Salmon on increase off Washington coast

Salmon on increase off Washington coast – While some salmon fishing spots are struggling, there are many other options where the fish are willing to bite.

Salmon fishing off the Washington coast picked up dramatically this week, mainly at Westport and Ilwaco.

“We had quite a few anglers limiting Monday through [Tuesday] with 75 to 80 percent of the catch beings kings,” said Mark Cedergreen, president of the Westport Charterboat Association. “The charters are finding them about 20 miles north of the harbor in 180 feet of water.”

“The ocean is smoking down at Ilwaco, and they started to pick up quite a few chinook,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It has been pretty much limit fishing for charters, and the private boats have been averaging 1.3 fish per person.”

The chinook catch at La Push has been slightly better than coho, but overall anglers were averaging half a fish per rod.

“At Neah Bay we saw a lot of pinks show up, but it is slow for chinook and coho,” Beeghly said. “The coho average was about half a fish per person, and some charters we’re heading out to Blue Dot and Umatilla for the chinook.”

Fishing from Westport to Neah Bay for bottomfish and lingcod will close beginning tomorrow in waters deeper than 180 feet to reduce catches of depressed numbers of canary rockfish.

In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the head-scratching continues for those seeking kings and coho, with the bulk of the catch being pinks from Sekiu to Port Angeles.

“[There are] quite a few pinks coming in, but still on the slow side for hatchery kings and coho,” said Gary Ryan, manager of Van Riper’s Resort at Sekiu.

Locally, the coho action in Central Puget Sound remains very good, while the pink fishery that opened Monday in North Sound is fair at best.

“The resident coho of Jefferson Head are doing very well, and they are getting bigger,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Everett. “Mornings are best, but the mid-day tide change is also pretty good.”

Keith Robbins, owner of A Spot Tail Salmon Guide in Seattle, reports a marked improvement for kings, and resident chinook and coho.

“I hooked three kings on my first three drops [yesterday],” Robbins said. “Central Sound from Point Monroe to Kingston has been consistent.”

Anglers targeting pinks off Possession Bar, the Shipwreck area, and from Meadowdale to Mukilteo were averaging about one to two pinks per boat since Monday.

Other places to target pinks and coho are Point No Point, West Whidbey Island, the Edmonds area, Port Gardner and the Everett area.

Primo and Paul Baccetti of Seattle were a few of the lucky anglers who had limits of kings averaging 16 to 21 pounds in Elliott on Monday.

“I know someone who fished Tulalip four times over the weekend and only got one king,” Krein said.

Top spots of the week

1. Tuna off Ilwaco and Westport: “We’ve seen a lot of tuna boats last week and they’re finding them about 36 to 40 miles out,” Beeghly said. “We saw catches of four to 15 per person on some private boats.”

Said Cedergreen: “We had a charter at Westport on a two-day trip with seven people and 80 albacore tuna, fishing about 60 miles out.”

2. Salmon in southcentral Puget Sound, Hood Canal and San Juan Islands: Fishing is starting to improve in Hood Canal, but the kings average 8 to 12 pounds, reports Tony Floor, director of fishing affairs for Northwest Marine Trade Association.

Fishing in the San Juan Islands is fair for kings and there are a few early pinks with the best bite occurring off west side of San Juan Island, Secret Harbor, Eagle Bluff and Blakely Island. The pink bite off Hoodsport in Hood Canal was spotty at midweek.

A more consistent area for kings is the Port Orchard area in Sinclair Inlet.

Other places like Tacoma area, south of Southworth Ferry landing, Dolphin Point, Three Tree Point and Redondo Beach are quiet for kings.

3. Trout, perch and bass in Lake Washington and Sammamish: “Getting a lot of perch and bass, but it won’t last because the hydroplanes will scatter the fish,” said Jerry Beppu, owner of Linc’s Tackle Shop in Seattle. “I’d try the north end at places like Sand Point. Lake Sammamish should be another good place.”

4. Steelhead in Drano Lake and White Salmon River: “Anglers at Drano Lake were doing pretty well with a fish per rod average last week, but not everyone was getting fish and it was those who were in the right spot doing most of the catching,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

5. Sturgeon and salmon in Lower Columbia River : “Sturgeon fishing was really decent in the estuary,” Hymer said.

Boat anglers had the best success for chinook and steelhead in the Gorge and Longview areas, but salmon fishing at Buoy 10 was very slow.

Other fishing spots

Western Washington rivers: “The steelhead bite on the Cowlitz has gotten better, and I know two guys who were averaging four to six fish per day,” said Bryan Nelson at Three Rivers Marine and Tackle in Woodinville.

Slow for steelhead in the Skykomish, North Fork Stillaguamish and Green.

Lewis River: Fair for steelhead.

Hoh River: Salmon fishing in the Hoh is closed this month due to a low return of chinook. Trout and steelhead fishing will remain open.

Puyallup River: Still a bit early for pinks and kings.

Skokomish River: Slow for kings.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

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