Inshore Bottomfishing at Neah Bay
On the Northwest tip of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula lies the tiny hamlet of Neah Bay. This is the jumping off point to a vast expanse of open ocean salmon fishing, halibut fishing and miles and miles of rugged shoreline. The North Coast offers some of Washington’s finest bottomfishing, with inshore structure found nowhere else in the state.
About Inshore fishing at Neah Bay
Neah Bay may be a small village on the Makah Indian Reservation, but in the fishing world the name refers to a huge expanse of shoreline reaching from Waadah Island at Neah’s harbor south on the coastline past Cape Alava. The coastline offers countless rockpiles, ridges, reefs and other structure that hosts unbeleivable bottomfishing.
Tatoosh Island and Cape Flattery mark the entrance to the open ocean from the Straits. There are miles of productive inshore bottomfish structure along the shoreline inside the Straits from Neah Bay to Tatoosh. From Cape Flattery south to Umatilla Reef offers many well known bottomfish locations including Strawberry Rock, Mushroom Rock, Spike Rock, Father & Son and many many more.
Umatilla Reef is a popular area for those willing to run longer distances. There is ample structure to fish, and plenty of rockfish and lingcod available.
Lingcod fishing around Neah Bay can be pretty fast-paced. Every rockpile, ridge and ledge has potential. Unfortunately for those seeking monsters, most inshore lingcod are small. Inshore areas can almost be considered a nursery for lings, with keeper size difficult to find at times. Most of the large lingcod that make their way to the cleaning tables at the marina are caught offshore in deeper waters. For those hoping to catch a keeper inshore, use larger swimbaits and metal jigs.
Neah Bay Rockfish
Rockfish can be found schooling near any major rocky pinnacle. Black rockfish are most common and are easy to catch. With generous bag limits, most anglers fish a double-hook rig. Swimbaits and curly tail grubs on 1 oz to 3 oz jigheads work extremely well in shallow water. Metal jigs like the Point Wilson Dart, Pline Laser Minnow or Buzz Bomb from 1 oz to 3 oz will work extremely well.
To set up a two hook rig tie a top hook with a palomer knot, leaving a longer tag line to tie on your jighead or metal jig. Either use a curly tail grub on that hook, or tie in a shrimp fly.