and reported decent action on sockeye.

“It was basically a situation of being in the right place at the right time,” Chamberlain said. “I know quite a few people who went up and didn’t see or hear of anything caught. And I had other customers who saw anglers catch quite a few limits. It’d be like you’d see schools of sockeye coming up through the bar areas with rods going down, and then it would be over just like that.”

“I was out at Young’s Bar on Sunday, and the water was into the willow trees, and now I heard the river is into the parking lot,” Chamberlain said. “I did see some dime bright sockeye and everyone is enthusiastic about it.”

The sockeye fishery is mainly a plunking show with the best success being on a wide range of colored (pinkish is the preferred color) number 4 or 6 spin-n-glos with mylar wings and dyed sand shrimp.

Chamberlain says it took a good 8 ounce weight to keep on bottom and those fishing right along the current seam had the best success than those casting way out into the river.

Other reports show the Skykomish and Stillaguamish rivers all got hit hard by the recent rainstorm, and were out of shape as of today (Monday, June 18).

The spring chinook fishery on the Skagit above Rockport and in the Cascade River was a hit and miss show.

“When you hit it at the right time you will get a chinook,” Barkdull said. “There hasn’t been much effort since the opener, but we’ve for another bunch of fish that moved into the area. When the Cascade was high they caught a few fish and also got a few out of the Skagit, but now the rivers are punched out again.”

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