Snohomish River Salmon Fishing

The Snohomish River is one of my favorite places to catch salmon. It is a large, slowly meandering river and is extremely tidally influenced. Anglers flock to this central Puget Sound river for Pinks, Coho and Chum salmon throughout the fall fishing season.

The Snohomish valley is fairly rural, with many farms and woodlands. The abundance of public parks, riverside trails and open spaces makes accessing key fishing areas on the Snohomish River and easy task.


Snohomish River fishermen enjoying a crisp fall morning.

The Snoqualmie and Skykomish rivers converge near Monroe and create the Snohomish River. It meanders under the 522 highway, through the town of Snohomish and snakes northward around the city of Everett. In its lower stretches, several sloughs branch off and reconnect with the Snohomish such as Steamboat Slough, Ebey Slough and Union Slough. All are excellent places to target sturgeon.


Jason caught this ocean fresh Pink Salmon near the mouth of the Pilchuck River.

Snohomish River Coho Fishing


Me with a pair of nice Snohomish Coho caught from the 522 Bridge and the Confluence.

The Snohomish River Coho salmon have gained notoriety here in the Northwest for being fickle biters. That being said, many fishing guides and local anglers have found techniques that work well even on the most lock jawed Coho. Coho will begin to trickle into the Snohomish in early September, and numbers increase until the trickle becomes an all out flood of fish pushing up the tidal stretches into the upper river. By the third week of September, the number of Coho in the Snohomish River can be unbelievable. Fishing can remain excellent well into late October with a lack of rain, but higher river levels in October will result in Coho pushing into the Skykomish and Snoqualmie Rivers.

Snohomish River Humpy Fishing


Kiley with a twitching jig caught Humpy Salmon.

One of the largest salmon runs anywhere in the Puget Sound occurs when Pink Salmon return to the Snohomish River on odd numbered years (2011, 2012, 2015). Pinks are on a strict biological clock, and return in massive quantities every other year. Their numbers are impressive, typically about a million Pinks return to the Snohomish River system. Catching Pink Salmon on the Snohomish River is one of the easiest piscatorial tasks. With a little knowhow on run-timing , good locations, and the right tackle; limits can come easily even to the novice salmon fisherman. Pinks enter the lower Snohomish in early August, and remain in the river in large numbers through mid-September.

Snohomish River Chum Salmon Fishing

Chum Salmon once returned to the Snohomish, Skykomish and Snoqualmie in great numbers. In recent years, they WDFW has allowed heavy fishing pressure by Puget Sound, reducing the numbers that make it back to the river. Although the Chum salmon return is lower than it used to be, Chum fishing can be quite good in the Snohomish and Skykomish Rivers. Chum migrate up the Snohomish River in October and November. Plunking with a Spin Glo and Prawn/Sand Shrimp can be deadly effective. Anglers also catch plenty of Chum float fishing with Chum Jigs and Prawns, backtrolling sardine wrapped K14 Kwikfish, and drift fishing Dick Nite Spoons.

Snohomish River Bank Fishing Spots

The Snohomish River offers excellent access for shorebound anglers.

Legion Park

Legion Park is accessed from Marine View Drive and is located in north Everett. This spot is an anglers first chance to catch salmon headed up the Snohomish River. Cast small metal jigs (Buzz Bombs, Pline Lazer Minnows) for Pinks and Coho. Twitching hoochie jigs for Pinks also works well in the lower Snohomish.

Lowell-Snohomish River Road

Lowell-Snohomish River Road is located on the south bank between Everett and Snohomish. The road parallels the lower Snohomish and offers many pullouts for fishing spots. The river is tidal and slow moving in the lower stretches downstream from Snohomish. Cast small metal jigs (Buzz Bombs, Pline Lazer Minnows) for Pinks and Coho. Twitching hoochie jigs for Pinks also works well in the lower Snohomish. Cast and retrieve Dick Nite Spoons, or fish these productive spoons under a float. Humpy Specials can work extremely well for Pinks here.

Downtown Snohomish

Downtown Snohomish offers great fishing access from the riverfront trail. This paved trail parallels 1st Street in downtown, and is popular with fishermen during the Pink and Coho salmon season. Deep water in front of the trail allows easy fishing and short casts. Casting metal jigs (Buzz Bombs, Pline Lazer Minnows), Humpy Special Spoons, and drifting Dick Nite Spoons are popular techniques.

Mouth of Pilchuck River

The mouth of the Pilchuck River is accessed from Old Snohomish-Monroe Road and is located just upriver from the town of Snohomish. This is a popular place to troll wiggle warts or anchor and fish Dick Nite Spoons for Coho or Pinks, but bank anglers can access the fish in the stretch by hiking down the Pilchuck River and fishing the point.

Douglas Bar

Doug Bar is a private gravel bar upriver from the town of Snohomish. Buy a key (the equivalent of an annual pass) and you have access to an excellent plunking bar. Plunk small pink Spin Glo’s with sand shrimp for pinks or larger Spin Glo’s with sand shrimp for Chums.

Bob Herman Park (Thomas Eddy)

Bob Herman Park at Thomas Eddy is accessed from Connelly Road and is located just upriver from Douglas Bar, upriver from the town of Snohomish. The small parking lot at this popular wildlife preserve fills up quickly during Pink and Coho salmon season. This is one of the Snohomish River’s most popular bank fishing spots. Trails lace the wildlife preserve and offer great access for shorebound anglers. Drift fishing Dick Nite Spoons, casting metal jigs (Buzz Bombs and Pline Lazer Minnows) or casting spinners are productive techniques for Bob Herman/Thomas Eddy.

Short School Road

Short School Road is accessed from Old Snohomish-Monroe Road and is located upriver from Bob Herman Park. It offers access to the Snohomish River on the bank opposite Bob Herman/Thomas Eddy Park. Anglers catch plenty of Pinks and some Coho here. Drifting Dick Nite Spoons is productive here.

522 Bridge

522 Bridge is accessed from either Elliott Road on the south bank from Maltby, or Tester Road on the north bank from Monroe. Both the north bank and south bank are productive places to fish for Pinks and Coho. Anglers seem to catch plenty of salmon here while drift fishing corky/yarn or Dick Nite Spoons, also try casting #3 and #4 spinners for Coho.

Boating the Snohomish River


The lower Snohomish is easy to navigate and perfect for drift boats and row boats.

The river is navigable by quite a variety of boats, and during the peak of the popular Pink (Humpy) salmon run, it isn’t uncommon to see anything from large Bayliner boats to one man kayaks. The river has several boat launches, and countless spots that have become local fishing favorites over the years. The upper Snohomish is ruled by jet boat fishermen.

High Bridge Boat Launch

High Bridge boat launch on the lower Snoqualmie, just upriver from the confluence, is the key launch for anyone fishing Upper Rock, 522, Confluence, or the lower Skykomish.

Douglas Bar

Douglas Bar is a private gravel bar located 3 miles upriver from Snohomish. The landowners sell keys to their gate every season. “Doug Bar” is a popular place to launch boats and fish from the bank. Drift fishing Dick Nite Spoons is a productive method to catch Coho, and plunkers catch everything from Chum to Pinks to early Winter Steelhead. While this is a “pay-to-play” launch, it is a great alternative to the Maple Street Launch or Lowell Launch.

Cady Park Boat Launch

Maple Street Launch is located at Cady Park in downtown Snohomish. Head down 2nd Street and turn south on Maple Street, which ends at Cady Park. Parking is limited, the launch is steep, narrow and long. It is a complete circus during “Humpy” season, I would recommend avoiding this launch if you want to save your sanity.

Rotary Park Boat Launch

Lowell Launch is located in the southeast Everett neighborhood of Lowell at Rotary Park. It offers decent parking, but the launch itself can be tricky at low tide. I’ve seen trucks stuck in the tidal muck beyond the concrete ramp many times. It is a decent launch for small cartoppers and drift boats at any tide level, but owners of larger boats should plan their launching around the tides.

Everett Boat Ramp

10th Street Launch is maintained by the Port of Everett and is the largest launching facility in Puget Sound. It has 13 lanes and a huge parking area. Most fishermen that launch here fish the Puget Sound, but trolling in the lower Snohomish with wiggle wart plugs can also be a productive way of catching Coho.

Snohomish River Mapped

View Snohomish River in a larger map

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Andrew Moravec

Andrew Moravec has been sharing his passion for fishing with folks around the Pacific Northwest for over a decade. He has worked in the Tackle Industry as a buyer, managed a Sporting Goods Shop, as an Alaskan Fishing Guide, a Westport Deckhand, and currently is operating Fishing Charters in Seattle, Washington.
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  1. Great. Thank you for that information. When does the pink run usually start? When you mean the fish are less fresh are you talking about not being edible? contaminated?
    Sorry for all the questions I am originally from the east coast.
    As for regulation from the page.
    SALMON Aug. 16-Dec. 31
    Min. size 12″. Daily limit 3 plus 1 additional PINK. Release CHINOOK and CHUM

    Does that seem right for the area around 522?

    Thank you for helping out a newbie fisherman getting into salmon fishing.

  2. Avatar of Andrew Moravec

    Hello Albert!

    Yes, folks catch Pink Salmon through September, but the further into the month you fish the less fresh the fish are.

  3. Hello,

    Thank you for the article. I was wondering when does the pink salmon run end. Is it still plausible to fish till the end of September. I am going to try for the first time this weekend.

  4. Avatar of Andrew Moravec

    Hello Scott!

    I am not sure how many folks actually float from High Bridge (Snoqualmie River) downstream in a drift boat. I am pretty sure that is a very long drift down to Snohomish, and there are many areas that have very little current, other areas that are extremely shallow and woody. I would call Three Rivers Marine & Tackle in Woodinville (425) 415-1575 and get their opinion. There is a retired gentleman that runs shuttles on the Snohomish System, his name is Jerry home- (360) 668-6284 cell (425) 923-8807. I would recommend launching at Cady Park and rowing upriver. The lower river is tidal so there is no need for a put-in/take-out plan. Early in the season the lower river will have a higher concentration of Pink Salmon, the upper Snohomish opens 8/16 … Good Luck out there Scott!

    Andrew Moravec

  5. Avatar of Scott

    Hi Mark,

    I want to drift the Snohomish for pinks.

    If I launch at High Bridge where should I take out?
    I did read your advice on avoiding Maple street and Cady Park, …..alternatives?

    Also anyone you know who is providing shuttle service?


  6. chris /

    hey is the boat launch at three rivers trailer park on elliot rd public or private

  7. raye humphries /

    fred& christine Zylstra 1360 568 9429

  8. Avatar of Andrew Moravec

    As per the 2012/2013 WDFW Regulations, Chum Salmon can be retained in both the Skykomish & Snohomish River as part of the adult salmon daily limit. Good Luck out there!

  9. hello sir,i was just wondering if we can kept the chums this year on the snohomise river,and the skykomish river thank you for your time.

  10. Avatar of Andrew Moravec

    Mark, I wish I had some contact information for you… but I haven’t come across a website, email or phone. From everyone I’ve talked too, the only way to get a key is to drive down there to the house and inquire. Take a look at the Google map, you will notice the house with the blue roof, next to Craven Farm… you can even see cars, trucks and trailered boats driving out of the gate. Hope this helps a little!

  11. Helpful info, thanks. Do you happen to have any specific info about how to contact the land owners at Douglas Bar? I don’t want to fish, just take pictures of the action on the water. Thanks.


  1. Humpy Salmon Fishing on the Snohomish River | Riptidefish - [...] For a full listing, check out SNOHOMISH RIVER SALMON FISHING [...]

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