Fishing sizzles in July for salmon, steelhead, crab, trout, other gamefish.
Summer fishing seasons are now in full swing, requiring anglers to make some tough decisions about how to spend their time on the water. Salmon, steelhead, crab, trout, bass and walleye – all are now available for harvest in various waters around the state.
But for thousands of anglers, nothing beats the thrill of reeling in a big chinook salmon. Many are doing just that as waves of chinook move south along the Washington coast, then east into Puget Sound, coastal streams and the Columbia River.
“Fishing for both chinook salmon and hatchery coho should improve off the coast right through the month,” said Doug Milward, ocean salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “The same is true for Puget Sound and other inside waters.”
Six marine areas of Puget Sound open to salmon fishing July 1, joining other salmon fisheries already in progress. Various westside rivers, including the Bogacheil, Calawah and Nisqually, also open for salmon fishing that day, and Baker Lake in Whatcom County opens for sockeye salmon July 10.
Summer steelhead are another option – notably in Columbia River and many of its tributaries – where 339,200 adult fish are expected to move upriver in the coming weeks. As always, anglers are required to release any wild, unmarked steelhead they intercept in the fishery, which extends from the mouth of the Columbia to the Canadian Border.
Rather catch some crab? All but one marine area in Puget Sound will open for crab fishing July 1. The exception is Marine Area 7, where the crab fishery opens July 15 in the area’s southern portion (San Juan Islands/Bellingham) and Aug. 15 in the northern portion (Gulf of Georgia).
Crab fishing has been hot so far! Opening day we had 18 keepers in one pot out of Potlach state park on Hoods Canal. Also, on 7/4 two boats with five on one and 3 on the other amounted to 8 limits in 1 hour in the South Sound.
The crab fishery in all marine areas of Puget Sound will be open Thursday through Monday of each week. The season will get under way with a one-day opening (July 1), and will be closed July 2-3 before reopening on its regular weekly schedule Thursday, July 4.
Here are the numbers for the 2013 coastal salmon fishery as of July 4, 2013 updated.
June 22-23: 968 anglers caught 715 Chinook for 0.74 fish per rod, and 809 hatchery coho for 0.84 fish per rod and 1.57 total per rod average; and June 24-30: 2,364 anglers caught 683 Chinook (14.1 percent of Chinook quota of 9,900) for 0.29 fish per rod, and 2,607 hatchery coho (9.1 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 37,380) for 1.10 fish per rod and 1.39 total per rod average.
June 23: 694 anglers caught 215 Chinook for 0.31 fish per rod, and 173 hatchery coho for 0.25 fish per rod and 0.56 total per rod average; and June 24-30: 899 anglers caught 274 Chinook (2.1 percent of Chinook quota of 23,500) for 0.30 fish per rod, and 202 hatchery coho (1.4 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 27,660) for 0.22 fish per rod and 0.53 total per rod average.
June 29-30: 123 anglers caught 64 Chinook (3.9 percent of Chinook quota of 1,650) for 0.52 fish per rod, and 55 hatchery coho (2.9 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 1,890) for 0.45 fish per rod and 0.99 total per rod average.
June 29-30: 887 anglers caught 342 Chinook (7.0 percent of Chinook quota of 4,900) for 0.39 fish per rod, and 218 hatchery coho (2.8 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 7,780) for 0.25 fish per rod and 0.66 total per rod average.
COASTWIDE HATCHERY CHINOOK FISHERY
May 10-11: 629 anglers caught 72 hatchery chinook for 0.11 fish per rod average (0.9 percent of the total catch quota); May 17-18: 347 anglers caught 136 hatchery chinook for 0.18 fish per rod average (1.7 percent of the total catch quota); June 8-9: 762 anglers caught 208 chinook; June 10-16: 3,511 anglers caught 1,272 for 0.36 fish per rod average (20.2 percent of the total catch quota); June 17-23: 2,648 anglers caught 1,082 Chinook for 0.41 fish per rod average (33.7 percent of the total catch quota); June 24-28: 460 anglers caught 101 Chinook for 0.22 fish per rod average (35.0 percent of the total catch quota).
COASTWIDE ALL-SPECIES SALMON FISHERY
June 22-23: 1,662 anglers caught 929 Chinook (2.3 percent of Chinook quota of 40,000) for 0.56 fish per rod, and 982 hatchery coho (1.3 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 74,760) for 0.59 fish per rod and 1.15 total per rod average;
June 24-30: 4,273 anglers caught 1,363 Chinook (5.7 percent of Chinook quota of 40,000) for 0.32 fish per rod, and 3,082 hatchery coho (5.4 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 74,760) for 0.72 fish per rod and 1.05 total per rod average.
North of Falcon Rock to Tatoosh Island
- The PFMC yesterday approved a recreational chinook catch quota of 48,000 fish, slightly lower than last year’s quota of 51,500.
- The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, also adopted a quota of 74,760 coho for this year’s recreational ocean fishery, about 5,000 fish higher than last year’s quota.
- The recreational salmon fishing season in marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) will begin with two short openings for hatchery chinook, May 10-11 and May 17-18. The mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook in those two marine areas will then reopen June 22 and run seven days a week through June 28. Mark selective fisheries for hatchery chinook will be open seven days a week June 8-June 22 in Marine Area 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores) and June 8-June 21 in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco).
- In all areas, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, except anglers must release wild coho and wild chinook. The fisheries could close earlier if a coastwide quota of 8,000 hatchery chinook is reached.
- Recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho will continue June 22 in Marine Area 1, June 23 in Marine Area 2 and June 29 in marine areas 3 and 4. Anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon in marine areas 3 and 4. Those fishing marine areas 1 and 2 also will have a two-salmon daily limit, but can keep only one chinook per day.
- The fishery will be open daily in marine areas 1, 3 and 4, while Marine Area 2 will be open Sunday through Thursday. Anglers also will be allowed to retain two additional pink salmon in marine areas 3 and 4.
Saturday, June 8 – Saturday, June 22 (15 days)
• Chinook selective fishery (hatchery only)
• 7-days per week
• 2 fish bag limit (24” size limit)
• 8,000 Chinook quota coast-wide
Sunday, June 23 – September 30 or quota reached
• All species (Chinook, Coho(hatchery only), Pink)
• 5-days per week, Sunday through Thursday
• 2 fish bag limit (only 1 may be a Chinook)
Nearly 678,000 fall chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River this season. About 80 percent of those fish are “bright” stocks, most of which are destined for areas above Bonneville Dam, including the Hanford Reach and Snake River.
Brights are really the foundation of the recreational fishery, “and with the numbers we are expecting there is good reason to be optimistic about this season,”
Columbia River fisheries also are expected to benefit from a significant increase in coho numbers. The abundance of Columbia River coho is forecast to be about 501,000 fish. That would be better than the five-year average and total nearly three times as many fish as last year’s actual abundance.
A total of 114,675 angler trips were taken on the Lower Columbia last season, with 13,332 adult spring chinook kept (11,105 kept from April 1-22) and 2,409 released.
2012 Lower Columbia River numbers (caught by sport fishermen)
- 13,900 Chinook and 8,000 coho
- Chinook retention 8/1-9/3 (1 fish limit)
and 10/1-12/31 (2 fish limit)
- Coho retention 8/1-12/31 (2 fish limit)
- 63,400 angler trips
- 18,400 Chinook and 7,400 fin-clipped coho kept
Lower Columbia Fall Chinook:
- 8/1-9/9; 9/10-16 (MSF); 10/1-12/31 Tongue Pt.-
Warrior Rock, 8/1-12/31 Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam 2 fish limit (1 Chinook thru 9/9)
- 128,800 angler trips (2nd highest)
- 22,400 adult fall Chinook kept (3rd highest)
- 3,700 Chinook released
- 4,200 jacks kept
- 900 clipped coho
- 5,600 steelhead kept, (3,500 released)
2013 ADULT SALMON COUNTS BONNEVILLE DAM TO DATE:
(Catch all 14!)
ROCHE HARBOR SALMON CLASSIC, February 7-9
Phone: 360-378-5562 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: No
Winner: Jason King 16 lbs. 6 oz. $10,000
OLYMPIC PENINSULA SALMON DERBY, DISCOVERY BAY, February 16-18
E-mail: email@example.com Kids Division: No
Winner: Jerry Thomas Mount Vernon 15.90 lbs. $10,000
EVERETT BLACKMOUTH DERBY, BAYSIDE MARINE, March 16
Phone: 425-501-4024 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: No
BELLINGHAM SALMON DERBY, July 12-14
Phone: 360-966-2621 E-mail: email@example.com Kids Division: Yes
HARBOR MARINE SALMON TOURNAMENT, EVERETT July 27-28
Phone: 425-259-3285 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: No
SOUTH KING COUNTY PSA SALMON DERBY, PT DEFIANCE, August 3
Phone: 206-387-9293 E-mail: email@example.com Kids Division: Yes
GIG HARBOR PSA SALMON DERBY, August 10
Phone: 253-297-2121 E-mail:firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: No
SOUTH SOUND SALMON DERBY, OLYMPIA, August 17
Phone: 360-250-9808 E-mail: email@example.com Kids Division: Yes
VASHON ISLAND PINK SALMON DERBY, August 24
Phone: 206-408-7188 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: Yes
WILLAPA BAY SALMON DERBY, TOKELAND, August 31
E-mail: email@example.com Kids Division: No
COLUMBIA RIVER FALL SALMON DERBY, VANCOUVER, Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Phone: 360-256-3935 E-mail RGI@q.com Kids Division: Yes
EDMONDS COHO DERBY, September 7
Phone: 206-920-2468 E-mail :firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: Yes
*EVERETT COHO DERBY, September 21-22
Phone: 425-923-8405 E-mail: email@example.com Kids Division: Yes
BAYSIDE MARINE SALMON DERBY, EVERETT, November 2-3
Phone: 425-252-3088 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Kids Division: No
RESURRECTION SALMON DERBY, FRIDAY HARBOR, December 6-7
Phone: 360-317-4161 E-mail:email@example.com Kids Division: No
* Drawing for Grand Prize Derby Series Boat will be held at Everett Coho Derby, September 22rd. Anglers participating in derby events after September 22 will be entered to win the 2014 Series grand prize.
How to Win the Boat
In order to win the 2013 grand prize boat, anglers can fill out a Northwest Salmon Derby Series raffle ticket at any of the 13 derbies (prior to Sept. 22). Every angler’s name, address, telephone number and e-mail will be entered, free, into the drawing during the derbies. One ticket will be issued per angler per derby. For example, if an angler entered all 13 derbies, their name would be entered 13 times, whether they caught a fish or not during any derby. Remember, in order to win the boat, purchase of a derby ticket from the host derby is not required. One entry per person, per derby
Winter and Summer Run Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, Chum, and Pink Salmon, Sea Run Cutthroat, Dolly Varden, Sturgeon, Mountain Whitefish, and Rainbow Trout.
Enters the Puget Sound at the Port of Everett
Take Interstate 405 to Highway 522 at Woodinville and turn east. Drive 12 miles to the bridge that crosses the Snohomish just before the confluence of the Snoqualmie and the Skykomish Rivers. Turn left (north) on Elliot Road and drive two miles to the first of several roads leading to the east (right) toward the river at various points. An alternative is to take Interstate 5 to Everett and drive east on U.S.2 to Snohomish, where two highway bridges cross the river and turn west (right) onto River Road to fish the south side of the river between Snohomish and Everett.
Boat ramps are located on the river in Everett, Snohomish, and off of 115th Avenue S.E., about midway between Snohomish and the Highway 522 bridge. Food, gas, lodging, and tackle are readily available in Everett and Snohomish. Try John’s Sporting Goods in Everett for some insider information with John Martinis.
Rules and Regulations:
See the WDFG rules and regulations pamphlet for further updated details.
The Snohomish River is a river in the U.S. state of Washington, formed by the confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers near Monroe. It flows northwest entering Port Gardner Bay, part of Puget Sound, between Everett and Marysville. The Pilchuck River is its main tributary and joins the river at Snohomish. The river system drains the west side of the Cascade Mountains from Snoqualmie Pass to north of Stevens Pass.
Fishing the Snohomish River:
This river system provides excellent angling opportunities for summer and winter steelhead, resident and sea-run cutthroat trout, resident rainbow trout, Dolly Varden and whitefish. Sturgeon are found in the lower reaches, and many salmon fishing opportunities. Two of Western Washington’s better steelhead and salmon rivers, the Skykomish and the Snoqualmie, join to form this big, slow moving river known as the Snohomish. Since all the sea-run fish bound for the Sky and the Snoqualmie have to pass through the Snohomish, it stands the reason that it can be a productive fishing spot.
The reason it isn’t an even better producer is that it’s so slow, and deep it’s difficult to read. There are not many distinguishable holding spots for salmon and steelhead, so many anglers come here, scratch their head and ask themselves “where do I start casting?”. The river’s size and the nature of the shoreline give boaters a better advantage in the lower portion of the river, and it’s those boater anglers who score the best catches from the Snohomish throughout the year.
The coho run is the backbone for the fall salmon fishery here, with the pinks in the odd years. October is the prime month to fish the river for action. Backtrolling various diving plugs or casting flashy spoons and spinners are the techniques that take them the best. Chartrues for the coho and pink for the pinks. Catchable number of coho’s continue to pass throughout the Snohomish in November, and some large chums are also available by then to add to the intrigue od the morning bite. The pink’s enter the river in September and are present in great numbers. September through to November can offer some great cutthroat and Dolly Varden fishing opportunities.
As for steelhead, the Snohomish shines brightest as a winter steelhead stream, often ranking among the state’s top 10 producing winter steelhead streams. Catches of 2,000 or more winter-runs per season are fairly common on the Snohomish River. December and January,, when large numbers of hatchery fish pass through on their way upstreamto the hatchery facilities at Tokul Creek and Reiter Ponds, are the top months to fish the Snohomish. Back trolling plugs or diver bait combinations account for a good number of winter steelhead, as does plunking with fresh roe clusters, various winged bobbers, or a combination of the two. Summer steelheading is also a good possibility here, but the numbers don’t compare to the winter steelhead catch. The best months being June and July.
Monster Chum Salmon on the Snohomish River:
Winter and Summer Run Steelhead, Chinook, Coho, Chum, and Pink Salmon, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout, Mountain Whitefish.
Enters Commencement Bay in Tacoma.
Take the Puyallup exit off of Interstate 5 near the north end of Tacoma to reach the Lower Puyallup, which is paralleled by River Road on the south side of the river and the North Levee Road on the north side of the river. To reach the upper portions of the river take Pioneer Avenue east out of Puyallup to Highway 162 (the Summer/Orting Highway). Side roads to the east off Highway 162 provide river access at Alderton, McMillan, and other places along the way towards Orting. McCutcheon Road runs along the east side of the river from Summner to McMillan.
The towns of Puyallup and Sumner have every thing that you need.
Rules and Regulations:
See your WDFG rules and regulations pamphlet for details.
Fishing the Puyallup River:
Some of the best fishing on the Puyallup river is found from Sumner upstream to the mouth of the Carbon River, a few miles north of Orting. This is true for both salmon and steelhead. Many anglers float this stretch of the river, but McCutcheon Road provides plenty of access at more than a half dozen points.
Chinook start showing up in the Puyallup in August, and by mis-September the salmon fishery is going in full speed. Every other year the Pinks show up in masses. The hottest fishing action in the river is in October, when coho fill the river, most of them bound for the state salmon hatchery at Voight Creek, a Carbon River tributary near Orting. Boat anglers scor good cohocatches back-trolling Hot Shots, Wiggle Warts, and other plugs, while bank anglers do well with Blu Fox, Matric, and Flash and Go spinners.
A few steelhead trickle into the upper reaches of the Puyallup above the mouth of the Crabon, but you’re better off concentrating your efforts from McMillan downstream. If you’re a drift-angler, you’ll find plenty of good water between Sumner and McMillan, with no really area better than the others. If plunking is in your bag, stay downstream of Puyallup. Plunkers can do well on the North Levee Road, where there’s plenty of bank access and a good chance of catching fish right after a period of high water. Beware! this is a COMBAT fishery when the fish runs are at full strength.
Chum fishing in December on the Puyallup:
Coho and Chinook Salmon, Small and Largemouth Bass, Perch, Brown Bullhead Catfish,Crappie, Brown Trout, Cutthroat Trout, and Rainbow Trout.
East of Mossyrock
Take U.S.12 east from Interstate 5 about 23 miles to Mossyrock, turn right (south) into town and go left (east) on Aujune Road, which leads to Tacoma Public Utilities’ Mossyrock Park Campground and boat ramp near the dam. To reach the upper lake, continue on U.S.12 about 5 miles past Morton and turn right (south) on Kosmos Road. Stay right to reach the steep boat ramp at the northeast corner of the lake or turn left and drive about 4 miles to the entrance of the Tacoma Public Utilities Park near where the Cowlitz River enters the lake.
Mossyrock park at the lower end of the lake has RV hookups, tent sites, boat ramps, and restrooms with showers, as does Taidnapan Park at the upper end. There’s also a boat ramp at the northeast end of the lake, about two miles off U.S.12 via Glenoma Road Groceries, restaurant, gas, tackle, and lodging are available in Mossyrock and Morton.
Rules and Regulations:
The lake is open for fishing year around. Your trout (or landlocked salmon) limit here is 5 fish, & this lake, like all waters of the state have a restriction whereby if you use bait, any that you catch will be counted toward your limit regardless if your keep or release them. However if you are using lures, with no scent, you can cull or release them all day. For this lake, WDFW has designated it as a 2 pole lake if you purchase that endorsement.
Fishing Riffe Lake:
The coho fishing is the main attraction at Riffe Lake, and it draws both boat and bank anglers from all over western Washington. In the spring and early summer, coho are near the surface, where they can be caught by trollers using strings of trolling blades and worms, white coen, cocktail shrimp or a combination of both. Bank anglers them by suspending the same baits three or four feet below a bobber. As the summer progresses and the thermocline establishes itself in this big, deep reservoir , the coho go deep, where both boat and bank anglers typically fish them 100 feet down with slip-bobber rigs. Most of the action takes place at the west end of the lake, within site of the dam. As for size, two year old comprise most of the catch in the spring and early summer, and they average 12 to 14 inches. The one year class begin to dominate the catch by July, and for the rest of the summer and fall, the average Riffe Lake Coho is eight to nine inches.
Another coho fishery that has really taken off is at the other end of the lake, where the Cowlitz River flows into the east end of the impoundment. This so called “108” bridge on the Champion Haul Road near Taidnapana Park has become a mecca for anglers who still-fish with all the bait mentioned above, while catching coho to 14 inches. Both spring and fall can be a productive fishery, but leave your landing net at home, the bridge is about 40 feet above the water.
A one time shortage of coho, the state planted steelhead in the lake which many anglers didn’t even notice the difference. Although rare, an occasional brown trout may grab one of the offerings meant for the coho here. If you want to target specifically on these trophy fish, some to ten pounds or more, forget the worms and go deep, trolling a Rapala or other large bait fish intimating plug or wobbling spoon.
Smallmouth bass are much more abundant than largemouths in this chilly reservoir, but you might catch both if you fish the upper end during May and June. As the creek channels fill with water that time of year, they draw hungry bass like a magnet, and then fishing crankbaits or plastic can be very good. Another possibility for bass is Swofford Cove, on the north side, near the west end of the reservoir. Both large and small mouths tend to congregate in the shallow, warm bay in the spring and summer.
Riffe has a healthy population of brown bullhead catfish, and the best time and place to catch them is during the spring, in the shallow flats at the upper end of the lake. Most catfish anglers launch at the Kosmos boat ramp in the evening and fish the shallow water nearby with nightcrawlers. Although not large at an average of 10 to 12 inches, they’re abundant enough to provide plenty of fast action and good eating for a few hours of fishing.
Riffe Lake Perch and Smallmouth Bass
They say that 10% of the fishermen catch 90% of the fish. By some accounts it’s more like 26% of the License holders catch upwards of 92% of our fish. Do yourself a favor and take 20 minutes to watch this video. There is a lot of historical info on this new site:
The “Historical Bias” video documents how WDFW has historically awarded 83 percent of salmon available for harvest in the Chehalis Basin to commercial gill netters operating in the Bay and lower portion of the river. In the Willapa estuary, approximately 25 commercial gill net license holders were awarded nearly 91 percent of the available harvest for Chinook, Coho, and Chum.