Tag Archives: Seattle

seattle-puget-sound-chinook-fishing

Jeff Head Chinook July 27

We worked hard all morning at Point No Point, worked our gear along the outside of the moochers right at the Point and westbound towards Skunk Bay, but didn’t really see much happening. We tagged a beautiful Wild Chinook and released it, but nothing for the fish box.

On the way back in we spotted a really fishy looking tide rip. There were birds diving on bait so it appeared to be a good spot to stop for a bit. Five minutes into the troll, we hooked a really hefty Chinook that bit a Cookies & Cream Spoon at 125′. What a way to wrap up the morning trip!

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Kingston & President Point Salmon Report July 17

We had a decent morning bite along the shoreline between the Kingston Ferry Dock and President Point this morning. The tide was outgoing until the 9am tide change, we trolled in 125′ of water with our gear spread out at 60′, 75′, 90′ and 110′.

We ended up with two nice Chinook and two Coho before the morning tide change, then moved up into the Kingston Bowl and lost our third Chinook. Fishing for most was a little challenging, but we were marking plenty of bait and fish, so we rode it out through the early afternoon. With a blue sky and plenty of summer sunshine illuminating the water column, we ran gear that was low profile and conducive to the conditions. We ran clear UV flashers (Jelly Crush and Moon Jelly), and behind for the lure we ran small Kingfisher Spoons or Ace Hi Flies or small while herring rigged to spin.

Fishing reports for the area weren’t that hot, so we felt very fortunate to get the salmon opportunities that we encountered.

We also ended up with a haul of Dungeness Crab to top off our day!

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Seattle Chinook Salmon Fishing

Puget Sound Chinook Fishing Report July 16

Today was the first day to catch and keep Chinook Salmon in Puget Sound, what an exciting day! We had a pretty thrilling day on the water, we moved around to a few of my favorite spots and found a little action. There was an incoming tide in the morning with the tide change happening right at 8am. We cruised up to the lighthouse at Point No Point and made the southbound troll to Pilot Point. My expectations were high for opening day, but I saw very little action among the boats in the area. We did hook up to a healthy Chinook. The rod started to shake violently in the holder, Mitch popped the line out of the downrigger release clip, handed it to a guest, but it shook the hook mid-fight. Hooked up on a Cookies & Cream 3.5″ Kingfisher Spoon behind a Jelly Crush Flasher. We didn’t give the area much time before heading over to Possession’s West Bar.

We started fishing south of the Scatchet Buoy, hooked another Chinook but just as the first one, it didn’t make it to the boat. Reports from a few friendly faces in nearby boats were dismal, so dismal that not only did I feel lucky to get a hookup there, but also gave me the inclination that if we stayed, we probably wouldn’t put too many fish into the net. So we made our final move.

After the tide change, we moved south to Kingston to finish up our day. There were quite a few boats working the area between the ferry route and Apple Cove Point, and we joined the fray to try our luck. We deployed our gear and instantly hooked a Chinook! With a little coaching, a patient angler on the rod, and a good net job, we had our first Chinook in the boat for the Puget Sound summer season! We altered our gear a little, and had a spread of four lines with flashers and whole-rigged herring, Kingfisher Spoons and Ace-Hi Flies. We found a flurry of activity for the next hour. The tide change to outgoing really made the fish in the Kingston area turn on, and we saw numerous salmon get caught on the troll and by those mooching. When it was all said and done we had hooked a total of five Chinook at Kingston and landed three. After dropping off the morning crew and returning to Kingston with our afternoon group, we picked up on the tail end of the bite and hooked another three, of those two went in the net, one was a Wild Chinook that was carefully released, the other was a Hatchery Chinook that was kept.

The final count for our boat during the Puget Sound Chinook opener was ten confirmed Chinook hooked & fought, four Hatchery Chinook kept, one Wild Chinook released… a stellar day for our crew!

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Seattle Salmon Fishing Report July 14

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.

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Seattle Crabbing Report July 5

As the locals say, our Seattle summer always officially begins on July 5, because it always rains on the Fourth. For us Puget Sounders, its our way of poking fun at the misfortune we all have when it comes to the weather; April showers brings May…. Showers, then we enjoy a little June gloom, but the day after we get rained out during our Independence Day celebrations… Then summer unofficially begins.

I, on the contrary, consider the opening day of crabbing on the Puget Sound to be the official kick off to MY Seattle summer. Thursday was the day!

We have set and pulled four pots just outside the Shilshole Bay Marina breakwater on Thursday and Friday. Results were mixed. My go to zone is 65′ to 80′ around the Ballard zone, that is where I have always done well and that is where we focused this week. I found a keeper or two per pot on the northern breakwater, and two or three keepers per pot on the southern end near the ship canal channel markers, which I was happy with.

Plenty of folks in all manner of watercraft were pulling pots in the area as well, many were doing poorly but I think almost everyone found at least a couple.

We moved over to Bainbridge today and found the mother load! It was common to find three to five keepers per pot, so we reached our boat limit quickly. The eastern side of Bainbridge doesn’t get fished as hard as the areas
close to Ballard due to the close proximity to the marina and boat launch. We alternated baiting with raw chicken, salmon carcasses and flounder. It didn’t seem to matter, all baits produced about the same. On average we kept about eight or ten crab per mornin g or afternoon outing! Lots of happy faces on our boat these past few days!

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Puget Sound Spot Shrimp Season 2014

Harvesting your own food is one of the great benefits of living in the Pacific Northwest. And for all of the seafood aficionados reading this, one of our region’s true delicacies is about to open for harvest. Fishing season for Spot Shrimp opens at the beginning of May. Here are the details.

Spot Shrimp in our inland marine areas are regulated on a quota system. The season is determined based on the health of the shrimp population and is split between tribal, non-tribal commercial and recreational users. Once the quota is set, potential user interest in the season is used to decide the number of days that we can fish in each marine area. Being such a sought-after shellfish, and being in such a heavily populated area where many folks enjoy boating and fishing, the seasons near Seattle, Tacoma and Everett are a mere few days.

Fish & Wildlife managers will assess the catch from the listed dates and decide whether to offer us an extended season. Get prepared early, take the day off of work, and go shrimping for a couple days!

For the full skinny from WDFW check out the OFFICIAL WDFW NEWS RELEASE

We will be launching a series of posts in the next month with tons of great information, tips & strategies that will help you catch more Spot Shrimp in Puget Sound this year!

Marine Area 8-1 Deception Pass, Saratoga Passage

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm

Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 8-2 Port Susan, Everett, Mukilteo

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm
Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 9 Admiralty Inlet, Possession Bar

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm

Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 10 Seattle & Bremerton

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm
Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm

Marine Area 11 Tacoma & Vashon Island

Saturday May 3: 7am-3pm
Wednesday May 7: 7am-3pm
Saturday May 10: 7am-3pm
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[table caption=”Everett Tides” width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Date,Tide,Tide,Tide,Tide
May 3,2:41am 6.1’L,7:37am 9.2’H,2:20pm -0.6’L,9:42pm 10.8’H
May 7,12:11am 10.2’H,7:06am 5.2’L,11:42am 7.1’H,5:41pm 2.6L
[/table]
[table caption=”Seattle Tides” width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Date,Tide,Tide,Tide,Tide
May 3,2:42am 6.2’L,7:36am 9.5’H,2:21pm -0.6’L,9:41pm 11.1’H
May 7,12:10am 10.5’H,7:07am 5.2’L,11:41am 7.3’H,5:42pm 2.6L
[/table]
[table caption=”Tacoma Tides” width=”500″ colwidth=”100″
colalign=”left|left|left|left|left”]
Date,Tide,Tide,Tide,Tide
May 3,2:45am 6.2’L,7:44am 10.0’H,2:27pm -0.7’L,9:43pm 11.6’H
May 7,12:14am 11.0’H,7:03am 5.4’L,11:48am 7.8’H,5:51pm 2.6’L
May 10,2:22am 11.1’H,9:11am 2.7’L,3:21pm 9.0’H,8:48pm 4.4’L
[/table]

andrew-moravec-spot-shrimp

Puget Sound Spot Shrimp

Catching Spot Shrimp in Puget Sound

Our Northwest waters provide us with arguably one of the most delectably succulent shellfish found anywhere. The Spot Shrimp thrive in our protected Sound, our expansive Straits, our San Juan Archipelago, and in the Pacific near the edge of the continental shelf. These large shrimp abound in the heavy tidal currents of our main waterways, and they are prized for their flavor. This coldwater species is called by many names: Alaska Spot Prawn, Sitka Spot Prawn, Puget Sound Spot Shrimp. They are even referred to as Puget Sound Lobster and while we must remember they are technically a shrimp, their larger size and sweet robust flavor makes the comparison understandable. Spot Shrimp average 3 to 6 inches, and with a generous limit of 80 Spot Shrimp per person here in Washington the time, effort and cost of becoming a shrimper is well worth it.

About Puget Sound Spot Shrimp

Spot Shrimp thrive in the depths of Puget Sound. While many shrimp species are found in shallow waters, Spot Shrimp live in deeper water. Most Puget Sound shrimpers will target Spot Shrimp at 200-350 feet. Spot Shrimp are the largest shrimp species in Puget Sound, with an average body length of three to five inches.

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Shrimp Pots

There are numerous manufacturers of shrimp pots, from local garage operations to major importing companies. All recreational shrimp pots must meet WDFW shrimp gear requirements. I highly recommend purchasing a quality pot built by a local company, those that are based in the Pacific Northwest, Alaska or British Columbia will understand the unique challenges that we must face when we go shrimping. I would recommend pots made by Ladner, Beau Mac and McKay; all are located here and each offers a variety of great designs. Ladner offers a pot that has a rigid frame wrapped with a soft mesh net which can be loosened so that pots can be stacked one-inside-the-other like a stack of disposable coffee cups (Very convenient for storage on the boat). Due to the extreme depths that Spot Shrimp live at, weighing down pots so they aren’t swept away by the current is essential.

Many pots are lost each season due to being improperly rigged. It pays to understand the currents in your area. For example, while shrimpers in Edmonds or Mukilteo may be just fine with ten or fifteen pounds of weight, if you travel to shrimp in the heavy currents of the San Juan Islands, you will need at least double that to ensure your pots will not drift away. As the currents push at your lines, a pot can even slightly drag along the bottom, and shrimp will be less prone to enter. Pots should weigh 10 pounds to 30 pounds, depending on how severe the tidal movement and currents are in the area.

Lines

Most shrimpers use standard 1/4″ yellow poly rope (oyster rope). It is relatively inexpensive, and is available in 400 foot rolls. The disadvantage with yellow poly rope, it floats. In Puget Sound’s crowded shrimp fishery, floating slack line often ends up in boat propellers, or wrapped with other pots. It is important to use some form of line weight to limit these problems. As you tend the line as the pot drops into the deep, snap on a pound of lead to the poly line. While this will draw the excess line downward, the disadvantage is seen when using an electic winch, you will have to be vigilant and be prepared to remove the weight before it reaches your gavit block. Due to tidal fluctuations and currents, it is a good idea to have some excess rope, but 400′ of rope in 200′ of water is asking for trouble unless you use a leaded line.

A popular alternative to yellow poly rope is leaded line. Leaded line is more expensive but it is well worth the extra cost, it ensures that there isn’t any floating slack. Many Puget Sound veteran crabbers will take their leaded rope for crabbing, build loops at each end, and link it into longer stretches for shrimping.

Storing lines can be a challege, and keeping everything ship shape and organized is important. We use large laundry tubs (in pics) and designate someone to coil each line as the pot is pulled. A large garden hose reel can be a great way to store all of your lines. Just stap the top line to the first pot, and remember to snap in a buoy before throwing overboard! Multiple lines can be neatly wrapped on a reel if you can purchase one large enough.

Pot Pullers

Pulling shrimp pots by hand isn’t feasible by most people’s standards. With strict time constraints in Puget Sound and Hood Canal, managing one’s time leads to limits. There are many great electric and gas powered models on the market. Do a little research, find one that will mount easily to your boat, and you’re ready! If you cannot justify the cost of a power puller, at least look into purchasing a davit (a davit is an arched apparatus that you will see in several of these pictures, it is the metal arm that extends out past the gunnel and keeps the pot from scratching your boat, makes hand pulling easier as well)

Bait

Ask 10 veteran shrimper’s what their recipe for success is and likely you will get 10 veteran shrimpers who keep their hard-earned bait recipes a secret. But guaranteed they would all have something a little different soaking in their pots during opening day. The most common shrimp bait available is pellet baits, which resembles dog food. These baits leech out scent slowly, and would be great if we could soak our pots overnight, or for longer periods.

Since we in Puget Sound have only a few precious hours each day, creating a mixture that leeches out scent quickly is important. Blend up a mixture of pellet bait, mackerel, seafood flavored wet catfood to start…eventually every shrimper will have their own secret recipe.

Tending the Pots

Soak each pot for two or three hours, pull and repeat. Make sure not to crowd other pots, be respectful for your neighbors. Puget Sound and Hood Canal get extremely crowded on days when shrimping is open. Make sure your buoys are highly visible, and unique. Being able to recognize your buoys by special markings or flags will save time, and the potential for a lost pot. Each limit in Puget Sound must be kept in a separate container. It is easiest to sort as you go, this keeps the danger of overharvesting from being an issue.

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