Follow us:

Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

October 31, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Winter chinook fisheries begin soon, but some marine areas already producing catches


The summer salmon fisheries seem like a long time ago, but the winter chinook salmon fishing scene is just around the corner and good times should continue roll on.

Places like Saratoga Pass down along the southeast side of Whidbey Island (Marine Catch Areas 8-1 and 8-2) and northern Puget Sound (9) open Thursday, Nov. 1, and join central Puget Sound (10), south central Puget Sound (11), Hood Canal (12) and southern Puget Sound (13) which are already open for salmon.

Areas 8 and 13 are open through April 30, Area 9 is open through Nov. 30, 10 is open through Jan. 31, and 11 and 12 are open through Dec. 31.

These fisheries are followed by a Dec. 1 through April 10 salmon season in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (Area 6) off famous winter holes like Winter Hole, Freshwater Bay and the humps near Port Angeles.

The San Juan Islands (Area 7) are also open for salmon from Dec. 1 through April 30, and the western Strait off Sekiu reopens Feb. 16 through April 10.

Just like clockwork the feeder immature chinook (also known as blackmouth for their distinct black gum line) will appear right about now at places like Jefferson Head, Kingston, Possession Bar, Allen Bank off Blake Island, Point No Point, Southworth, Tacoma area off the Clay Banks, Point Dalco off the south side of Vashon Island, Double Bluff off Whidbey Island, Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend, Browns Bay, Onamac Point, Camano Head and Elger Bay.

Most of these fish will range from legal-size (22-inches) to about 6 to 10 pounds, to bigger fsh into the 20-plus pound category.

It might be wise to bring along some extra herring bait as usually during this time of the year there are a lot of smaller (shaker) sized chinook from 10 to 21 inches.

State Fish and Wildlife releases less than one million delayed-release chinook in which the majority don’t migrate out to sea and will spend their entire lives in Puget Sound. During the 1960s and 70s the state released three times as many but budget cuts has slashed the hatchery production.

PtNoPtMe July 2011.jpg

While the cuts have impacted the winter fisheries the good news is about 30-million natural timed chinook are released in the spring, and some of those will also tend to stay within local marine waters for their entire lives.

Schools of baitfish like herring, candlefish and krill also drive how many fish will stay in local waters as these fish have one thing on their minds and that is to gorge themselves with feed.

The Tengu Blackmouth Salmon Derby began this past Sunday under unexpected mild temperatures and calm waters.

“There was two blackmouth that were a couple of 7 pounders for 31 guys,” said Doug Hanada, the Tengu Derby president. “A couple other guys caught two 6 and 7 pounders, but they were wild fish that you have to release.”

The derby was named after Tengu, a fabled Japanese character who stretched the truth. Like Pinocchio, Tengu’s nose grew with every lie.

In the derby, only mooching (fishing using a banana-style lead weight to a leader with a herring) is allowed. No artificial lures, flashers, hoochies (plastic squids) or other gear like downriggers are permitted.

The derby will meet from daybreak to 11 a.m. every Sunday through Dec. 30 at the Seacrest Boathouse, which is now home to Marination Ma Kai Restaurant in West Seattle near Alki. The boathouse will open at 6 a.m. every other Sunday. Cost is $10 for the derby. Rental boats available at 7 a.m. will cost $65 boat only, and $85 for boat and motor.

Tickets are available at the Seacrest Boathouse, Linc’s Tackle Shop in Seattle, Auburn Sports and Marine, and Outdoor Emporium in Seattle. Details: 206-324-7600.

The Bayside Marine Salmon Derby in Everett, part of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series, is this weekend (Nov. 3-4), and will draw hundreds of anglers out on the waters. Cost is $30 and the biggest fish wins $2,000.

For details, go to the Bayside Marine Salmon Derby website or the Northwest Salmon Derby Series website.

(Photo courtesy of the Seattle Times archive and Mark Yuasa.)



No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.

The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►