September 13, 2013 at 10:31 AM
Grays Harbor opens Monday for a brief seven day king salmon fishery
The highly anticipated Grays Harbor king fishery gets underway on Monday, and this season’s window of opportunity will be short but sweet.
Last year’s king fishery was the first in the harbor since 2007, and could be one of the last saltwater fisheries where kings migrating to the Chehalis and Humptulips river systems reach trophy-size proportions of 40 to 50 pounds.
Don’t overlook the coho that can easily top 20 pounds, and the forecast calls for a whopping 281,985 coho compared to 198,012 last year.
Most will start trolling from the `goal post’ (a set of rotting wood pilings) near entrance marker off the Johns River, and then head east into the south channel. This location is where a trough runs east and west along the shoreline toward the Chehalis River mouth.
Many will use Stearns Bluff, a landmark hillside east of the Johns River, as the ending spot.
Fishing gear is somewhat similar to Buoy 10 on the Lower Columbia River mouth, which consists of a 6-ounce drop sinker attached to a three-way slip swivel with a Kone Zone flasher to a 6-foot leader and cut-plug herring.
Let out 12 to 16 pulls of fishing line — since this is a shallow-water fishery at depths of 15 to 25 feet — so your bait is spinning just a foot off the sandy bottom.
Constantly check your fishing gear as the harbor is filled with eel grass, mainly on a low tide when it’s pulled away from shore.
There are three major boat launches, and the four-lane ramp at Westport is the most popular. Next is a small two-lane ramp ideal for smaller boats just inside the Johns River. Both are best to access the south channel.
The 28th Street launch in Hoquiam just inside the Chehalis River mouth is best to access the north channel fishery.
Follow channel markers as there are many shallow sandbars (especially at low tide) where you can ground a vessel. Be watchful of large ships heading in and out of the ocean.
Daily limit is three salmon, and only one may be a chinook, and two wild coho (release chum) through Sept. 22 east of the Buoy 13 boundary line. From Sept. 23 to Nov. 30, daily limit is three, and release chinook.
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