Here is the latest San Juan Island fishing report from Kevin Klein with the Puget Sound Anglers Friday Harbor Chapter:
Since the Dec. 1 winter chinook opener in the San Juan Islands, the fishing has been pretty darn good. As long as the weather lets you get out, the Salmon have been cooperating.
Best General areas would be the Eastern Rosario Strait area, Northwestern San Juan Channel, and President Channel along Orcas Island. But really, Blackmouth are spread throughout the Islands.
If you find bait, you most likely find these feeder Chinook. This is almost an excusive downrigger fishery. The best tactics are usually to “match the hatch”, and this time of year, the bait is mostly small herring and candlefish. 3-3.5″ Silver Horde spoons and Coho Killers have been the go to.
Any colors in glow seem to work. Use 20-25 lb florocarbon leader in lengths of 42-48″ behind an 11″ flasher. Troll within 10 feet of the bottom, trying for 1.8-2.2 mph, but mostly watch your downrigger cable angle. Don’t go past 45 degrees of backsweep. Trolling cut plug or helmeted small herring can be deadly also.
Use your electronics to find baitfish, and keep your eyes out for diving birds and seals. If an area looks fishy to you, it probably looks like lunch to a blackmouth as well. Don’t be afraid to stake out an area and gring within a football field if you find action.
No action, move and don’t waste time. Keep your gear fishing effectively as much as possible. He who has his offering in front of the fish most often, most often goes home with the fish!
(Photo courtesy of Northwest Salmon Derby Series from the Anacortes Derby in March 2012)