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.
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.
Snohomish River Coho Fishing
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
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 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 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.
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 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 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 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.