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.