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Summer Salmon Fishing in the NW

 
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Hal C
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2009 12:04 pm    Post subject: Summer Salmon Fishing in the NW Reply with quote

Tony Floor discusses the summer salmon season in the Northwest - Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.


Excuse me as I think I'm getting a bite!



As you read this month’s column, it should be Monday morning, June 1st. Hopefully, I am fishing along the northern shoreline of Kruzof Island, in the Gulf of Alaska near the fishing town of Sitka, ready for a big, bright king salmon to woof my plug-cut herring into it’s engine room while my rod tip buries into the saltwater.

It has become tradition, during my annual salmon fishing schedule, to fly to Sitka at this time of year, to test their version of this sport that has become a passion of life for this dude. This will be my 19th year in a row to Sitka, with five great fishing buddies in search of our king salmon “fix.” Ironically, most of the Chinook salmon I have encountered on these trips are hatchery and wild Chinook salmon originating in the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The debate has continued for years, whether to fish where they live now, or wait until they arrive back home. I do both, along with many other Washington saltwater anglers. And, it’s just not the Chinook salmon that I stalk. The halibut and lingcod fishing is the kind of fishing mecca that works for me, set in breathtaking scenery as if the San Juan Islands were dropped from the sky at 100,000 feet and landed over the Olympic Mountains in northwest Washington. Ahhhhhhhh, I dig fishing in mecca.

Most of Washington’s salmon fishing regions are currently closed at this time of year, but by the end of the month, kickoff to Washington’s big salmon game will begin with the openers at La Push and Neah Bay on June 27th, followed by Westport and Ilwaco on June 28th. Put me in coach.

In this writing, I intend to drill down on most of these fishing seasons here at home, as many anglers consider when and where to invest their salmon fishing hours, days and dollars. My recommendations are based on two criteria’s. My first criteria is to understand the salmon run-size forecasts, produced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Second, I consider the data revealed from the science of information from the tiny coded-wire tag, injected into the snout of thousands of hatchery produced Chinook and Coho salmon released from Pacific Northwest salmon hatcheries. This information has produced precise data suggesting where our salmon travel during their lifetime and ultimately, for this purpose, where they are caught. This data collection began around 40 years ago. It is the primary tool used, coast-wide, to help managers understand survival, migration and catch.

As I suggested in last month’s column, the Washington coast is the place to consider as you develop your fishing plans. The science and the forecast suggest Westport is a perfect place to kickoff the game. The backbone of the Westport salmon fishery is a direct result of the strength or weakness of the Columbia River Chinook and Coho runs. As you may have read previously, the Coho salmon forecast for the Columbia River is the cake and the Chinook salmon forecast is the frosting. I like cake but I really dig the frosting. Ocean weather condition permitting, Westport is at the top of my list in late June and most of July.

As we proceed into July, I highly recommend fishing in Areas 9 and 10, which is the Puget Sound real estate from the north tip of Vashon Island to Pt. Wilson at Port Townsend. This is a new king salmon fishery which opened in 2007 under a tough quota driven system. This year, toss the quota system and we will be fishing under a season structure from July 16 through August 31. Of course, the target is hatchery produced (adipose fin-clipped) Chinook salmon. Unmarked Chinook salmon must be released. Make my day.

Other areas receiving honorable mention for quality Chinook salmon fishing in July are the San Juan Islands and Neah Bay. So many fish, so little time.

Following that line of thinking, August needs another 30 days at least, to enjoy all of the options available this year. The Strait of Juan de Fuca, west of Ediz Hook at Port Angeles including Freshwater Bay and Sekiu, is open for hatchery produced Chinook salmon from July 1st through August 15th. Many anglers have forgotten about the quality of Chinook salmon fishing, just off the kelp beds along this beautiful piece of Washington real estate. I like late July and early August to fish this region. Monster king salmon, at daylight turns my wheel.

Westport and Ilwaco, at the mouth of the Columbia River, will be in their glory during the mid-August time frame. Coho salmon should stack at the mouth of the Columbia like rush hour traffic on I-5 in Seattle, ready to surge into the Columbia River. Be there.

Willapa Bay gets into the big game during the last week of August in one of the best premier shallow water king salmon fisheries in Washington. If the forecast is correct, anglers should witness about 35,000 king salmon entering the bay. Remember, if you are fishing in water greater than 20 feet, you’re out of the zone. One foot off the bottom and a slow troll on the flood time and crush!

That’s a snapshot of what I consider the neon lights of the 2009 summer fishing options at home. Excuse me as I think I’m getting a bite... customer! See you on the water.
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Captain Walker
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Follow Tony's end of the summer article here...

http://www.boatersline.com/viewtopic.php?t=3931&highlight=

Salmon Fishing for Silvers & Kings in the Pacific Northwest
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