Winter and Summer Run Steelhead, and Dolly Varden
From Concrete upstream to Diablo
Take Interstate 5 to Burlington and turn east on Highway 20. The highway follows the Skagit River upstream for more than 60 miles to the Diablo Dam.
Boat ramps are located near Van Horn, Rockport, and Marblemount. Rockport State Park has about 50 RV sites and 10 tent sites, plus restrooms and showers. There are also two private RV parks/resorts near Rockport. The Totem Trail Motel is also in Rockport. Rockport country store has groceries, tackle, gas, and fishing infpormation.
Fishing the upper Skagit River:
It’s still possible to catch steelhead from the upper Skagit, but you will have to work a lot harder at it than in the good old days. Back in the day some Skagit river guides ran two trips a day, limiting on both. Catching a two fish limit here is no guaranntee, and even catching one fish can be work, whether your fishing in the summer or winter. The best months for winter runs are in January, Febraury, and March, and there’s a fair possibility of finding summer-run steelhead if you fish from June to August.
Casting fresh shrimp, back-trolling plugs, or pitching weighted spinners into the deeper green pools and drifts of the upper Skagit may also draw strikes from the river’s big Dolly Varden, some which exceed the 20 inch minimum.
Winter and Summer-Run Steelhead, Dolly Varden, Sea-Run Cutthroat, Chinook, Coho, Chum, and Pink Salmon
From Skagit Bay northeast to Cocrete
Take Interstate 5 to exit 221 and drive west through Conway on First Island Road. Turn (right) north on Dike Road or Mann Road to fish the North Fork of the Skagit. Exit Interstate 5 at Mount Vernon and drive west on Penn Road of Highway 536 to reach the main stem Skagit from the forks upstream to the Interstate 5 bridge. To reach the river upstream to the Interstate 5, drive east on Highway 20 from Burlington and turn (right) south onto many various roads in and around the Sedro Wooley, Lymann, Hamilton, Birdsview, and the town of Concrete.
Many boat ramps are located along this stretch of river, including those in Conway, off Moore Road, Edgewater Park, Burlington, Sedro Wooley, Lymann Road Hamilton, and Birdsview. Riverbend RV Park near Mt. Vernon, Riverfront RV Park at Sedro Wooley, Lymann Road, and Birdsview. Riverbend RV Park near Mt. Vernon, Riverfront RV Park at Sedro Wooley, and Creekside Camping near Concrete all have tent and RV sites. Mt. Vernon, Sedro Wooley, and Concrete all offer motel and bed and breakfast accommodations. Food, gas, and all other amenities are available in all these communities.
Fishing the Skagit River:
In 2009 after 16 years of closure, the Skagit River is once again open for chinook salmon fishing. Skagit River Salmon Fishing
Once the home to western Washington’s most glorious run of summer chinook salmon and the state’s top winter steelhead producer, the lower Skagit has been going down hill considerably until the past few years, will it rebound?. There has been so many various restrictions, be sure to read the rules and regulations on this river at all times. Many anglers in the last hand full of years have fished the pink’s and chum’s more consistently. Pink Salmon who only show up in odd-numbered years, but when they do move in they can provide fast action for about 5 weeks from the middle of August to late September, depending on the rain. In recent years the Skagit has seen record and near record run’s of Pink Salmon. Trolling or casting small wobbly spoons and diving plugs in anything PINK. Skagit river pink’s which usually run in the 3 to 5 pound range. Some anglers intercept the runs when they enter the lower river, and work their way up river with the fish. Chum salmon enter the Skagit in good numbers every year, providing some hot fishing action from about the middle of October through December. November is usually the best month for chums, and anything Green or Chartreuse will do they magic.
Despite hatchery plants totaling in the hundreds of thousand, anglers seldom catch as many as 3,000 winter steelhead. That’s not to impressive compared to the good old days of the sixties and seventy’s, when this big river sometimes gave up as many as 20,000 winter steelhead. The best days for the winter runs are in January, February, and March, and during that period a fair amount of the fish are caught by plunkers on the lower river, drift-anglers from Sedro Wooley upstream, and boat anglers throughout this entire stretch of the Skagit. If you want to learn how to fish this long, wide river, with lots of secrets, it would be a good idea to hire a guide, at least for the first day. Sea-Run Cutthroat fishing can be fairly good at times during September and October, especially downstream of Sedro Wooley and the lower Skagit remains one of the few places in Washington where it’s still legal to catch Dolly Varden or as your part of daily bag limit. Any Dolly Varden you keep must be at least 20″ in length. The largest Dolly Varden I have ever landed in the lower 48 was 7 pounds off a small tributary of the Skagit, it is also my favorite Cutthroat hole in the state of Washington.
Don’t miss the “Skagit River Salmon Festival”, the second Saturday in September!!!