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Tony's Top 10 NW Salmon Fishing Spots - Summer Hotspots

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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Thu Jun 05, 2008 10:44 am    Post subject: Tony's Top 10 NW Salmon Fishing Spots - Summer Hotspots Reply with quote

How to Catch Salmon in the NW - Tony tells us when and where! Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.

Tony's Top 10

For the last few years, in the June edition of this column, I have attempted to provide some summer salmon fishing options here in the Pacific Northwest as all of the seasons are set, for better or for worse. Today, I am going to drill down on what Iíll call ďTonyís Top 10 PicksĒ to find quality saltwater salmon fishing this summer and fall, beginning with today.

1. The entire Washington coast opened Sunday, June 1st, for a ďchinook onlyĒ fishery with a quota of 5,300 fish. At this writing, reports from the commercial troll fishery during the entire month of May were unusually poor. Does that translate to a poor ocean sport fishery for the month of June especially if the west side of Vancouver Island commercial fisheries were also poor during May? I suggest it is too early too call, but my level of optimism is not high. Looking further north, at the southeast Alaska fisheries in May, reports suggest environmental conditions looked more like April with very cold water and an absence of baitfish. However, fishing reports have been much more promising during the last 10 days. My counsel is to dig for some intel before you go charging down to the coast and by all means, pay attention to the weather as the June ocean off the Washington coast can be unfriendly.

2. Pick number two, linked to my comments above, is the general ocean opener (June 29th at Westport and Ilwaco and July 1st at La Push and Neah Bay). Chinook fishing traditionally rocks in early-mid July at Westport with respectable catches at Neah Bay too. The coastal coho quota for hatchery (fin clipped) coho is very low and expect the season to be very short. For example, planning to fish the coast in late July may, I said may, be too late.

3. My third pick is Sekiu in the western part of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Sekiu is recognized as a premier small boat fishery, protected from ocean conditions, and can offer good chinook salmon fishing throughout the month of July. For the first time, the Sekiu area, and the entire catch area 5 region is driven by a season and not a quota. Good news for salmon anglers who frequent this area as planning a trip can be confirmed within the July 1 to August 9 season. I like the third week of July up to and through the last day of the chinook season on August 9th. Forecasted numbers of Puget Sound hatchery chinook salmon is good and anglers are required to release unmarked fish.

4. Pick number four is the new hatchery-only chinook fishery in Areas 9 and 10 (Port Townsend south to the north end of Vashon Island). In the first year of this new selective fishery, fishing pressure was high and the catch was outstanding. It opens July 16th for a month, or until a combined quota of 7,000 hatchery fin-clipped chinook salmon are caught. Be there, be square. This fishery, close to home for many Puget Sound anglers, will be money. Remember, zillions of dogfish is the norm for northern Puget Sound during the timing of this fishery, therefore, speed, hardware and downriggers will rule.

5. My fifth pick is the San Juan Islands for hatchery or wild chinook salmon starting July 1st. Quietly, very quietly, this fishery has been very good the last few years and what an awful environment to spend fishing time. Sign me up, baby. I donít even have to wear my Richard Nixon mask when I fish the Islands as fishing pressure is very light. Big numbers of hatchery chinook are forecasted for the Samish Hatchery which means the northern sector of the Islands (Pt. Thompson, Pt. Lawrence, Pt. Doughty, Eagle Bluff and Spring Pass) are great bets, especially if complimented with baitfish.

6. Pick number six is the Elliott Bay chinook salmon fishery at the door mat of downtown Seattle. This fishery opens under the fireworks of Seattle on July 4th through August 25th on a Friday through Monday schedule. The majority of these fish are bound for the Green/Duwamish River system and are very finicky. In other words, an hour at daylight, and an hour at dusk is the strategy. Itís easy to find the fish with any kind of quality depth/fish finder. Put it in their face and wait for the bite. Never leave fish to find fish.

7. My seventh pick is the Buoy-10 fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River upstream to the Megler-Astoria Bridge. I feel shaky about this recommendation since the ocean fisheries, underway now are very weak. The ocean fisheries along the Washington coast are a dependable barometer connected to the Columbia River fisheries in August. Take it to the bank. Regardless, the end of the third week, and the beginning of the fourth week of August are statistically the best time to do business on kings.

8. Pick number eight is the Willapa Bay king salmon fishery. Bombs away from the third week of August through mid-September and the forecast is good again this year.

9. My ninth pick is the coho salmon surface fly fishery in mid to late August at Neah Bay, east of Tatoosh Island. This fishery is a blast and itís on my fishing agenda for 2008. Iíll write about the when and whereís to fly fish for coho salmon in my August column.

10. Finally, you canít miss Sekiu in mid-September. Bone crushing, big, ocean coho charge down the Strait of Juan de Fuca peaking in mid-September. It is a blast and worthy of making my top ten list. Iíll go in-depth on this fishery in my September writing. Itís time to go fishing, baby! Summer is here and Iíll see you on the saltwater!
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Captain Walker
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2008 8:10 am    Post subject: September Salmon already! Reply with quote

There is not much left of this years Salmon Season - and the Labor Day weekend is upon us!

The Willapa Bay king salmon fishery through mid-September and the forecast is good again this year.

Finally, you canít miss Sekiu in mid-September. Bone crushing, big, ocean coho charge down the Strait of Juan de Fuca peaking in mid-September.

Hope your summer Salmon Season was filled with fish!
Captain David Walker

Moderator, Boaters Line Moderator
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