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Jeff Head Chinook July 27

We worked hard all morning at Point No Point, worked our gear along the outside of the moochers right at the Point and westbound towards Skunk Bay, but didn’t really see much happening. We tagged a beautiful Wild Chinook and released it, but nothing for the fish box.

On the way back in we spotted a really fishy looking tide rip. There were birds diving on bait so it appeared to be a good spot to stop for a bit. Five minutes into the troll, we hooked a really hefty Chinook that bit a Cookies & Cream Spoon at 125′. What a way to wrap up the morning trip!

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Kingston & President Point Salmon Report July 17

We had a decent morning bite along the shoreline between the Kingston Ferry Dock and President Point this morning. The tide was outgoing until the 9am tide change, we trolled in 125′ of water with our gear spread out at 60′, 75′, 90′ and 110′.

We ended up with two nice Chinook and two Coho before the morning tide change, then moved up into the Kingston Bowl and lost our third Chinook. Fishing for most was a little challenging, but we were marking plenty of bait and fish, so we rode it out through the early afternoon. With a blue sky and plenty of summer sunshine illuminating the water column, we ran gear that was low profile and conducive to the conditions. We ran clear UV flashers (Jelly Crush and Moon Jelly), and behind for the lure we ran small Kingfisher Spoons or Ace Hi Flies or small while herring rigged to spin.

Fishing reports for the area weren’t that hot, so we felt very fortunate to get the salmon opportunities that we encountered.

We also ended up with a haul of Dungeness Crab to top off our day!

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Seattle Chinook Salmon Fishing

Puget Sound Chinook Fishing Report July 16

Today was the first day to catch and keep Chinook Salmon in Puget Sound, what an exciting day! We had a pretty thrilling day on the water, we moved around to a few of my favorite spots and found a little action. There was an incoming tide in the morning with the tide change happening right at 8am. We cruised up to the lighthouse at Point No Point and made the southbound troll to Pilot Point. My expectations were high for opening day, but I saw very little action among the boats in the area. We did hook up to a healthy Chinook. The rod started to shake violently in the holder, Mitch popped the line out of the downrigger release clip, handed it to a guest, but it shook the hook mid-fight. Hooked up on a Cookies & Cream 3.5″ Kingfisher Spoon behind a Jelly Crush Flasher. We didn’t give the area much time before heading over to Possession’s West Bar.

We started fishing south of the Scatchet Buoy, hooked another Chinook but just as the first one, it didn’t make it to the boat. Reports from a few friendly faces in nearby boats were dismal, so dismal that not only did I feel lucky to get a hookup there, but also gave me the inclination that if we stayed, we probably wouldn’t put too many fish into the net. So we made our final move.

After the tide change, we moved south to Kingston to finish up our day. There were quite a few boats working the area between the ferry route and Apple Cove Point, and we joined the fray to try our luck. We deployed our gear and instantly hooked a Chinook! With a little coaching, a patient angler on the rod, and a good net job, we had our first Chinook in the boat for the Puget Sound summer season! We altered our gear a little, and had a spread of four lines with flashers and whole-rigged herring, Kingfisher Spoons and Ace-Hi Flies. We found a flurry of activity for the next hour. The tide change to outgoing really made the fish in the Kingston area turn on, and we saw numerous salmon get caught on the troll and by those mooching. When it was all said and done we had hooked a total of five Chinook at Kingston and landed three. After dropping off the morning crew and returning to Kingston with our afternoon group, we picked up on the tail end of the bite and hooked another three, of those two went in the net, one was a Wild Chinook that was carefully released, the other was a Hatchery Chinook that was kept.

The final count for our boat during the Puget Sound Chinook opener was ten confirmed Chinook hooked & fought, four Hatchery Chinook kept, one Wild Chinook released… a stellar day for our crew!

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Seattle Salmon Fishing Report July 14

Although the large returns of ocean Chinook and Coho wait until mid-summer to return to the Puget Sound, there is a healthy number of resident Coho and Chinook swimming around Possession Bar, Kingston and Jeff Head. There are always a few mature Chinook that return from their open-ocean feeding frenzy a little early and will be caught and released. Puget Sound’s tidal flows push the herring up into the tide rips, and that is exactly where the salmon stack up to feed.

The first two week’s worth of fishing for Resident Coho has been a little challenging in the Central Puget Sound. Small tidal exchanges during the first week really made searching for a concentration of bait and salmon difficult. We focused on catching Coho for our guests, but did spend a little time scouting for Chinook, which we found with regularity around Jeff Head and Kingston (some large mature Chinook and plenty of smaller blackmouth). Most of the charters that fished the early weeks of July spent their time working the shipping lanes for shallow Coho. We fished the south side of Jeff Head most days, trolling with herring or lures behind chrome dodgers. Size 0 dodgers, 20”-22” 30 pound leader, trailed by 2”-3” Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoons, Ace Hi Needlefish Flies, Gold Star Mini Squid, or small firecracker herring rigged in an anchovy helmet. Most of the Coho that we came across were three to six pounds. It seemed to be an early morning bite for most, but we also picked up a few salmon later in the day as well. I received several really good reports from friends that were focusing on Catch & Release Chinook fishing, catching a few nice fish at Mid Channel, Posession Bar and Kingston. We came across a few nice Chinook at Kingston and Jeff Head, even though we spent very little time overall targeting them.

During our last few days of Coho fishing, the tidal exchange was great enough to really build some nice tide rips around the south side of Jeff Head. One morning I cruised up to find several charter boats working a line, so I scooted over to find a textbook rip, the tide rip that I had been searching for all week! All the grass and debris was pushed into a tight line in the flat water. On the outer edge was a wide stretch of choppy water clear of eelgrass. Small herring were jumping everywhere and the gulls were actively circling and diving. Like I said, textbook. We started our troll and quickly picked up a few fish. Two younger guys in a small Boston Whaler quickly limited on Coho; they were mooching herring tight to the rip. We worked the rip and were rewarded with six fish on and three fish to the boat. Fishing for a few days was consistently good, and we caught fish during every trip. Really enjoyed the early season, but I am looking forward to keeping a few Chinook once the Sound opens for retention on July 16. Best of luck out there everyone!

We are just wrapping up the first two weeks of our Seattle salmon fishing season, so I figured that it was high time for a quick fishing report. Marine Area 10 has been open for Coho Salmon fishing since the first of July, and even though our Chinook fishing season begins on July 16, we have been finding a few big ones to battle and release. The early season (July 1 thru 15) is an interesting time to fish the Puget Sound near Seattle, and it has its highlights and its challenges. Here is a quick shakedown.

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Westport Weekend Salmon Fishing June 27

Westport’s charter fleet is currently experiencing the salmon fishing that is as good as it gets. It seems that everyone, from the larger charter boats to the smaller express style boats to the weekend warriors are all out there enjoying some of the best offshore salmon fishing that anyone can remember. I was out there at it again, fishing aboard the charter boat Reel Ultra for the weekend, and we did well. We had some phenomenal fishing over the past few weeks, and it is just amazing just how consistently good the fishing has been.

It seems that day to day, there are a few hot spots where the salmon fishing is really good, but even for those that don’t have the inside scoop, and take a random guess at where to fish, those guys are still finding some pretty decent fishing opportunities. We had been targeting Chinook and Coho along the 250’ to 300’ line due west of the mouth of Willapa Bay. It had been a strong producer since mid-June, but shifted to the North a bit. This weekend we fished along the 250’ line due west of the Quinault Beach Casino, and found quite a few nice Chinook, quite a few nice hatchery Coho, and a bunch of Wild Coho and undersized Chinook that were released.

Chinook and Coho salmon are on the bite at Westport, to do whatever you can to plan your next fishing trip before the end of the season!

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Westport Salmon & Lingcod Bonanza June 8

We spent another day fishing off the Washington Coast, searching for salmon and finding a few and exploring the remote inshore reefs near Point Grenville near Tahola, it was a great day.

Our crew was a pretty lively group, they were a fun bunch that were a pleasure to take out.

Our primary goal was to find a few Hatchery Chinook, which have been somewhat challenging to locate out here at Westport. Most of the reports from both the commercial trollers and the charter boats have been mediocre at best. The opener for the early mark-selective Chinook fishery was pretty good, and a few boats did well, but since then it has been a little bleak. Everyone has been fishing close to the beach, either the South Beach between the jetty and Grayland, or the North Beach from the jetty to the Quinault Beach Casino. We headed north, hopeful that we could find a few feeding salmon.

Trolling in the morning was a little slow. Scratch that – it sucked. Regardless of the lack of action, the crew was in good spirits and had a blast. Chris whipped out his phone and we blasted ACDC from his Pandora app, we joked around, told stories, and just flat out enjoyed ourselves. They we got bit! We battled a healthy Chinook to the net, checked for an adipose, found one, and released it. It was unfortunate that we didn’t get to keep it, but it was nice to see the beautiful specimen. After a full morning of trolling around, we headed north to explore some of the finest inshore bottomfish structure around.

Fishing around the rockpiles near Point Grenville was fantastic. Winds and currents were light near the shore, so we drifted around the structure just as planned. Occasionally, the winds will push the boat faster that is preferred and fishing can be tough; you just move too fast to fish well, but not today. Today was good.

We loaded up on Black Sea Bass, which are a real thrill to catch. These feisty three to four pound fish jump at the chance to scarf down small swimbaits or shrimp flies. We typically rig up a double hook rig with either a lower swimbait-upper shrimp fly or a double shrimp fly set up, both seem to catch plenty. While I always think that the Lingcod prefer larger baits, but many of the Lingcod that we catch out here mainly feed on smaller Anchovies… so catching a ten pound Ling on a shrimp fly isn’t out of the question. We kept five Lingcod, one of which was a real monster, probably in the twenty pound class. Chris caught that one and was really pleased with it.

Once we had a good number of Lingcod and our limits (sixty) of Black Sea Bass, we headed back to the South. On the way back, Captain Ian saw a number of birds feeding on top of what seemed like a large amount of bait, so we stopped. Seas were calm, and it was a perfect day to clean our catch of Rockfish and Lingcod, while working the Herring/Diver gear for a possible last-minute salmon bite.

Our last ditch effort to put a salmon in the boat paid off. Big Time. Just as I began to fillet our Rockfish, one of the rods buried from a salmon grab. Fish on! We cleared a nearby rod, left everything else fishing, and raced around each other trying to get the net ready, keep the lines cleared, and keep the fish on. Scoop. Hatchery fish. Yes!

Within the hour, we had one hook-up after the next. We landed our first hatchery fish right off the bat, then the second, then the third, and finally once we had all the rods fishing, on to the fourth! Chris grabbed the rod and the chaos that ensued was most accurately described as a fire drill. Once again, we were dealing with a tough fighting Chinook, and once I scooped it up with the net, there was a sigh of relief that we got it, then once we saw that we could keep it (hatchery fish), we were stoked!

As soon as I lifted the salmon into the boat, Ian gave everyone notice to reel up. Then we heard Al from the stern yell, “NO WAY!” I looked over and his rod was doubled over… Fish on again! I didn’t even have time to clear our last fish from the net, and we were dealing with a thrashing Chinook about ten feet behind the boat. We scrambled, Al fought the good fight, and in the net went our fifth hatchery Chinook of the day! We were on cloud nine!

Both the captain and I had a good feeling about fishing the afternoon for a bit, but neither of us truly expected such a drastic change in fishing action from the morning. It was awesome. We stayed out longer than normal but it was well worth it. With five salmon in the box to show for our efforts, we decided to call it a good day.

We headed back to port with a fish hold full of sixty Black Rockfish, five Lingcod and five Hatchery Chinook Salmon. It was epic fishing, calm seas and clear skies, and a fun crew, all of which I hope to fish with again. Good job guys!

Westport Salmon & Sea Bass

Today was my first day fishing for salmon in Westport. I hopped aboard the charter boat Reel Elite for the day. Salmon fishing in Westport is usually a July and August endeavor, but we have the opportunity of fishing earlier in the season for Hatchery Chinook Salmon. With record returns destined for the Columbia River, everyone is excited about the prospects of great fishing this summer. We are excited too. The first couple days of the early season have been somewhat hit and miss, no one in the Westport harbor will argue that one. We still had our hopes up for a decent day.

Our primary mission was to find a few salmon, and that we did. Our boat is set up to fish six rods, two on the bow, two at the rear of the cabin, and two at the stern. Our rods are all rigged with Delta Divers and a chocked herring. My fishing partner showed me a really slick way to rig whole herring so that they spin, and it seems to be just what the fish want. We released a small Wild Chinook right of the get-go, it was a nice reminder of what those King Salmon actually look like.

While the crew was excited just to hook one , it was the second fish, a Hatchery Chinook, that really got everyone going. Although the first couple moments of action were a good omen, we didn’t really see much activity for the next few hours. With slow fishing for a while, we decided to get everyone into some Rockfish. Captain Ian zipped up to one of his nearby rockpiles and we cruised around for a few minutes, finally locating a small school of Rockfish. I got everyone ready to set their gear at a moments notice, Ian positioned the boat perfectly, and we gave the command, “Drop em down!”

We hit our target, we dropped our gear right into the center of the school. It was unbelieveable fishing for a few moments. I absolutely love being part of the chaos that ensues during a really good Rockfish bite. When you find them in a dense school, it almost seems that as the Rockfish dart to attack the lures, it triggers competitiveness in the others, creating a frenzy of feeding activity below and a frenzy on the boat deck above. Once that small school of fish offered us what it could, we searched around and found a few other rocky areas to fish and rounded out our limit of sixty Black Rockfish. We did only have one Chinook Salmon to show for our efforts so far, but having a fish box full of Rockfish really made everyone feel good about our day’s accomplishments.

On the way back to port, we spotted an area along the forty foot contour line that held a fair amount of bait, so we set the salmon trolling gear and fished while I filleted our Rockfish catch. It is more challenging to fillet fish on a moving boat, but the extra effort yielded us a beautiful Chinook for our guest Del. I saw the rod next to the cabin pulse with force as line tore from the reel, the clicker was zinging! I literally pushed Del, who was in front of me in the cabin, out the door and toward the rod. He grabbed it and the battle was on. Within a few moments we were clearing the other lines, trying to avoid any tangles, and struggling to get the net out, which was already stowed on the top of the cabin. I scooped Del’s fish and we rejoiced when we saw that we could keep it. Del’s fish was a great way to cap of a great day of fishing!

Westport Salmon Opener Report May 31

Many saltwater anglers across Washington State have been eagerly awaiting the kickoff to the salmon fishing season, opening day in Westport. Salmon fishing reports from the north coast have been stellar, the commercial trollers based in Grays Harbor have been experiencing good fishing, and now it is our turn. With near-record setting salmon returns to the Columbia River, Westport anglers are given a phenomenal opportunity to get in additional fishing time. This May 31 opener is early than usual, and it allows us an extra 2 week fishing season for hatchery Chinook only. After June 14, both hatchery and wild Chinook can be kept.

Unfortunately, while my excitement for fishing the opener had been bubbling over, last minute car troubles caused me to cancel my plans to head west. I was scheduled to fish with Captain Ian Winder today, lead captain for All Rivers & Saltwater Charters’ Westport operations during this time of year. I chatted with him this afternoon about their great day on the water.

They headed out in the charter boat Reel Elite over a bumpy Grays Harbor Bar. An early meet-up with guests allowed them to get a head start and miss the maximum ebb (roughest bar crossing conditions) which was at 6:50am. Once out past the jaws, a steady 6 foot swell spaced at 9 seconds kept clients on their toes, but with no chop on top of the swells, it was comfortable conditions to fish in. Ian decided to head south and fish the beach just beyond the South Jetty at Westport.

There was plenty of boat traffic heading out of the Westport Harbor, yet much of the fleet spread out; many boats headed north to fish in front of Ocean Shores and the Casino, many headed south to fish the beach off Westport Light State Park. Ian concentrated on the beach just south of the jetty, fishing at most three miles to the south. He stuck pretty much on the 40 foot line, about a mile from the breakers.

While there wasn’t much bird activity, not much bait being marked on the sonar, there were definitely fish concentrated in that area.

Reel Elite fished six herring/diver rods: two 10’6 off the stern, two 10’6 at the back of the wheelhouse, two 12’4 up on the bow. Ian has a deadly rigging set-up for whole herring, I’ve seen it in action in Alaska, and apparently those Westport Chinook don’t mind it either.

While I was really bummed that I missed the opener, Ian called me and gave me all the gritty details… and told me to share a report. He’s a young dude, but an old hat at this fishing stuff. Being somewhat new to the Westport salmon world, he told me that when he rigged up his delta diver rods for the first time, he said…

“I thought to myself… these things look so stupid. But they do exactly what they should do, and were easy to fish with. It seems a little crazy that you can set them at 10 pulls, where they are at most 10 feet under the boat, and even though you can see your diver, you will get bit!” Most of the action came from the shallowest set rods. “You would see the rod get slammed, look over the side of the boat and there would be a salmon thrashing around just under the boat!”

They saw that happen time after time on the opener. They worked hard, but based on radio chatter, felt like they had a relatively successful day. It sounded like there were plenty of folks searching around and trying to figure it out. Some boats did very well, others struggled for a fish or two. Some of the boats that crossed the bar after the max ebb joined up with the South Beach fleet and caught a few fish. Overall, the Reel Elite crew battled ten salmon, landed six Chinook, kept four hatchery fish, and let go two wild ones.

“The ones we landed were all great fish, all in the mid-teens to high-teens. Our smallest was twelve pounds and our largest was about nineteen.”

I would consider that a great day and the report from the captain really has me eager to make a trip down to Westport asap!

New Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner Colors

I just got my hands on some of the new Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner colors today and boy do they look fishy! The original spinners are some of my favorite lures, I’ve caught Summer Steelhead, Winter Steelhead, Chinook, Pinks as well as plenty of Coho both at home and in Alaska. These new painted blade spinners look sweet, make sure you add a few to your summer arsenal.

These hot new colors are available in size 3, size 4, size 5 and size 6.

Giving Thanks for Early Winter Steelhead

It was another unforgettable Thanksgiving Day. The day was spent with friends and loved ones and was another reminder that we all have so much to be truly thankful for. Our traditional Thanksgiving morning fishing trip that was underway shortly after day break was followed by a great time with friends and a phenomenal meal with the family. For anglers looking forward to capitalize on an extended holiday weekend there are plenty of options, both close to home and in the remote reaches of our region. From late returning Coho to scrappy Chum Salmon to hatchery Winter Steelhead, there are plenty of places to go and plenty of fish to catch.

Most of our Western Washington rivers and streams will be effected by the weather system moving into the area on Saturday afternoon (November 30, 2014), but keeping an eye on weather conditions and water conditions will give everyone a clear idea of what their options are.

Remember, the smaller steams and rivers clear the fastest. After a large Northwest rainstorm, some of our smallest streams can drop into fishable shape well before our largest rivers even crest. Good luck out there everyone and Happy Thanksgiving!

Here are a few of my suggestions for anyone looking to go fishing the week after Thanksgiving.

Skykomish River (Coho, Chum, Early Steelhead)

Sky Country can be a great option for any Seattle area angler in late November to early December. While late Coho fishing has been decent, Chums have been a fun and scrappy incidental catch, excitement is building for a solid two months of Winter Steelhead fishing. River levels will move from low to high pretty quickly after our weekend rains hit, but anglers are already reporting Steelhead catches near the mouth of the Wallace River and upper Skykomish below Reiter Ponds Hatchery. Once we see the river levels rise, Steelhead will migrate quickly and offer great fishing options throughout the system. Best bets for bank anglers: Reiter Ponds, Reiter Highwayside, Cable Hole, Proctor Creek, Cracker Bar.

Skykomish River Fishing Spots

Snoqualmie River (Early Steelhead)

The banks of the Snoqualmie River have been a ghost town for the past several weeks. Aside from a few diehard bobberheads fishing the Big Eddy near Tokul and fly guys practicing their double hand casts off David Powell Road, most anglers are holding off until the bait (and barbed hooks) opener on Sunday December 1. Usually there are a few early Hatchery Steelhead caught on opening day, but this river really lights up after the first rains… which coincidentally are expected to hit on the eve of the opener. If the river is too high to fish, the seam at the mouth of Tokul Creek will be a busy place. Best bets: float fishing Big Eddy and with high water plunking at the Carnation Farms Bridge or Fall City Bridge. If the river rises above 6,000 c.f.s. there will be no good options though for a few days.

Snoqualmie River Fishing Spots

Green River (Chum, Early Steelhead)

For anyone living in King County or Pierce County, the Green River is an easy one to get to and has great bank access. The Green is currently loaded with Chum Salmon, has a few Coho still entering the system, and will offer a few lucky anglers the shot at some Winter Steelhead. Although it doesn’t receive the same gluttonous Steelhead smolt plants that other Puget Sound rivers receive, it is still cherished by many local Steelheaders. Bank Bets: Car Body Hole (Auburn Black Diamond Road & Hwy 18), Flaming Geyser State Park, Old Grady Park.

Bogachiel River (Early Steelhead)

Forks area rivers have all seen a few early returning Winter Steelhead, but the Bogey is the kingpin of early hatchery Steelhead catches. Expect quite a crowd at the Bogachiel near the hatchery, but for good reason: plenty of November/December hatchery Steelhead to catch! Float fishing with small jigs or live sand shrimp can be very effective.

Sooes River (Early Steelhead)

This tiny little tidal creek on the Makah Reservation near Neah Bay has a surprising number of returning Winter Steelhead. With slightly more smolts planted here than in the Bogachiel, this could be a great option if rains push our Forks area rivers to unfishable flows. Tribal fishing license is required.

Humptulips River (Late Coho & Early Steelhead)

A large push of late returning Hatchery Coho just hit the river last week, and with a deluge expected to hit the coast on Sunday, there should be a solid mix of Coho and Steelhead in the system once waters recede.

Satsop River (Late Coho & Chum)

The Satsop has been invaded by a huge glut of Chum Salmon, which are a great option for anyone looking to get out and play Catch & Release. Pulling K13, K14 or K15 Kwikfish in any deep runs is a sure way to wear out your fishing partners, but with a strong return of Late Coho and a few signs of Hatchery Steelhead starting to show, there are plenty of options is this Chehalis River tributary.

Puget Sound from Everett & Edmonds (Blackmouth)

Fishing for Resident Chinook has been pretty good in Puget Sound and while Marine Area 9’s November Season is drawing to a close, Marine Area 8-2 is open for fishing through April. Focus on the lowest 10 feet of the water column, as many of these resident feeder Kings are foraging on Sand Lance (Candlefish). Trolling at slow speeds with 11” Flashers paired with Coho Killer Spoons, 3.5” Kingfisher Spoons, or Needlefish Plastic Squid. For a few prime Blackmouth areas, troll around Sandy Point, South Gedney Island and Racetrack.

Twitching Jigs for Coho

Every fall, river bound anglers eagerly wait for the return of Coho Salmon. While some rivers have gained notoriety for runs of aggressive and easy to catch Coho, other rivers have gained fame for Coho that are difficult to catch. At any given time in any river system, Coho can turn off the bite, truly testing the angler’s patience and skill. When targeting salmon that aren’t overly aggressive but still willing to bite, twitching jigs can be a very worthwhile technique. Once the secret tactic employed by a handful of Olympic Peninsula fishing guides, twitching jigs is now a well known option that works well in many situations.

The rivers of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula are prime areas for twitching jigs. Coho Salmon that are found in rivers like the Hoh, Queets, Sol Duc, Humptulips and Chehalis tend to have ample holding water that is conducive to twitching. Areas where the current is mild, such as deep pools, back eddies, and areas around submerged wood tend to be prime jigging zones. But aside from the Olympic Peninsula, any river that aggressive Coho swim can be a place to try out this technique. Anglers throughout Alaska and British Columbia have been twitching jigs for many, many years.

Coho Salmon love holding in areas where there is cover, so any area where the current is moving slowly and has some depth too it can be prime.

Coho Salmon Holding Water…

  • Slow current
  • Deep water
  • Submerged logs & woody debris

So if you stumble upon an area that has all three, you’ve got perfect Coho holding water, thus a perfect place to twitch jigs. Once you’ve pinpointed an area where Coho are holding, the main two things that need to be considered are jig choice and jigging method.

Salmon Jig Choice

Consider your fishing situation. Are the Coho super aggressive? Are the Coho lockjawed? Is the water clear? How close to tidewater? Have the fish been in the river a while? How deep is the water? These are just a few of the questions that run through my mind while I’m considering jig choice. I might fish a large bright pink jig near tidewater if I think there are aggressive Coho nearby, but if I am upriver and Coho have been in the river a while, then I might downsize to a smaller profile jig that is a dark blue or purple.

Typically salmon jigs that are ¼ oz, 3/8 oz or ½ oz are preferred.

Salmon jigs can be tied with marabou feathers, rabbit fur, or just be a jighead pushed into the head of a plastic squid.

Color patterns vary from river to river. Coho might consistently respond to a bright pink, or maybe a dark purple, or maybe black; our job is to experiment until we find the correct jighead weight, profile and color.

Twitching Methods

Jigging is a very universal term in the fishing realm, lifting the rod tip to lift the jig, and then dropping the rod tip to allow the jig to fall. To trigger a strike from Coho, it is all about the lift & fall. The rising and falling motion of the jig creates a reactionary instinct that is triggered. Depending on the demeanor or the fish in the river at that time, they might want an aggressive retrieve or a more mild retrieve. I’ve seen quite a few methods for twitching jigs. Some anglers prefer a short-quick lift and fall method, while other anglers prefer a big-quick lift with a slow fall. Experiment unit you find the preferred method. Recognize that Coho will hold near the river bottom, or suspend near submerged wood. If there is wood in the river, then an accurate cast near the structure is very important. Coho will often hold so tight to the wood that drifting anything could mean an instant snag up. But pitching a jig and letting it fall can often lure Coho out of those tight spots.

Twitching Equipment

Rod: A medium power bass rod is perfect. Look for a rod that is 7’ to 8’ and fairly stout (you don’t want a flimsy rod that bends when you’re trying to lift the jig). A rod that has a line rating of 6-15lb or 8-17lb should be perfect for jigs in the 1/4oz to 1/2oz range.

Reel: A standard 2500 size or 3000 size reel will have enough line capacity for this technique.

Line: Braided lines offer strength paired with thin diameter. They also offer zero stretch, which is beneficial when jigging.

Twitching Jig Tips

  • When fishing near wood, lures often get snagged up. If a jig is retrieved but the hook is bent straight, only bend it back into fishable shape once or twice. Every time that a hook is bent, it loses its strength and is more likely to bend out when a fish is actually hooked.
  • Focus on areas where there is ample depth, slow current, and woody structure.
  • Experiment with jigging speed. Coho will sometimes best respond to an erratic speedy retrieve, and other times a slow lift/fall tactic is most productive.
  • Jig color is a key factor and the preferred color can change from day to day. Generally speaking, Pinks, Blacks, Purples and Blues are the best colors.
  • Choose braided lines over monofilament. The control over the jig is much greater with braid plus if a jig is snagged, there is a better chance that you can get it back.

Best Lures for Chum Salmon

Autumn brings us such a great variety of fishing opportunities, and one of my favorite activities is to fish for Chum Salmon on the rivers near my home. These brutish salmon have the aggression and strength to make a day of fishing both easy and exciting. Chum Salmon push up into our Washington and Oregon rivers in October, November and December every year and are so much fun to catch! Here are a few of my favorite Chum Salmon lures that I would recommend to anyone heading out this fall. I’ve also written a short piece about How To Catch Chum Salmon.

Bobber Fishing Lures for Chum Salmon

Aerojig Hackle Series

My jig box is loaded with these things! Aerojig Hackle series jigs are one of my go-to jigs for Steelhead fishing, but I’ve seen them work extremely well for Chum Salmon when the water is low and clear. When I find myself fishing on a day when the Chum seem to be less aggressive, I will downsize my jig to a smaller profile Aerojig Hackle Series.

Aerojig Marabou Series

Aerojig Marabou’s seem to have that larger profile that I like when fishing Chum in dirty water. Stick with the purples, pinks and chartreuses.

Best Lure Colors

  • Cerise
  • Dark Pink
  • Purple
  • Chartreuse

Float Fishing Tips

  • Floating braided mainline is easy to mend.
  • 30 pound to 50 pound braided mainline.
  • Chum Salmon are rarely line shy.
  • 24 inch, 15 pound to 25 pound mono leader.
  • 1/4 oz to 3/8 oz jigs.
  • Smaller profile jigs when the water is clear.
  • Bigger profile jigs when the water is dirty.
  • Tip the jig with a small chunk of cured prawn meat for added attraction.
  • Allow your jig to be at a depth so that it is within two feet of the bottom.
  • At the end of the fishing day, store jig box open so that the jigs dry and don’t get musty.

Yakima Maxi Jig

Maxi Jigs are one of my favorite store-bought jigs for Steelhead fishing, so naturally I always have a few in my jig box. They are available in a few really great Chum catching colors. They are a little more expensive than other jigs on the market, but they are tied on a super high quality Owner jig hook.

Beau Mac Jig

I really like Beau Mac Jigs because they are fairly inexpensive, you can find them anywhere, and I’ve personally caught quite a few fish on them. Chum Salmon cannot resist them!

Rabbit Jig

I prefer to tie my own jigs for salmon and steelhead, and a hand-tied Rabbit Fur Jig is a deadly lure for Chum Salmon fishing. Rabbit fur is extremely durable. So if you end up having an exceptional day of fishing, you will not have ruined many jigs.

Marabou Jig

Marabou Chum Jigs are a great option for catching Chum Salmon, a simple jig is easy to tie and inexpensive. Marabou is a finer material than Rabbit fur, but it offers better movement in the water. I honestly don’t have a preference while targeting Chum Salmon, and have caught plenty of fish on both.

Plugs for Chum Salmon

Kwikfish

Kwikfish are an absolute go-to lure choice when fishing from a boat. Whether anchored or back trolling, these diving plugs have the rattle and wiggle that Chum cannot resist. Add a sardine fillet wrap to the underside and you’ll knock em dead!

Low and clear water: K13 Kwikfish

Prime water conditions: K13 or K14 Kwikfish

High and dirty water: K15 Kwikfish

Maglips

Yakima Bait Company designed the Maglip Plug several years ago, since then this deep diving plug has been a popular choice for Chum fishing. Maglips are available in several sizes and countless colors that look like true Chum Salmon killers!

Low and clear water: Maglips 3.5

Prime water conditions: Maglips 4.5

High and dirty water: Maglips 5.5

Kwikfish Tips

Scents: Various scents can be used to make your plugs even more alluring. Soak your wraps prior to fishing. My favorites are Sardine, Anchovy, Shrimp/Krill.

Dyes & Cures: Coloring up your wraps with bait dyes or cures can add a little flair to your offering.

Storage: Keep all pre-wrapped plugs that are not currently in use in a container/cooler. Keeping Sardine wraps cool is extremely important… salmon don’t like stinky bait!

Drift Fishing Lures for Chum Salmon

Corky/Yarn

This classic Northwest drift combination will produce strikes in most Chum Salmon fishing scenarios. I will typically use a larger presentation for Chums, so a Size 10 or Size 8 Corky with a few tufts of yarn in various colors.

Corky Cluster/Yarn

The Corky Cluster is a new addition for Yakima Bait Company. This fishy looking drift bobber is composed of the same material and same finishes as the ever popular Corky but is shaped like a small salmon roe cluster. Very similar to Okie Drifters in shape, one of the most timeless steelhead lures ever made.

Drift Fishing Tips

  • 12 pound to 20 pound mainline
  • 18” to 30” 10 pound to 15 pound mono leader.
  • Use just enough lead to get your rig to the river bottom, but still drift with the current.
  • You want the sinker to “tap” the river bottom several times throughout the drift.
  • Apply Anchovy, Shrimk, Krill or Sardine scent to your yarn for added attraction.
  • Casting too far upstream will create a large belly in your mainline; try and cast straight out or only slightly upstream.

Spin Glo/Sand Shrimp

While a standard drift rig (corky/yarn, cheater/yarn, corky cluster/yarn) is usually all that is needed to tempt a Chum Salmon into striking, the flash of a Spin Glo and the smell of fresh Sand Shrimp will induce strikes from fish that aren’t as aggressive. Sand Shrimp are one of the top baits for Chum Salmon, so if you can find some for your next trip, pick up a couple dozen!

Cheater/Yarn

Beau Mac Cheaters come in a variety of great Chum fishing colors. Like the Corky/Yarn setup, I prefer a larger presentation.

Plunking Lures for Chum Salmon

Spin Glo/Sand Shrimp

Sand Shrimp are a very delicate bait; they are only stay fresh for a few days after they are dug. Travelling Chum cannot resist chomping down on a flashy Spin Glo/Sand Shrimp combo that has been plunked in the travelling lane.

Spin Glo/Prawn

Similar to Sand Shrimp, raw Prawns can make an excellent bait for plunking. Whether you decide to try cured or uncured Prawns, they are a proven bait for Chum Salmon. The great thing about using Prawns instead of Sand Shrimp is the fact that they are easy to find (every supermarket carries frozen 16-21 count shrimp), they keep in the freezer until you are ready to use them, and they are deadly effective!

Plunking Tips

  • Use enough weight to anchor your setup in one place.
  • Try to locate the area of the river where most fish are travelling, place your plunking gear there!
  • Check your setup every 15 to 20 minutes to rebait, check for leaves and tangles.
  • Tie your leader to a ball bearing swivel to limit the amount of line twist.
  • Sand Shrimp or Prawn works well as plunking bait.

Bait Options

Sardines

Chum Salmon love the flavor of a Sardine fillet. I usually only use Sardines to wrap Kwikfish or Maglips, but tipping a jig with a small chunk of Sardine isn’t a bad idea either.

Sand Shrimp

Traditionally one of the most sought after baits for Chum Salmon. Fresh Sand Shrimp can be difficult to find, and make sure that what you are purchasing is fresh. Sand Shrimp will be dug on day 1, packed on day 2, and sent to the tackle store on day 3. Once you purchase Sand Shrimp, they will last for another 3 or 4 days. When buying Sand Shrimp, I always open the container and look to see how alive they are (don’t shake the container, it will knock a day off their life!) and then smell the container to see if they have started to turn. Bring a cooler and ice pack to the tackle store with you to ensure they keep chilled and alive.

Prawns

Prawns are currently the go to bait for Chum Salmon. Purchase 1 pound of frozen Shrimp/Prawns from your local supermarket and you’ve got enough bait for all of Chum Salmon fishing season. Cured prawns work well for Steelhead too!

Kwikfish & Sardine Wraps

While talking about an effective lure for salmon fishing, the Kwikfish plug is in a category of its own. From small coastal streams to the salmon highway that is the Columbia River, Kwikfish have arguably caught more salmon over the past several decades than any other lure. While Kwikfish alone are a great lure, by wrapping the underbelly with a small Sardine fillet they become even more lethal. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to wrap Kwikfish.

Sardine Wrap

Step 1: Fillet Sardine

Step 2: Cut the Sardine Wrap

How to Wrap Kwikfish

Step 1: Secure Stretchy Thread

Step 2: Place Sardine Wrap on Kwikfish

Step 3: Secure Sardine Wrap

Step 4: Half-Hitch Thread

Kwikfish Tips

Scents: Various scents can be used to make your plugs even more alluring. Soak your wraps prior to fishing. My favorites are Sardine, Anchovy, Shrimp/Krill.

Dyes & Cures: Coloring up your wraps with bait dyes or cures can add a little flair to your offering.

Storage: Keep all pre-wrapped plugs that are not currently in use in a container/cooler. Keeping Sardine wraps cool is extremely important… salmon don’t like stinky bait!

True Running Plugs

Once a Sardine wrap is placed on a a plug, the plug will often need to be tuned. The newer Kwikfish Extreme have a fused eye that cannot/do not need to be tuned.

This Kwikfish was swimming to the right, turn the eye to the left (counter clockwise).

This Kwikfish was swimming to the left, turn the eye slightly to the right (clockwise).

Tuning Note: the plugs pictured above are severely un-tuned. Often there will be only a slight correction that needs to be made.

Tuning Plugs

Kwikfish are designed to dive straight down but they often need to be tuned. When the Kwikfish is placed in the current, it will either dive straight down and true (good!), dive left (bad!) or dive right (bad!).

When a plug does not run true, it will not dive as deep and can shift over and tangle with other lines. If the plug dives to the right or left, this can be corrected by turning the eye where the plug is snapped to the line with pliers. When tune a plug, remember that even the slightest adjustment can correct the problem.

Wrapped Kwikfish Tips & Facts

  • Always prepare a few wrapped Kwikfish prior to leaving the launch; wrapping plugs can be a very time consuming task so having a few ready to go will ensure that you will get right to fishing.
  • Use any downtime (trolling, waiting on anchor) to wrap a few extra plugs, always have a few replacements ready to go.
  • Sardines make the perfect plug wrap because they are extremely oily and they slowly leach out scent, but after a while a sardine wrap washes out and will lose its potency. Many seasoned Kwikfish enthusiasts will only fish a wrap for a while before replacing it. I’ve had some very good anglers say that 45 minutes is the maximum that a wrap is effective, some of the most experienced guides I fish with have told me as little as 20 minutes is all you get out of a wrap. Replace wrapped plugs often.
  • It doesn’t matter how the underside of a Kwikfish is painted if it is going to be covered with a drab Sardine fillet, but using bait dyes to color up sardine fillets is a great way to add extra color to your Kwikfish.
  • Keep all pre-cut Sardine wraps and pre-wrapped Kwikfish in a cool container.
  • Scrub & wash all plugs at the end of your day, clean plugs catch more fish.
catching-chum-salmon

How to Catch Chum Salmon in Rivers

Chum Salmon are some the meanest, largest, most aggressive and hardest fighting fish we have in our rivers. In many of our Alaska, Washington and Oregon river systems they offer a great fall fishing opportunity. Whether fishing on Alaska’s Nushagak, Canada’s Fraser, Washington’s Grays Harbor Rivers, Oregon’s Kilchis or anywhere else on the West Coast, preparing with the right tackle and tactics can lead to a great day of fishing!

Float & Jig Setup

Chum Salmon will return to the river of their birth well before they are ready to spawn. Often they can be found resting in areas of the river where there is at least a few feet of depth and a mild current; a slow edge near a steep bank or a current-break behind a rootwad will often hold Chum. Fishing with jigs suspended under a bobber/float is one of my favorite methods to catch Chum Salmon. If the correct color jig is presented at the proper depth it’s game on!

Chum rest just a few inches above the river bottom cobble so keep that in mind when setting the distance between your float and bobber; the jig should drift right at the salmon’s eye level or slightly above.

I prefer salmon jigs that are ¼ ounce to ½ ounce. Chum Salmon cannot resist a bright deep pink so anything marked as Hot Pink, Cerise or Fuchsia. I have also had some very productive days fishing Purple/Pink, Purple/Chartreuse or Chartreuse/Cerise salmon jigs.

Tipping with Cured Prawns

Fresh or frozen uncooked Prawns from your local grocer make for a great addition to the Float & Jig setup. Simply tip the jig’s hook with a small chunk of prawn. The added scent can often trigger strikes from moderately aggressive Chums.

alaskan-chum-salmon

Drift Fishing Setup

Drift fishing is a technique that is used to catch every type of sea-run species that swim in our Northwestern rivers. The concept is to use just enough weight to pull your lure to the river bottom, yet not secure it on bottom. We typically use a weight that is attached to a swivel and a short leader to our lure. The goal of float fishing is to have our jig drift downstream suspended above the bottom, but the when we are drift fishing we allow our sinker to tap and tick the gravel. Because we have contact with the bottom, our lure’s drift speed is slower than the current which can offer the fish a little more time to see, assess and react to our offering.

When drift fishing I use some sort of Drift Bobber (Corky, Corky Cluster, Cheater, Spin Glo, Ect.) along with yarn tied to the hook snell. The purpose of these buoyant Drift Bobbers is to suspend the hook/yarn off the bottom and add color to your offering. My favorite colors are Cerise, Fuchsia, Hot Pink, Purple and Chartreuse. The size of the Drift Bobber should match the size of the hook. For a smaller setup I will use a Size 1 hook with a Size 10 Drift Bobber, but a larger Size 2/0 hook will need a larger Size 8 Drift Bobber.

Plunking for Chum Salmon

Plunking is a time honored technique that has long been used in our larger rivers to catch Chinook and Steelhead. Plunking utilizes a heavy lead (usually pyramid shaped) to secure the offering in one place. Plunkers will typically search for an area of the river where they believe that salmon are migrating through. Plunking works well when the gear is placed in the travelling path. Unlike other methods such as Float Fishing or Drift Fishing, a plunker places his bet that his gear is stationed in the proper place: the section of a run that is the main migration path for salmon. He is letting the salmon travel to him so proper placement is crucial.

Fishing for Chum Salmon from a Boat

All of the bank fishing techniques described above will work very well from a jet sled or drift boat; when fishing from my drift boat or kayak, I almost always gravitate towards a Float & Jig to start off. But there are a few boat-only techniques that work very well.

Anchoring with Salmon Plugs

Anchoring with plugs such as Kwikfish, Maglips and Flatfish can be a very easy way to catch Chum Salmon. The first thing to realize is that anchoring with plugs shares many of the same concepts as plunking from shore. The travelling lane where salmon are migrating is the very best place to set anchor. Consider where that might be at your location. Consider where your plugs are most likely to attract attention.

Are you fishing a river that has low water due to a lack of rain? Maybe the head of a run where the water is deep and fast is the best place to find Chum that have travelled up and are now holding. Maybe a smaller profile Maglips Plug that runs deep is the best choice.

Are you fishing a river that has greater flows and lower clarity due to a rainstorm? Maybe the tailout of a large deep pool is the best place to intercept travelling Chum. Maybe a larger profile K15 Kwikfish that will show better in dirty water is the best choice.

Regardless of lure choice, I always prefer Sardine Wrapped Plugs. The added scent from an oily chunk of sardine can increase your success greatly.

Back Trolling Plugs

Back Trolling with plugs such as Kwikfish can be very effective. There will be many instances where you will find Chum spread out in a long straightaway; deploying your plugs and working them downstream through a hole or run will allow you to present to every fish that might lay in that path.

When a salmon is resting and a colorful, wiggly, scented plug swims into view there is little for that salmon to do but strike at it or back downstream. I have often found that even if I am certain that the majority of the fish are holding at the top end or middle of the run, plugs can push a fish back to the very tailout of a drift before that fish decides to strike. Salmon have made a very long journey home and having to make the choice between moving downriver away from their spawning grounds is often less appealing than striking at an intrusive Kwikfish.

chum-salmon-fishing

Back Trolling Diver & Sand Shrimp

When the pressure of multiple boats causes salmon to turn off the bite, I will on occasion switch from plugs to a Bait Diver & Sand Shrimp. Chum Salmon absolutely love the smell of Sand Shrimp. A Sand Shrimp rigged on a double hook leader with a small Spin Glo at its head can often trigger a strike with even the most lethargic of salmon. In deep and fast runs a Jet Diver Size 10, 20 or 30 is preferred. In slow and shallow stretches a Brad’s Bait Diver will often be the best choice.

One of my favorite rivers to fish Chum Salmon is the Skykomish. I fish it for Chums in October and November. Like many Northwest rivers at that time of year, a Diver & Sand Shrimp is a very effective way to catch early Winter Run Steelhead. Why not use a setup that runs double duty for Chum and Steelhead!

coho-salmon-fishing-lures

Best Lures for Catching Coho Salmon

Coho salmon are one of Northwest’s anglers favorite fall target. Most rivers and streams from Northern California to Bristol Bay, Alaska host a return of Coho (Silver) Salmon.

Coho average 6-14 pounds, and can tip the scales at over 25 pounds! Some rivers are famed for their overly aggressive Silvers, others are famed for their Silver salmon runs that are extremely difficult to catch.

Many factors play into a salmon’s aggressiveness. But regardless of the demeanor of your local river’s Coho salmon, here are the Top 10 lures that will bring you success!

#10 – Brad’s Wigglers

B.S. Fishtales’ Brad’s Wigglers came onto the main stage of Northwest fishing when Storm decided to junk the classic Wiggle Wart and revamp it. Salmon anglers everywhere scooped up every last remaining Original Wiggle Wart they could find, thinking that there would never be a replacement for such an important salmon lure. Enter: B.S. Fishtales. They produced an extremely similar plug with an unbelievable number of killer color patterns geared towards us salmon and steelhead junkies.

#9 – Mepps Spinners

Mepps offers such an array of fish catching colors that they definitely make the top 10! Their large blades trigger aggressive strikes, their heavy bodies sink fast which is neccesary to get down in the fast currents of our large Northwest rivers.

#8 – Kwikfish

Kwikfish not making the top ten list? Uh-uh, nope, not gonna happen! This lure is synonymous with salmon fishing, and they catch Coho by the multitudes each season. Whether your drift boat is anchored on a small Olympic Peninsula stream or your jet sled is backtrolling on the Columbia River, Kwikfish are extremely effective for targeting Coho. Wrap a small chunk of sardine fillet on the belly and hold on!

#7 – Flash Glo Squid Spinners

Coho anglers have been adding squid skirts to thei spinners for years, and now one of the Northwest’s most innovative tackle manufacturers has paired up the effectiveness of a classic spinner design, beautifully painted blades, and a plastic squid skirt. Large and aggressive Silvers love big, ugly, colorful lures. Yakima Baits scored big when it came out with the Flash Glo Squid Spinner, and so will anglers targeting aggressive fall Coho this year!

#6 – Twitching Jigs

By far the hottest “new” technique. Twitching a jumbo marabou jig, or a plastic squid jig can trigger aggressive responses from brute Coho. This technique is deadly in slower holding areas and tidewater.

#5 – Worden’s FatFish

Wordens Fatfish are available in a standard size and magnum size. These productive coho lures feature amazing color patterns, an enticing wiggle and a loud fish-attracting rattle.

#4 – Corky & Yarn Combo

Buoyant Corkies paired with a tuft of yarn create a deadly combination that, when fished properly, can outfish any other setup in many of our Northwest rivers. Drift fishing with this combo ranks high on the list due to its versatility and popularity on top Coho Salmon rivers such as the Cowlitz, Puyallup, Skokomish and Green.

#3 – Cured Salmon Egg Clusters

Cured salmon roe tempt the pallets of both aggressive and non-aggressive Coho everywhere. Wet cured eggs will milk out scent into the water and trigger the spawning aggression out of any Coho!

#2 – Dick Nite Spoons

Dick Nite Spoons have caught countless salmon over the past several decades. This lure has been around forever, and its name is directly tied in with salmon fishing tradition. Drift fishing Dick Nite Spoons is a favored technique to catch the notoriously lockjaw Coho Salmon of northern Puget Sound rivers. This lure is the absolute favorite on the Snohomish, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Stillaguamish and Skagit Rivers. Try this low-profile lure wherever Coho become non-aggressive.

#1 – Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner

The Vibrax spinner is a lure that is well known in the salmon fishing world. While Alaska-bound salmon fishermen find that jumbo #5 and #6 spinners are the ticket for large aggressive silvers, this lure ranks on the top of the list for its versatility. Coho salmon in every river and stream along the Pacific coast are attracted to the combination of color and flash from this tried-but-true lure.

How To Tie A Marabou Twitching Jig For Coho

Twitching jigs has recently become a very popular method to catch Coho Salmon in rivers throughout the Pacific Northwest. Coho cannot resist the erratic rhythm of a properly presented jig; even those that seem to ignore more traditional offerings can easily be tempted into biting. A Coho jig is a larger offering than one would use for Steelhead, and has not only more weight but also a larger profile.

While several tackle manufacturers have begun to offer jigs that are designed for salmon fishing, most serious anglers prefer to tie their own.

I decided to write this post to help out anyone looking for a basic guide to tie marabou jigs. I’ve spoken with many fishers and have found that there is a wide array of colors that will work on our Northwestern rivers, but you will find that there might be a few very specific color offerings that are most effective in your favorite area: experiment until you find that magic pattern!
These are very easy to tie and require just a few tools and materials. Before getting started you will need…


Tools

  • Fly Tying Vise
  • Scissors
  • Bobbin (Thread Holder)
  • Super Glue or Head Cement


Materials

  • Jighead: ¼, 3/8 or ½ oz jighead on a heavywire hook
  • Thread: Uni-Thread 3/0 Black
  • Body: Blood Quill Marabou in your favorite colors

Step 1

Start by securing the jighead in the vise. You will be applying a fair amount of tension with the wrapping thread so make sure it is in there good!

Step 2

Take thread and make multiple wraps around the hook shank, overlap the thread to secure it onto the jighead hook shank.

Step 3

Make a decision on the size of the jig’s profile. Select 4 to 5 marabou feathers and measure and cut them out 2” to 3” for larger profile jigs. Select 2 to 3 marabou feathers and measure and cut them out 1.5” to 2” for smaller profile jigs.

Step 4

Tightly tie each marabou feather next to the jighead individually. (If you want to make the Twitching Jig more durable, coat the thread with a little fly tying head cement or super glue between each marabou feather.)

Step 5

Make multiple thread wraps to completely secure all marabou feathers, conceal marabou feather stems, and make a clean looking finish.

Step 6

Take thread and make numerous half-hitch knots around the finished thread. Then trim thread.

Step 7

Add super glue or fly tying head cement to the thread, this will bind the wrapping and prevent the jig from unraveling.

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Snohomish River Pink Salmon

The Snohomish River is the largest freshwater source in central Puget Sound and its waters pulse with schools of silver-bodied Pink Salmon every odd year.

During these odd-numbered years (example 2013, 2015, 2017) the internal clocks within every maturing Pink Salmon in the Pacific triggers the largest annual migration of salmon back to Puget Sound. The fish invade the Sound by the millions; each river receives a healthy share.

The Snohomish River will see an estimated 988,621 Humpy Salmon returning this year, and there will be an equally impressive number of anglers that will head to the river to greet them.

The Season

Pink Salmon live, spawn and die on a very strict biological schedule. They hatch from the gravel, quickly migrate to marine areas to mature and return to the river to spawn at age two. While there is a run of Pink Salmon in Puget Sound rivers every year, the odd-year returns are massive with close to a million returning fish to each major watershed.

Fishing for Pink Salmon begins this year on August 1st in the Lower Snohomish River below the Highway 9 Bridge in the town of Snohomish. Upriver areas open on August 16th. Early in August small schools of Pink Salmon will push into the river with each incoming tide. Each fish caught will be silver-bodied and fresh from the Sound. The in-river runs build and build until a peak around Labor Day. By September there is an even mix of salmon that are both fresh from the salt and turned to spawning.

The Snohomish River is fortunate to have returns of Salmon that make it back to this system, one species stacked after another. Pink Salmon are the first to return to the Snohomish; as the Pink return peaks, Coho Salmon are just beginning to enter the freshwater. And just as Coho Salmon fishing peaks the Chums start to show. Then Chum Salmon fishing season fades into Winter Steelhead season. Therefore, on an odd-year there is a continuous fishing opportunity on the Snohomish River from August until January.

Best Snohomish River Fishing Spots

For a full listing, check out SNOHOMISH RIVER SALMON FISHING

Lowell Rotary Park

Lowell Rotary Park is a popular lower river fishing location. It’s launch can be a bit tricky at low tide, but anglers utilize this park to fish from shore and launch small boats, kayaks and canoes. Lowell Rotary Park is accessible from Lowell-Snohomish River Road.

Downtown Snohomish

Downtown Snohomish features a riverfront pathway that offers anglers access to a very fishy part of the river. The paved pathway meanders along a riprap rock bank of the river and the deep trough that runs next to the pathway consistently holds fish. It can be accessed from anywhere in downtown.

Bob Herman Park at Thomas Eddy

Thomas Eddy is one of the famed salmon holes of the Snohomish River. Bob Herman Natural Area is a vast public park popular with hikers, birders and anglers. A pathway leads from the parking area down to the river and splits, paralleling the river upstream and downstream of the main access trail. Access if from Connelly Road near Snohomish.

522 Bridge

Great public access is available under the SR 522 Highway just outside of Monroe. Anglers fish both the north bank and the south bank near the bridge. North bank access if from Tester Road near Monroe and south bank access if from Elliott Road near Maltby.

How to Catch Snohomish River Humpies

For a full listing of lures and methods visit BEST LURES FOR PINK (HUMPY) SALMON IN RIVERS

Float & Jig

Float fishing is close to being one of the most versatile techniques we have here in the Pacific Northwest and Pink Salmon are an easy target for the bobber crowd. Suspending a steelhead jig under a float can be a very effective way of catching Pinks. My favorite colors are Hot Pink, Light Pink and White. Tipping the jig with a small chunk of prawn or sand shrimp can double the lure’s effectiveness.

Drifting Dick Nite Spoons

Dick Nite Spoons are one of the most effective yet oddest salmon lures in existence. While we tend to look for lures that trigger the salmon’s spawning or feeding aggression with large flashy lures, the teeny tiny Dick Nite Spoon catches countless salmon on rivers like the Snohomish. When fishing in an area where there is little to no current, a cast/retrieve method will work well. In areas where there is greater flow, allow your Dick Nite set-up to drift down current with nothing more than a very slow retrieve. Whatever the water condition the goal is to get the Spoon to flutter gently; a fast retrieve will cause the Spoon to spin (no good) and a super slow retrieve might not create the flutter that entices the strike you are looking for.

Plunking with Sand Shrimp

Sand Shrimp are one of the most delicate, most sought-after, and most effective natural baits used to catch Pink Salmon. Plunking a Sand Shrimp in the current can be a great way to enjoy fast action without having rod in hand. Bait up a fresh Sand Shrimp on your plunking set-up, grab a rod holder, and place your bait into the holding slot. I prefer to rig a small Spin Glo in front of my bait to add a little floatation and attraction.

Buzz Bombing Humpies

In the lower reaches of the Snohomish River, fishing with small Buzz Bombs can be extremely effective. Buzz Bombs are a popular metal jig used to catch salmon from the beaches throughout Puget Sound and the deep tidal pools in its rivers. Popular colors include Holographic Pink, Pearl Pink, Hot Pink and Glow Pink. I would recommend fishing with 1.5” and 2” Buzz Bombs. These are very small and lightweight but perfect for twitching for Pink Salmon in the rivers. Fishing Buzz Bombs is very simple: cast, allow to sink to desired depth, lift rod to lift jig, drop rod and reel slack, lift, drop, repeat. The up-and-down flutter of the metal jig will drive Pink Salmon to strike.

How To Cure Salmon Eggs

Quality cured salmon roe is undoubtedly one of the most effective baits used to catch Salmon, Steelhead and Trout. Whether you are heaving a fist sized ball of wet eggs for King Salmon in the tidewater, stalking Trout in the high mountains with a single egg on an ultralight rod, or chucking a dried cluster of boraxed roe to a resting Steelhead, homemade cured salmon eggs are a great bait.

Unfortunately there has always been a little mystery as of how exactly to prepare the perfect roe, but here you will learn the fundamental steps in the egg curing process.

All about Salmon Egg Skeins

Female salmon develop their eggs in a skin sack called a skein. As immature feeding fish, a salmon’s skein is initially very small. As the salmon reaches their final months prior to spawning the skein will enlarge and the individual eggs will grow to about the size of a pea. Each skein can hold thousands of eggs.

As the skeins develop the eggs become tightly clustered in a skin purse that is the skein, this makes for great fishing bait that can be cut into the perfect sized chunks. As the salmon nears the spawning area the skeins break down and loosen, at this point the female will deposit the individual eggs in the spawning redd to be fertilized by the male salmon. Loose eggs can be cured but are difficult to fish; anglers must spend quite a bit of time to create clusters by wrapping loose eggs in cheese cloth.

The skein size varies based on the size of the individual salmon and the proximity to spawning. A skein from a small Pink Salmon may weigh only a few ounces but a skein from a trophy female King Salmon might weigh several pounds.

Salmon eggs are very delicate and high quality eggs are not the easiest to come by. Be sure to bleed your catch right away, keep cool until it is time to process and fillet, and begin curing the salmon roe within 24 hours.

What to do after landing a Salmon

The work begins just moments after landing an egg laden salmon. To produce a quality finished product, you must begin with quality fresh ingredients. Make sure to bleed the fish immediately after landing it; salmon eggs must be as blood free as possible to put up good bait. Placing the fish on ice will ensure that the meat and the roe are preserved, but on a crisp autumn day that may not be completely necessary.

Removing the Salmon Roe

Carefully cut open the underside of the salmon to remove the roe. Start the cut at the anal vent and slice up the belly to the throat of the salmon. Be sure to make the cut shallow as to not cut into the egg skein.

Each female salmon has two egg skeins. They are attached to the organs near the head and can be removed by hand.

Prepare the Roe for the Curing Process

There are a few simple tasks that will ensure a quality finished cured bait. First, blood free salmon eggs create the perfect bait. Even a well-bled fish will still retain a little blood, which courses through the skein and can spoil a perfectly good batch of eggs. Take a fillet knife and puncture any blood veins on the outside of the skein, run your knife blade from the end of the vein to the opening and remove as much blood as possible. Then butterfly the skein so that all the eggs will be exposed to the cure. I like to pat dry the recently opened skeins with a paper towel to remove any lingering blood or liquid.

How to apply Salmon Egg Cure

Bait Cure performs several functions. It preserves the fragile roe. It makes the roe more durable. It colors the roe. It adds bite enhancing chemicals to help create even more tempting bait. Bait Cure can be messy as the dyes used are often potent. I strongly recommend curing any bait outside in an area where a few permanent pink stains won’t cause a problem. Place the prepared skeins in either a small plastic bucket or a gallon plastic bag. Sprinkle the cure over the skeins until they are lightly covered. I like to add a little, roll the bag, then add a little more. An insufficient amount of cure will produce unpreserved bait. Adding too much cure will cause the roe to be burned by the chemicals in the mixture. Once the skeins are evenly coated in cure they then need time to complete the curing process.

Egg Curing Process

Salmon Egg Cure is a mix of borax, salt, sugar, dye and other preservatives. The salt preserves. The sugar toughens. The borax dries. The dye colors. Once the skeins are coated, the cure will draw out liquids from the eggs. Within a few hours the eggs will shrink and the container will be filled with a soupy colored juice. Within a few more hours the liquid will be pulled back into the eggs: preservatives, dye and all. Once the juicing and reabsorbing takes place, the eggs can be specifically prepared for the desired fishing technique.

Final steps in curing Salmon Roe

Cured Salmon Roe is extremely versatile. Anglers have many ways of using it to catch Salmon and Steelhead. After the curing process is completed, the decision of how to utilize it will define how it is finally cared for. If an angler wishes to fish for Chinook Salmon, he might want a very wet egg that leaches out juices into the water; he will sacrifice durability for a bait that carries a large scent trail. If an angler wishes to fish for Steelhead, he might decide that it is more important to have a durable bait that can handle a dozen casts before it falls apart.

When putting up Wet Cure Eggs, consider taking the entire finished product and simply place it in a glass quart Mason Jar to freeze. Juice and all.

When putting up Salmon Eggs for Steelhead fishing, consider straining the eggs in a colander, then air drying them on a rack to toughen them up. Placing a final coating of borax over the cured Salmon Roe can make the eggs even more durable.

Final Thoughts

Although fishers have been putting up roe for decades, curing eggs is a very fickle process. There are so many variables that can impact the quality of the finished product including the age of the eggs, the temperature at the curing site, the egg cure recipe, the amount of cure, the intended use, the list goes on. Even veteran fishing guides often find that there are batches that didn’t quite turn out as planned. There are always new ideas, new experimental methods and ingredients. The trick is to be patient, be attentive, and follow the basic process closely. Aside from that, good luck and I hope this article helps you understand the process and puts you on the path toward success on the water!

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Snoqualmie River Fishing

The Snoqualmie River is regarded as a special place to many Seattle area fishermen due to the ample public access and generous winter steelhead plants. Because its famed pools and runs are so close to the city, it’s an easy river to hit after work or for a few hours on the weekend.

The Snoqualmie’s three forks (North, Middle and South) originate deep in the heart of the Cascade Range. They feed off the mountain range’s snowpack and lowland rains. The forks converge near the town of North Bend to form the mainstem Snoqualmie, which meanders through the upper valley for a few short miles before pouring over Snoqualmie Falls. The waterfall is 268’ tall and acts as a natural boundary for sea-run fish like Salmon, Steelhead or Cutthroat Trout. The river from Snoqualmie Falls through Fall City is a steelheader’s paradise. Its runs, pools and boulder gardens are full of character and offer quite a bit of holding water for the angler to assault.

Geographically, it is the closest steelhead river to Seattle and Bellevue. The lower river receives a return of hatchery born winter Steelhead, wild winter Steelhead, Coho, Chum, Chinook, Pink Salmon and Sea Run Cutthroat Trout. Above Snoqualmie Falls, the North, Middle, and South Fork host healthy populations of Rainbow, Cutthroat and Brook Trout.

While many of the famed steelhead holes become crowded during the prime steelhead months of December and January, productive steelhead spots away from the hordes can be found with a little gumption.

Snoqualmie River Winter Steelhead

The Snoqualmie’s first winter Steelhead are caught in November, and by the first week of December fishing really heats up. Fishing usually closes in February to protect returning Wild Steelhead.

Steelhead Fishing near Carnation

Fishing can be productive in the Carnation area, although the Tolt River no longer receives steelhead plants, and most of the hatchery fish travel through this area quickly. While most of the fishing pressure in the Carnation area is from bank anglers, it’s common to spot a few jet sleds that launch at the Tolt Hill Bridge launch and side drift bait downstream through the Carnation area.

Favorite Steelhead spots near Carnation

One of my favorite plunking areas is located in Carnation. While I don’t plunk that often, I have witnessed the locals catch plenty of steelhead plunking with sand shrimp/eggs/spin glos’ near the Carnation Farms Bridge. As you drive over the Carnation Farms Bridge towards town, hanging an immediate right (south) on 310th Ave NE will lead you to a King County Nature Park, with riverside trails that offers a great place to bank fish. I personally spend most of my time bank fishing at Chinook Bend Nature Park, located between Carnation Farms and the bridge. The Snoqualmie River flows around three sides of this 59 acre public natural area.

Steelhead Fishing near Fall City

There is more fishing effort from Tokul Creek downstream to Fall City than anywhere else on the river. The entire area is inhabited by fly fishermen, gear fishermen, drift boaters and jet sleds. Most of the steelhead caught in this large river system are caught near Fall City. The Tokul Creek hatchery releases about 150,000 winter steelhead smolt, and they all return in a two month period. Fishing in Tokul Creek isn’t for everyone. Tokul is a very swift moving creek, and most anglers drift fish with a tuft of yarn and a foot of leader. I have attempted to fish it once, and I assume that most of the steelhead that are caught here are lined (snagged in the mouth). I would consider it a pretty low quality experience, with many fishing shoulder-to-shoulder. The creek empties into the Snoqualmie, forming the Big Eddy. This area is a fun fishery if you don’t mind company. Plum’s Landing is below Tokul Creek, and is the drift boat put-in for the upper float. Some anglers make the short float down to Fall City, and others make the full day float below Fall City to Richters (Neal Road below Fall City Farms).

Favorite Steelhead spots near Fall City

I love floating the Snoqualmie River in my drift boat, regardless of how many people are on the river. It is my home river, I live about five minutes from Plum’s Landing. I often float Plum’s to Richter’s, beaching the boat in Fall City and walking across the street for lunch at the Raging River Saloon is one of our favorite winter passtimes. On any given winter day, plunkers set up their rod holders and build their campfires right at the Fall City bridge. These guys catch plenty of fish. The run just above the bridge up to the mouth of the Raging River is perfect for anyone swinging flies or spoons. For the bank bound angler, there is a bit of access off Fish Hatchery Road (leading to Plum’s & Tokul). On the opposite side of the river from Plum’s, David Powell Road parallels the river for a mile with multiple pullouts. I also enjoy bank fishing from Big Eddy to Snoqualmie Falls, but the road is currently closed so access is difficult.

Snoqualmie River Summer Steelhead

Fishing for steelhead on the Snoqualmie was once my favorite summer passtime. I loved going down to Snoqualmie Falls, Plum’s Landing or Fall City for the first light steelhead bite, but summer steelhead are no longer planted in the Snoqualmie River. Believe it or not, Skykomish River summer steelhead do travel up into the Snoqualmie and can still be caught, although the numbers of steelhead in the Snoqualmie during the summer are a fraction of what they once were.

Snoqualmie River Coho Salmon

The Snoqualmie River has a healthy run of wild Coho; they spawn in the main stem, the Tolt, the Raging, Cherry Creek, Griffin Creek and other smaller tributaries.

The most popular places to fish for Coho are boat access. The High Bridge launch just upstream from the confluence of the Snoqualmie and Skykomish Rivers is the most popular place to put in a jet sled to fish the upper Snohomish. Boaters catch plenty of Coho by drift fishing Dick Nite spoons and by casting wiggle warts and spinners.

Once the first October rainstorms start to push Coho up the Snoqualmie, Coho begin to stack at the mouths of the Tolt River and Griffin Creek (just upriver from the Tolt Hill Bridge launch). Trolling or casting wiggle wart style plugs can be very productive here.

Snoqualmie River Trout

The Snoqualmie offers resident and sea-run trout plenty of great habitat. While the lower Snoqualmie River watershed’s primary catches are Sea Run Cutthroat Trout, there still are some resident Rainbow Trout and Cutthroat Trout that can be found. The Snoqualmie River upstream from Snoqualmie Falls offers phenomenal fishing for trout in an almost alpine setting. The North Fork, Middle Fork, South Fork and Upper Mainstem Snoqualmie each offer a fishing experience that is unique unto itself. The North Fork being the most remote, the Middle Fork being the largest, the South Fork being the easiest to access and clearest, and the Upper Mainstem being the slowest and filled with drowned timber. Above the Falls, the river’s trout population doesn’t have to compete with Salmon or Steelhead younglings for food, so the trout-per-mile count is higher. Expect to see a healthy mix of Cutthroat, Rainbows and possibly Brook Trout above the Falls.

Trolling for Pink (Humpy) Salmon

When Pink Salmon surge into the waters of Washington, British Columbia and Alaska, catching them on the troll is usually an easy proposition.

Trolling is an extremely effective method to catch all species of salmon, especially the abundant Humpy Salmon that returns to nearby saltwater areas in droves.

Whether you are fishing for Pinks in Puget Sound, off the waters of BC’s Lower Mainland or anywhere in Alaska, trolling is the best way to put limits in the fish box.

Humpy Salmon Trolling Setups

Flasher & Spoon

  • 8” Flasher: White
  • Goldstar Coho Killer: Hot Pink, White Lightning, Purple Haze
  • 24” to 30” leader (20 to 30 pound test).
  • Run a small bead down the leader before threading on the Mini Squid.
  • Add Herring or Shrimp scent to spoon when fishing is slow.

Dodger & Mini Squid

  • 8” Dodger: Chrome or White
  • 2.5” Mini Squid: Hot Pink
  • Single 1/0 Octopus Hook tied on a 24” leader (20 to 30 pound test).
  • Run a small bead down the leader before threading on the Mini Squid.
  • Add Herring or Shrimp scent to spoon when fishing is slow.

Trolling Depth for Pink Salmon

Most schools of Pink Salmon will be found schooling near the surface in open water or travelling near the shoreline. Pink Salmon often school together in large groups. During early morning and late evening hours Humpy Salmon can be found at the surface. Set your gear anywhere from surface to 30 feet early on, then as the sun rises run gear at 30 feet to 80 feet. Marking fish on a fish finder will give you a great idea of what depth to run.

Trolling Speed for Pink Salmon

For the best Humpy Salmon fishing, troll slow. Most salmon anglers will typically troll at 2 mph to 4 mph for Chinook or Coho but Pinks prefer a slower presentation. When setting up for a troll path, place your flasher/lure in the water and troll barely fast enough to get your flasher to rotate or dodger to dodge. Trolling speeds are dependent on how strong the current runs but in general speeds of 1 mph to 2 mph is the range.

Downrigger Trolling for Humpies

Trolling with downriggers is the most popular and most effective strategy for catching Humpies in saltwater areas. Typically, set your Humpy rig back 15 to 20 feet before clipping the mainline into the release clip. If you plan on “stacking” more than one line per downrigger make sure to give at least 20 feet between release clips. I will start off my morning running all of my gear very close to the surface; as the morning progresses I start to lower my gear down. Salmon are very light sensitive and as the sun rises high over the water they will school at greater depths.

cordova-silver-salmon

6 Tips for Alaska Silver Salmon Fishing

Alaska is a land of vast wilderness and draws many adventurous anglers. Silver Salmon pulse into Alaskan rivers in July, August, September and October depending on the location. Here are a few tips to help you enjoy great fishing for Coho Salmon (Silvers) in the land of the Last Frontier.

Tip 1: Alaskan Silvers Love Spinners

Silver Salmon are well known for their aggressive demeanor and will readily snap and strike at hardware such as Spinners or Spoons. Spinners are the most versatile lure for Alaskan Salmon. Whether the river is high from rain & snowmelt or low & clear, every angler’s arsenal should include a variety of Spinners.

My favorite lure for Alaskan Silver Salmon is the Blue Fox Vibrax Spinner. Vibrax Spinners are available in a variety of colors and sizes. Every fishermen should include Size 3, Size 4, Size 5 and even the jumbo Size 6 in their tackle pack. Silver Salmon are attracted to the flash of the rotating silver blade more than anything (it mimics the flash of the baitfish they have spent their entire lives feeding on). Color seems to be less important than size but popular colors are Chrome Blue, Chartreuse Yellow, Hot Pink, Rainbow Trout and Firetiger Yellow. Smaller Spinners work very well even when low water diminishes a Silver Salmon’s aggression. When targeting trophy Silver Salmon during normal to high water the bigger the Spinner the better!

Tip 2: Pack Your Fly Rod

Alaska is the perfect place to test your fly fishing skills and Silver Salmon will attack a fly with a vengeance. Fly fishing for Silver Salmon can be a lot of fun, even for someone who has had little fly fishing experience. Select a quality 8 weight fly rod, a fly reel with a sturdy drag and a floating fly line for your next Alaskan fishing trip. A variety of large salmon flies in Pink, Purple, Black and Chartreuse. I always recommend carrying a selection of split shot sinkers for deeper rivers & streams.

Tip 3: High Water & Low Water Strategies

Alaska is a land of extremes… weather included. To maximize your fish catching on your next fishing trip, be prepared for high & dirty to low & clear water conditions. When the water is high and colored, bring larger and brighter lures that will get down in heavy currents and attract Silver Salmon in murky water. During periods of low water, bring smaller spinners, jigs, cured roe to target Silvers when they are less aggressive.

Tip 4: Step off the Beaten Path

Many fishermen travel around the Alaskan road system looking for Silver Salmon. The most popular Silver Salmon areas are typically within close distance from a road. Hiking into the bush will get you away from the roadside crowds and can present some pretty amazing fishing opportunities. Anytime you travel into the wild, make sure you are prepared for anything. Familiarize yourself with the area and pick up a detailed map; make sure to pack bear spray, first aid kit, compass, topo map, extra food and communication device if applicable.

Tip 5: Consider Catch & Release Options

While Alaska is world famous for its abundance of Salmon, practicing catch and release will help to ensure the health of the returns. If you are planning your Alaskan fishing adventure, consider just how much salmon your family will consume in the next six months. Frozen/Vac-Packed salmon will keep for 3-6 months, so try not to overload on fish that will be left uneaten. I’ve seen countless groups of anglers come up here and experience “Fillet Greed”. Keep enough salmon to enjoy it at home for a few months and catch & release the rest. There is no worse feeling for a fisherman than having to throw away freezer burned salmon.

Tip 6: Take Care of Your Catch

Salmon is one of my favorite foods and I pride myself in taking good care of my catch from the minute I land a fish. Upon landing a Silver Salmon that you plan on keeping be sure to bleed your catch. If you are fishing on a warm summer day, be sure to keep your fish cool as long as possible. I always carry a small rope so that I can string up my Salmon and keep them in the cool river. When you get back to camp, be sure to process your fish as soon as possible. Fillet and freeze. Vacuum packaged Salmon will keep twice as long as any Salmon just thrown in a Zip-lock baggie. I prefer to label my bags with the date so I know when I need to eat it.

I hope you all get a chance to experience Alaskan Silver Salmon fishing. It is a true experience and a lot of fun!

alaska-silver-salmon-fishing

tacoma-puget-sound-salmon-fishing

Puget Sound Chinook Salmon Hot Spots

Many Pacific Northwest residents are excited to wet a line this year for salmon in Puget Sound. The return of Chinook Salmon to the Sound draws the greatest excitement, afterall they are the King of all Salmon. The chance at a hefty Chinook leads many to head out on our local waters all summer long. The Puget Sound has several extremely productive areas that have been putting Kings into fish boxes for generations; here are a few of our favorites…

Mid Channel Bank near Port Townsend

Mid Channel Bank is located a few miles south of Port Townsend and is truly the center of Chinook Salmon fishing in Admiralty Inlet. As Summer Chinook migrate south through Admiralty, they push onto Mid Channel and follow the outer ledge of it southeastward deeper into the Sound. Trolling with downriggers along the 100’ to 120’ contour line on the outside of the bank is very productive.

Point No Point near Hansville

pilot-point-chinook-salmon-fishing

Point No Point is the northeastern most point on the Kitsap Peninsula. PNP juts out into the Sound and creates enormous tide rips. Traditionally, a large boathouse on the point provided anglers a short row out to the salmon holding near the rips. Mooching had been the method of choice since settlers first entered the area. Drift mooching with herring is still a popular pastime here, and the moochers can be found on the lee side of the point during any tide. Trolling the outside of the rips can be very productive as well.

Pilot Point south of Hansville

Pilot Point is located south of Point No Point and is often lumped together with the notorious PNP. While it is geographically not as pronounced as PNP, it does offer enough of a feature to create a break in the current during a tide change. Troll northward towards PNP during an outgoing tide and southward from PNP to Pilot Point during an incoming tide.

Possession Bar south of Whidbey Island

puget-sound-salmon-fishing

Possession Bar is an expansive underwater shelf that features some of the Puget Sound’s best salmon fishing areas. The Bar actually offers many specific areas to target salmon. West Possession Bar near Scatchet Head abuts the heavy currents of Admiralty Inlet; it is also the most heavily impacted from weather entering the Sound from Admiralty.
The West Bar is best fished on an outgoing tide; heavy currents from an incoming pushes so much water up onto the shelf that trolling gear is difficult to fish and is easily tangled. I like to run my trolling gear close to the bottom and follow a contour line. On a prime outgoing tide set a northward trolling path along the western edge of the Bar.
East Possession Bar near Possession Point is best fished on an incoming tide. Bait gets swept off the top of Possession and the salmon will congregate near the shelf of the East Bar to feed.
Tin Shed is located halfway between the West Bar and East Bar. This horseshoe shaped shelf can be easily fished through either an incoming or outgoing tide. Tin Shed often holds plenty of bait which means that there is usually a fair number of salmon hanging around the area.

Appletree Cove Point near Kingston

Appletree Cove Point is an area just north of Jeff Head near Kingston. This is one of the traditional mooching areas in Central Puget Sound. Chinook find plenty of Herring and Candlefish in the area to feed on, so mooching is naturally productive here.

Jeff Head south of Kingston

Jeff Head is a large underwater bank that reaches out from eastern Kitsap Peninsula into the Sound. Trolling along the outer edge of Jeff Head can be extremely productive for Chinook; anglers also troll and drift mooch across the top of the bank. On an incoming tide troll along the southern shelf; on an incoming tide troll along the eastern and northern end of the shelf. This is an expansive area and one of the more popular salmon fishing areas in Puget Sound.

Edmonds

puget-sound-wild-chinook

The Oil Docks at Point Wells offer a great area to intercept Puget Sound Summer Chinook. This fishing area is very close to Edmonds Marina and Shilshole Marina in Ballard. Focus on the area from the Oil Docks southward to The Trees at Richmond Beach. This area isn’t a traditional hotspot like Possession or Point Defiance but many fish are taken here throughout the Summer Chinook Season.

Meadow Point, West Point, Shilshole Bay

Meadow Point, West Point and Shilshole Bay are considered Ballard’s backyard. Seattle area salmon fishermen spend plenty of time fishing the early morning bites and those classic sunset tide changes. West Point is the most pronounced which creates huge tidal rips during a running tide. Fish the outside of the tide rip and troll around the point during a tide change. Meadow Point offers lighter rips and easier trolling, but the moochers seem to congregate around West Point. Chinook will mill around Shilshole Bay en route to Lake Washington via the Ballard Locks. Be aware of closures in the Bay during summer months.

Elliott Bay

Elliott Bay has been one of the most iconic salmon fisheries in the Pacific Northwest. Downtown Seattle skyscrapers rise up from the eastern shoreline. This urban fishery usually peaks in July and August but in recent years fishing for Chinook has been closed due to conflicts between the Department of Fish & Wildlife and the Muckleshoot Tribe. Countless Seattle salmon anglers are in mourning for this great fishery. We all hope to someday return to the waters of our city with the chance to catch a salmon in the shadow of the Space Needle.

Dolphin Point and Point Beales east of Vashon Island

Both Dolphin Point and Point Beales are popular salmon fishing areas in the northern reaches of Marine Area 11. This area opens earlier than the rest of Puget Sound for Chinook Salmon fishing and produces both Resident Chinook and Mature Chinook. Both are pronounced points and create a tide rip that forces bait to condense, so Chinook will congregate near these points. During a tide change anglers will fish anywhere. On an incoming tide start trolling southeastward towards the points, change course to southwestwards after clearing the point. I make a wide turn to clear the tide rip and troll along the outside of it. On an outgoing tide reverse your direction.

Three Tree Point near Burien

This area is often overlooked by Seattle and Tacoma salmon fishermen, but is a spot that South Sound Chinook slow down and hold. Troll around the point on the outside of any tide rip.

Point Defiance

Point Defiance is one of the most well known salmon fishing areas in the Northwest. Tacoma’s waterfront was once lined with boathouses and fishermen had easy access to this area. Point Defiance is the front door to the Tacoma Narrows; the area is a chokepoint for salmon. Mooching with Herring is the traditional method to catch Summer Chinook but trolling is the current method of choice for many who ply these waters.
Fishing at the Clay Banks just east of Point Defiance can be very good. Trolling with the tide in this area with Flashers & Hoochies or Flashers & Spoons are effective setups. Troll with the tide. An outgoing tide usually produces the best bite but fishing can remain consistent through both incoming and outgoing tides.

puget-sound-chinook-salmon

Simple Salmon Egg Cure Recipe

Most Pacific Northwest river fishermen find quality cured salmon roe to be one of the most valuable yet most limited commodities needed to catch Salmon and Steelhead.

Throughout much of the year, a few fresh skeins of salmon eggs are a true prize.

If you are fortunate enough to catch a female salmon and need to cure the roe for fishing this egg cure recipe is inexpensive, its ingredients are easy to find, and it produces a phenomenal product!

For our full article on the process… check out…HOW TO CURE SALMON EGGS

Simple Egg Cure Recipe Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Borax
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 3/4 Cup Table Salt
  • 3 Tablespoons Beau Mac Pro-Glo Bait Coloring Powder

Step 1: Mix Egg Cure

Mix all the ingredients together in a 1 gallon Zip-lock bag. Make sure that the entire process is done in an area there stained countertops will not be an issue. I highly recommend keeping this process out of the kitchen; a garage workbench or shed is a great place to complete this messy task.

Step 2: Prepare Egg Skeins

Remove as much blood from the salmon egg skeins. I wrap my skeins in paper towels and roll them to remove any excess moisture and blood. Take a sharp fillet knife and lightly butterfly open the skeins so that cure will absorb into every crevasse. Place prepped salmon egg skeins in a large Zip-lock bag.

Step 3: Apply Cure to Salmon Eggs

Apply cure to salmon egg skeins. Gently sprinkle cure evenly over the skeins. I like to shake the bag up, sprinkle a little more, shake & sprinkle. I like to see a healthy bright red coloring on the eggs and a complete coating of egg cure over the entire skein. Many store-bought cures contain Sodium Bisulfate, which can Burn the eggs if over cured. The nice feature about this homemade cure is that without the Sodium Bisulfate, if you add a little too much to the mix there isn’t any burning that occurs.

Step 4: Wait…Roll…Wait…Roll…

Allow the mix to turn the egg cure into a liquid, about 30 minutes. I typically roll the egg mix in the sealed bag a few times… about every hour or so. This process ensures that the cure works its way through the skein and cures every single egg.

Step 5: Allow Salmon Eggs Time to Cure

The egg mix needs time to cure, let sit for at least a day in cool weather. I prefer 2 to 3 days in cool weather or in a refrigerator. You will notice a lot of egg juice accumulates in the mix. The eggs need time to leak out this juice, then it will be reabsorbed into the eggs. Once this process occurs, your batch of eggs is almost done!

Step 6: Strain Salmon Eggs

Remove mix from bag and strain any excess juices. If you are looking to fish for Chinook and want extremely wet eggs, you can skip this step but it will result in less durable eggs that are difficult to cast.

Step 7: Air Dry Salmon Eggs

Place cured salmon eggs on a screen to air dry. This toughens the roe and makes it easier to cast. The longer it dries, the tougher it gets. Make a decision on how you plan on using these eggs and dry accordingly.

Step 8: Package Cured Salmon Eggs

Package cured salmon eggs for storage. Eggs can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks if you plan on fishing them soon. I typically take my eggs and freeze them in glass quart jars or sturdy Zip-lock bags.

Curing your own salmon roe allows you to produce the exact quality of bait you enjoy fishing. Additives such as tuna oil, krill powder, extra sugar, jello are among the many ingredients that Northwest river fishermen use to spice up their baits. I hope you found this article informative and enjoyable… Good luck out there!

Puget Sound Resident Coho Fishing

Puget Sound Resident Coho Fishing


6/26/13 AM
Throughout much of the year we see the salmon runs of Puget Sound return. Each species returns on their own unique schedule but with surprising regularity, much like the ebb and flow of the tides.

Young Coho Salmon are flushed out of our rivers every spring, headed to the rich feeding grounds of the Pacific. While most of these salmon migrate out to the ocean, a fair number of our Puget Sound Coho feed and grow to maturity within our inland sea. These Resident Coho offer a great fishery for the salmon trolling crowds, beach anglers and fly fishermen alike.

Any angler who has ever experienced Coho Salmon fishing in the Pacific during the summer months can testify that the Silver Salmon is arguably the most unrestrained and aggressive feeders we have to fish for; Puget Sound Resident Coho are no different. Wherever Coho feed, they do it with conviction. Schools of Coho will encircle a baitball of Herring and viciously attack until there isn’t a sole survivor, it is this same aggression that allows our ocean-maturing salmon to gain an impressive one pound per week during their final few weeks before returning back to their natal rivers to spawn. While the Puget Sound is rich with forage, Resident Coho tend to be smaller than their ocean feeding cousins. Just as a salmon fisherman in any Pacific fishing port notices that Coho tend to get bigger by the week, Resident Coho also feed heavily and grow fast. Expect 10 to 14 inch Resident Coho in the spring, 1 to 2 pound Resident Coho in June, and chunky 4 to 6 pounders by early fall.

Trolling for Resident Coho in Puget Sound

Trolling can be an extremely productive method to catch these Puget Sound homebodies. Typically, the central Sound offers the best areas to catch Resident Coho, but these fish can be found everywhere to some extent. The preferred set-up for Resident Coho is a small chrome Dodger & small Spoon, Trolling Fly or Plastic Squid. Rig up a 3/0 or 2/0 Dodger with a Luhr Jensen 2” or 3” Needlefish, Goldstar 3” Kingfisher Spoon, Goldstar 2.5” Mini Squid or a Grand Slam Bucktail Mini. I like to use 30 pound leader… about 3 or 4 lengths of the dodger (so about 18” to 24”).

Resident Coho can be found feeding near the shoreline, so trolling close to shore in shallow water can be productive. If you fish nearshore, I find that trolling with no weight or a small ½ or 1 ounce Mooching Sinker is perfect. Downriggers can be a hassle nearshore, but some anglers do very well running their gear down 10 or 15 feet near the shoreline.

Trolling in the traditional salmon fishing areas of Puget Sound can produce great fishing for Resident Coho. Jeff Head, the large shoal just south of Kingston, is the most popular area to target Coho. Run your gear on the surface to as deep as 30 feet in the morning hours, then move deeper by late morning. A slow troll works well, I like to troll at 1 to 2 mph, whatever speed allows your dodger to “dodge” back and forth in the water.

Catching Resident Coho from the Shore

Shorebound anglers catch plenty of Resident Coho throughout the Puget Sound. Catch & Release fishing for Resident Coho and Sea Run Cutthroat Trout can be great from early spring through the summer months. For gear, I like a lightweight rod, but one that is at least 7’ to really get the casting distance. Small Acme Kastmasters and Luhr Jensen Krocodile Spoons are perfect for beach fishing, as are PLine Lazer Minnows, Buzz Bombs, or Crippled Herring. Depending on the slope of the beach and the depth of the water, a ¼ ounce spoon to a 1 ounce metal jig will be perfect.

Popular places to find good fishing for Resident Coho are…

Fly Fishing for Puget Sound Resident Coho

Most anglers that fly fish in Puget Sound enjoy the variety of fish available along our beaches and shoreline. At any given time, there is a mix of Resident Coho, Resident Chinook, Sea Run Cutthroat Trout, English Sole and Greenling to be caught. During summer months, the potential to catch a hefty Salmon is a real draw be it a Chinook, Coho, Pink or Chum.

Fly fishing in Puget Sound requires a 6 weight or 7 weight fly rod, a floating flyline for shallow waters and an intermediate sink flyline for deeper waters. I prefer 2x or 3x leaders that can easily turn over the larger, heavier baitfish fly patterns we use to tempt Resident Coho. The trick to fly fishing for Resident Coho is to use fly patterns that mimic the baitfish that they are feeding on. Coho typically cruise the shoreline feeding on Candlefish and small Herring. Baitfish patterns in #2 to #6, in a variety of natural colors will work well. A long distance cast followed by an erratic strip will work well. Just remember, Resident Coho are always on the search for food and are constantly on the move. Locating a school of feeding fish is the most difficult task, once you place a baitfish imitation within sight you will get them!

Areas of Puget Sound are closed to Salmon fishing at times but open to catch & release Sea Run Cutthroat fishing, and Resident Coho are a much desired incidental catch.

Summer is almost here, and the many Puget Sound Resident Coho are just a cast away! Good Luck out there!

Westport Salmon Report June 12

It looks like Mark Coleman has been rocking the Washington Coast this week. With the early Coastal salmon fishing opener this past Saturday June 8th, Mark Coleman lead guide at All Rivers & Saltwater Charters has found the fish! I just got off the phone with Mark, and his on the water report would cause anyone with fishing on the mind to drop everything and head to Westport!

Today the crew aboard All River & Saltwater Charters’ vessel the Reel Tight had a stellar day on the water. The current early season opportunities for clipped salmon are looking very good. Mark reports that overall, they are targeting aggressively feeding ocean Chinook Salmon out of Westport. Fishing has been great South of Westport, and this is yet another year where the salmon are congregating right on the beach. Today, the crew fished with divers & herring just outside of the surfline, and waylayed the fish!

About half of the King Salmon we are catching are wilds, but they sure are fun to Catch & Release. Today the guys hooked and played twenty salmon, we landed sixteen. We’re getting a couple Coho Salmon a day as well, today we kept 7 Hatchery Kings. Yeah, it was good fishing!
-Mark Coleman

If you are looking for a great Charter service out of Westport, Washington I would highly recommend the guys at All Rivers & Saltwater Charters!

ALL RIVERS & SALTWATER CHARTERS WEBSITE

Good luck out there folks!

Skykomish Summer Update June 2013

The Skykomish River’s 2013 fishing season has just begun and even though it’s been less than a week since opening day it has already been a wild ride. From extremely crowded conditions to looking like a ghost town, from few fish for all to quite a few per boat, each day so far has offered quite a few surprises! The Skykomish River is beloved by many Washington anglers, with perfect steelhead runs to deep salmon pools and busy hatchery areas to remote mountain tributaries. This river’s classic fishing holes and proximity to Seattle makes it the crown jewel of Puget Sound river fisheries. So here’s the first report of the 2013 summer season.

Opening day on the Skykomish was a date that will live in infamy. As eager anglers converged on the Skykomish during the pre-dawn hours of Saturday June 1, the parking lot at the Lewis Street boat launch in Monroe and the Sultan boat launch upriver quickly filled to capacity. Dozens of jet sleds hit the water well before first light and raced to their favorite runs, excitement levels were high.

Famous side-drifting areas like Thunderbird, Afternoon Hole and Younkers were choked with jet sleds. The Skykomish River on opening day resembled rush hour on 405. Boats would finish their drift, run up, get back in line at the head of the run, and wait for their turn to rework those fishy drifts. Many fishermen that focused on the section from Monroe up to the Wallace River flats observed a record setting number of boats, I’ve heard that there might have been up to a hundred boats on the Sky on opening day (that number could easily be an exaggeration, but it does paint a vivid picture!). That lower section is open for hatchery Chinook retention as well as summer steelhead retention, thus that is where the masses fished.

Most of my friends that fished opening day on the Skykomish River fished from their jet sleds, they fished in the lower end, and they each reported less than one fish (salmon or steelhead) landed each. When there are a few power boats on the river salmon and steelhead willingly take lures and bait, but with the incessant noise of that many boats? I have my doubts. I personally think that the increased boat traffic could have partially killed the bite, and more boats targeting the same water definitely dilutes the fish-per-boat average.

As the parade of drift boats made their way downriver from the High Bridge in Gold Bar to Sultan, reports were better, with fish to show for it. Only the lower mile of that long upper drift affords a drifter the chance to retain a Chinook, so most of those guys were busy trying to tempt a summer run steelhead. Drift boat anglers reported catching steelhead side drifting cured roe, pulling plugs and sand shrimp/bait divers.

The bank anglers fishing the Reiter Hatchery area reported a fair number of steelhead hooked, with crowded conditions though. Anglers fishing right at the hatchery, across on the highway side or Reiter, at Cable Hole as well as other nearby spots reported a mix of summer runs and late wild winter steelhead. A friend of mine (he’d like to remain anonymous) sent me a pick of a beautiful 39” late winter wild steelhead that they caught and released in the upper river this week. While many of the folks I’ve talked with did well with float/steelhead jigs, a select few of my friends did very well with RVRFSHR Spoons.

After a hectic weekend, the crowds thinned and fishing heated up. Boat traffic returned to a normal level, and several friends of mine saw more consistent catches during the week. Fishing just below the Wallace River produced great catches of summer Chinook, many in the 14-18 pound range. Steelhead and Chinook are a mixed catch when side drifting with cured eggs in the summertime, and many were hooked by the guide boats working the lower Skykomish. As the snowmelt subsides and river conditions improve, fishing should continue to improve as well until mid-July when the Skykomish River drops into its low and clear summer flows.

Get out there while it’s good fishing folks! Good Luck out there!

Spring Fishing Thoughts

Spring does not make a great first impression here in the Pacific Northwest. She always teases us with a beautifully warm weekend early in the month of April. We blissfully fill our spring schedule with springtime activities like planting the garden, dusting off the patio furniture and preparing the boat, ready for a warm weather paradise that will stretch clear into fall. But every year, she catches us off guard. Overnight frosts that kill our fragile little garden starts, weeks of gray rain laden clouds, and heavy seas that dash our fishing plans. And although spring toys with our emotions, depriving us of that much needed sunshine we have oh so missed, fair weather eventually arrives. Us folks here in the upper left hand corner of the country know how to capitalize on the short summer we do have. And if you fish, you know that it is merely a struggle to choose how to manage your time, our options are many. My interests usually steer me toward the Sound.

As spring approaches, we have so many great places to fish that it is only the limiting factor of time that forces us to pick and choose our favorites. I am always eager for April’s Razor Clams, Coastal Lingcod and Hometown Trout.

I find myself beaming with joy at the chance to head west and enjoy our early morning clam digs on the beach. As folks step onto the sand at Long Beach, Grayland, Ocean Shores and Copalis, the amount of great enjoyment seen in the smiles of so many really shows how a little trip to the coast can wipe away the memory of a wet and dark winter.

A chance to fish for Lingcod and Rockfish in the Pacific is one I won’t miss, and every spring I make a concerted effort to head to Westport. I think it is an amazing opportunity we have, to hop on a Charter and explore the open ocean, and to carry home fillets from a dozen healthy bottomfish for under a hundred dollars.

As April surrenders to May, that final weekend is one of many firsts. I should say, many first fish. Hundreds of thousands of folks grab the tackle box and poles and head to their local lakes. It is an impressive feat to stock thousands of lakes across Washington with millions of trout, but the state does that to give families the chance to enjoy easy fishing near home. Many lakes are stocked well, and fishing can remain good into early summer, but that first weekend is a real slam dunk. The fish might not always be the biggest, but they bring a lot of joy and create plenty of memories for young anglers.

The rule book is mailed out and immediately every boat owner in Seattle has requested time off to go shrimping. Our Sound has a great abundance of Spot Shrimp, but the popularity of the fishery allows for only a few shrimping days a year, lest we over harvest our tasty resource. A Saturday here, a Wednesday there and it seems that it ended as quickly as it began. But the resource managers know that it takes a lot of work to go shrimping, so when it is open, we each get a healthy limit of 80.

Just as folks are readying their shrimping gear in anticipation, Halibut and Lingcod seasons open up in marine areas from Astoria to Bellingham to Olympia. May is a heyday for fishermen in the state, and the chance to keep Lingcod one day, Spot Shrimp the next and Halibut the day after that keeps us plenty busy. So even though the Great Northwest is defined by Salmon, us fishermen have plenty to keep us preoccupied before they arrive. Good luck out there!

Puget Sound Pink Salmon Fishing 2013

Puget Sound’s calm waters will soon be invaded by millions of Pink Salmon, the Northwest’s diamond in the rough. The 2013 Pink Salmon forecast is one of the best on record, with an estimated 6,229,129 fish headed back to Puget Sound rivers and streams this summer.

As these Humpy Salmon march towards their natal streams, they will saturate every popular fishing area in the Sound and create the greatest fishing opportunity our region has to offer!

Pink Salmon are the most abundant of the Pacific Salmon species, they are also the smallest. Humpies average only five pounds, but what they lack in size they make up for in willingness to take a lure. The Pink Salmon is on a strict 2 year life cycle, meaning that we only see this massive return of salmon on odd numbered years (example: 2013, 2015, 2017). Several rivers in Washington do have a Humpy run on even numbered years, but in much smaller numbers. The mild flavor of a Pink Salmon fillet appeals to many who dislike the stronger flavors of the King, Sockeye or Silver Salmon.

The majority of Puget Sound’s Pinks return to rivers in the Central Sound. The Skagit River, Snohomish River system, Green River and Puyallup River are the areas greatest producers of Pink Salmon. Historically, the Skagit River, Stillaguamish River and Snohomish River were Puget Sound powerhouses for Pink Salmon production. Oddly enough, yet to the glee of many anglers the Green River went from a Pink Salmon run of several thousand to well over one million within a few life cycles. The same phenomenon is happening to the Nisqually River at the extreme southern end of Puget Sound, we have never experienced such a strong return to the Nisqually, with a forecasted return of over 700,000 Pink Salmon.

Expect a strong season for Pink Salmon here in the Sound. As the millions of Humpies return, phenomenal fishing will first occur near the entrance to the Straits at Neah Bay & Sekiu, a week later Port Angeles anglers will witness great catches, followed by the beach anglers fishing West Whidbey Island and by mid to late August, the Central Sound will be chalk full of Humpies (and boats). Throughout the season anglers will chase the fish as they return and eventually the action will shift from saltwater to river, as the season gradually draws to a close.

Nature only affords us this amazing fishing opportunity every other year. Take advantage of great fishing when it is here, for as long as it lasts!

North Puget Sound Pink Salmon Forecast 2013

  • Nooksack River (Bellingham, Wa): 154,075
  • Skagit River (Mount Vernon, Wa): 1,230,376
  • Stillaguamish River (Arlington, Wa): 409,700

Central Puget Sound Pink Salmon Forecast 2013

  • Snohomish River (Everett, Wa & Monroe, Wa): 988,621
  • Green River (Seattle, Wa): 1,352,362
  • Puyallup River (Tacoma, Wa): 1,240,854

South Puget Sound Pink Salmon Forecast 2013

  • Nisqually River (olympia, Wa): 764,937
  • South Sound Misc: 765

Hood Canal Pink Salmon Forecast 2013

  • Hood Canal: 55,314

Strait of Juan de Fuca Pink Salmon Forecast 2013

  • Straits: 32,125

You might like these Pink Salmon Fishing articles…

BEST LURES FOR PINK SALMON FISHING IN RIVERS

TROLLING FOR HUMPY SALMON

PINK SALMON FISHING AT DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK

SKYKOMISH RIVER FISHING SPOTS

Best Lures for Catching Pink (Humpy) Salmon in Rivers

Pink Salmon are a very popular catch for many Pacific Coast fishermen. Here in the Puget Sound region, we see huge returns every odd numbered year (example: 2013, 2015, 2017). There are a few really productive lures that catch Pinks (Humpies) with amazing effectiveness!

This article is designed to give you an advantage as you prepare for your next Humpy Salmon fishing trip! Good luck!

Dick Nite Spoons

A crowd favorite on select Pacific Northwest rivers, these tiny lightweight spoons have a tantalizing flutter that drives Pink Salmon wild! Drift Fish them or Cast & Retrieve, these lures work very well from tidewater to upper river areas.

P Line Humpy Jig

One of my personal favorites! A great lure for not only saltwater beach fishing but also in the tidally influenced lower stretches of our Pink Salmon rivers, this lure works great. The P Line Humpy Jig is a painted metal jig that is designed to attract all salmon species, but has worked very well for Pinks. This lure comes in a variety of color combinations, and I especially like the smaller Humpy Jigs when Pinks are a little squeamish. These lures are available from ½ oz up to 2 oz.

Plunking for Pink Salmon

Grab a few hooks, swivels, pink Spin & Glos and your favorite bait and hit the lower river! As Humpies migrate up through the lower stretches of their rivers, many plunkers using this simple method to catch their limits. Use enough lead to keep your lure stationary in the current. Tip the hook with either raw prawn or a sand shrimp tail.

Brads Wiggler & Lil Wiggler

Brads Wigglers and Lil Wigglers are great fished from a boat or retrieved towards the bank. These are a great alternative to the staple lures and methods. Any metallic or solid pink color options are very productive.

Aero Jig Marabou

These 1/8 oz and ¼ oz Steelhead jigs are deadly effective for Humpies. Pink, White or Pink/White color patterns are all great!

Buzz Bomb

The grand-daddy of all salmon fishing lures. Small Buzz Bombs work well in the slow, deep, tidal stretches of the lower Skagit, Snohomish and Stillaguamish, as well as along Puget Sound beaches.

Wordens Maxi Jig

This is one of the newest high quality Steelhead jigs on the market. These jigs are best fished under a float, or twitched with light tackle rods. Maxi Jigs are available in a variety of Humpy catching combinations of pink, white and red. High quality Owner hooks are ultra sharp, so don’t worry about that!

Pink Worm Jig

Grab a pack of 3 inch or 4 inch Steelhead Worms and a pack of ¼ oz or 3/8 oz Jigheads and you have an inexpensive and very effective Humpy lure. Just thread a Pink Worm on a pink or white Jighead, simple as that! The waggin tail of a Steelhead Worm is sure to catch the attention of nearby Pink Salmon.

Hoochie Jigs

Similar to the Pink Worm Jig, the Hoochie Jig is often premade but offers a very durable and effective option for river fishing. If you are making your own, add a small drop of super glue to the shank of the Jighead hook before threading on the Hoochie squid.

I wish you all the greatest success on your next Pink Salmon fishing trip, and hopefully these lures produce many daily limits for you, friends and family!