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Salmon Fishing for Silvers & Kings in the Pacific Northw

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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:39 am    Post subject: Salmon Fishing for Silvers & Kings in the Pacific Northw Reply with quote

NW salmon fishing at it's best by Tony Floor- Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.

Welcome to "The Big Show"

If you're a frequent reader of this column, you know by now that I have been crowing about the huge coho salmon return this summer, bound for the Columbia River. Some estimates suggest around 1.3 million coho salmon.

Do you know what 1.3 million coho salmon looks like? That's enough coho salmon to cover the sky like a western Washington November day. Enough coho salmon to pull an Amtrak train backwards, and enough coho salmon to highlight all the good news this year in Washington salmon fishing scene.

Well partner, it's happening from the lower west coast of Vancouver Island to the early arrivals at the mouth of the Columbia River. Swarms of coho salmon, yanking down the tips of salmon rods right now off the Washington coast. Now, here's the scary news: it's only going to get better and better in the weeks ahead!

The Columbia River hosts two major stocks of coho salmon, an early timed stock and a late timed stock. Salmon management biologists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife predict that the early time stock enters the Columbia River, in peak numbers during the first week of September.

Salmon anglers who attempt to target these coho salmon, which are predominantly adipose fin-clipped, hatchery-produced fish bound for salmon hatcheries below Bonneville Dam, like to do business on large incoming tides. At the beginning of the flood tide, at the River's mouth, known as the Buoy 10 fishery, a significant rip tide is pushed by the incoming tide. That rip tide carries hundreds, if not thousands of coho in a year like this, every day from mid-August well through September. These coho are very aggressive, attacking and gobbling bait (herring and anchovies) like a teenager declaring that the diet is over. Make your bait spin fast as coho salmon are recognized suckers for shiny spinning baits. Some anglers, which I've seen for myself, use the heads of herring and their catches keep pace with other anglers fishing with a traditional plug-cut herring. I believe you can catch coho salmon on a plug cut hot dog if you can get the hot dog to spin!

The second stock of coho bound for the Columbia River is the late-timed stock which usually peaks during the first week of October. The sum of these two stocks should equal about 1.3 million fish if the prediction is correct. All indications at this writing suggest the train is on time.

For this writer, I like the end of the third week of August and the beginning of the fourth week. It's a great time to fish in the ocean, usually south of the mouth of the Columbia along the red buoy line out to the "CR" entrance buoy (most southwesterly buoy). During this part of the fishery, peak numbers of king salmon will be entering the River providing options to fish in the ocean for coho (catching an occasional king), or, move into the lower river between Buoy 10 and the Megler-Astoria Bridge. With the big coho return now paying dividends, toss in a half-million king salmon and the results are "The Big Show!"

In this amazing summer of salmon fishing in Washington, it is important to consider other salmon shows. Just up the coast from the Columbia River, Westport is in full bloom. I think the best is yet to come for Westport in the next few weeks. Just last weekend, I received several calls that king salmon fishing had exploded in the Westport region and the fish were large. Hate it when that happens.

In the meantime, the western Strait at Sekiu has had a nice season to date for hatchery produced king salmon as their big coho show is six weeks away in mid-September.

The San Juan Islands has been on fire since the opener on July 1, as local anglers have been wallowing in big hatchery produced king salmon, particularly around Obstruction Island, Eagle Bluff and the open areas in Rosario Strait (be sure to check the WDFW regulation pamphlet for local closures).

And finally for the icing on the cake, the Puget Sound selective chinook fishery from MidChannel Bank at Port Townsend south to Vashon Island continues to produce respectable catches of hatchery-produced chinook salmon. I fished the Jefferson Head area on Saturday, July 18, and three of us brought 5 chinook to the boat, up to 20 pounds. Iím talking about our backyard here, dude!

So, my counsel is to get outside and get your worm in the water. The Big Show is happening in Washington. It's prime time for kings and the coho show is building rapidly. Take a look out your window. That's me in the 24 Osprey catching a lot of bugs on my ivory as I'm smiling from here to the Columbia. Uh-oh, gotta go, "Customer!" See you on the water.
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Captain Walker
Site Admin

Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2009 7:35 am    Post subject: More of Tony's articles are here! Reply with quote

See Tony's latest articles here
Coho Action and Fish Politics by Tony Floor

Short Review of the Summer Salmon Season
Captain David Walker

Moderator, Boaters Line Moderator
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