Pink Salmon flood through Deception Pass by the hundreds of thousands every other year, and are easy & fun to catch! The majority of Pink Salmon that swim through Deception Pass are en route to the Skagit River, the better the return on the Skagit, the better the fishing opportunity at Deception Pass State Park.
Deception Pass is a narrow channel that connects the open expanses of the Strait of Juan de Fuca with massive Skagit Bay. The Deception Pass Bridge (State Route 20) connects Whidbey Island & Fidalgo Island. Deception Pass State Park encompasses both the North & South shore of Deception Pass. For a fisherman, the southern shore of Deception Pass offers the best opportunity to catch Pink Salmon from the beach.
During odd numbered years (Example: 2013, 2015, 2017) Pink Salmon return to the rivers of Puget Sound to spawn. These Humpy Salmon are great in number and easy to catch. Pink Salmon will travel close to the beach during an incoming or slack tide. The 2013 estimate for the Pink Salmon return to the Skagit River is 1.2 Million fish. With that many Humpies migrating through Deception Pass, fishing should be incredible this year!
When to Fish for Pink Salmon at Deception Pass?
Pink Salmon begin to migrate through the North Puget Sound in late July. The peak of this huge salmon run usually occurs in the last week of August, when catching Pinks seems to be the easiest. After the peak in late August, Pink Salmon fishing remains decent until mid September, when anglers switch their efforts to Coho Salmon. Every Pink Salmon year the run timing is a little different, but not by more than a week or so.
Where to Fish for Pink Salmon at Deception Pass?
Deception Pass has two great beaches, both of which see plenty of anglers and plenty of salmon. West Beach is on the outside of Deception Pass, but still within the park boundary. This beach faces the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Currents can be lighter here than at North Beach.
North Beach is located on the far Northwest tip of Whidbey Island, on the south shore of Deception Pass. This is one of the most visually stunning areas of the State Park, with a beautiful beach right next to the famous Deception Pass Bridge. This is the most popular beach with salmon anglers. The currents through the Pass are very strong, so heavier lures can be needed during a moving tide.
Humpy Salmon Lures for Deception Pass
Metal jigs are the most productive lures for catching Deception Pass Pink Salmon. Depending on how strong the current is, metal jigs weighing 1 ounce to 2 ounces are recommended. The best lure colors for Pink Salmon in the saltwater are Silver/Pink, Pink/White, Pearl Pink and Hot Pink.
These lures will catch Pinks in any saltwater area:
- PLine Lazer Minnow (metal jig) ¾ oz – 1.5 oz
- PLine Humpy Jig (metal jig) ¾ oz – 1.5 oz
- Buzz Bomb (metal jig) 2 inch to 3L inch
- Luhr Jensen Crippled Herring (metal jig) 1 oz – 2 oz
- Point Wilson Dart (metal jig) 1 oz – 2.25 oz
The best way to fish a metal jig:
- Make a long distance cast.
- Allow metal jig to sink (experiment until you are confident in your depth.
- Lift rod tip to pull the jig.
- Drop rod tip to allow jig to flutter down, retrieve half the slack.
- Repeat until you have fully retrieved and need to recast.
- NOTE: Be alert! Some Pink Salmon bites are aggressive, but if the bite occurs as the metal jig is fluttering, it may be subtle.
Deception Pass Information
Deception Pass State Park offers over 13 miles of saltwater shoreline, many hiking trails, camping, amazing viewpoints and freshwater fishing. A Washington State Discovery Pass is required at all state parks, including Deception Pass State Park.
For more information please check out DECEPTION PASS STATE PARK.
Have fun out there and enjoy one of the Northwest’s largest salmon returns!