June is primetime on Washington’s marine waters. For this report, I’ve highlighted some of the current Salmon fishing options around Seattle, Tacoma and Everett and some really exciting upcoming openers in Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay. Halibut fishing has been good on the Coast, with ample quota remaining to extend the season by adding dates in June. Spot Shrimp openers are still coming for Hood Canal, Strait and part of the San Juan Islands. And we still patiently await the Puget Sound crab season! More to follow!
June 2023 Salmon Fishing Reports and Openers
Puget Sound Salmon Fishing Report
Late May and the beginning of the month brought a pile of salmon openers to marine areas in central and south Puget Sound. So far, reports have been pretty good all around. The next major openers in Puget Sound will be in Mid-July, as for what is opened now, here are a few reports below…
Tulalip Bubble Chinook Report – Marine Area 8-2
Until the Central Puget Sound Chinook opener in Mid-July, the Tulalip Bubble is the place to go Salmon fishing from Everett. This is a terminal fishery marked out around the mouth of Tulalip Bay, where the Tulalip Tribe operates a large hatchery operation. Because not all salmon that originate at the hatchery get fin-clipped, you can keep clipped or un-clipped Chinook Salmon here. You can also use your two-pole endorsement here. You can also keep two Chinook per person if you are that lucky! I myself must not be a very lucky person, because I have yet to tag out on Tulalip Bay Chinook, but the opportunity is a good one and it keeps me coming back multiple times a year.
One thing that makes this fishery unique from other areas of Puget Sound is that these Chinook Salmon that we target are at their final destination, the hatchery is on the saltwater and they just mill around the bay and dip out into the terminal fishing area. We see alot of Chinook caught in mid-water depths off the downriggers, not dredging bottom like we do most of the time elsewhere. Fish your favorite flasher/spoon, flasher/squid, flasher/fly combo, troll the 50′ line out to the 250′ line, stagger troll gear 40′ to 80′ as a starting guide.
The Bubble is open Fridays to noon on Mondays all summer long.
Seattle Resident Coho Salmon Fishing Report – Marine Area 10
Marine Area 10 opened on June 1, two weeks earlier than last year. Fishing started off pretty good, with decent action for Resident Coho. These are maturing salmon, and will add an inch every couple weeks through the summer, right now they are on the small side but still a great option for Seattle area anglers and they taste amazing.
On my last trip out, we caught our 3 person limit pretty quickly. We started at Jeff Head and picked up a couple there before moving to Richmond Beach. Fish early and fish shallow. Our action was spread out between 30′ and 45′ on the cable and plenty of grabs on the surface rod as well. For the surface rod I ran a 4 ounce mooching sinker to an 8″ Pro-Troll ProChip Flasher to an OG55R Hoochie with a strip of salted herring. The other setups were 11″ Pro-Troll Flashers paired with an Ace Hi Fly Herring Aide and a McOmie Pink Firetiger Spoon.
Tacoma & Vashon Chinook Salmon Fishing Report – Marine Area 11
Opening day for Marine Area 11 was a good one, with plenty of people catching salmon. There were reports of some really impressive Chinook, plus many in the 6 pound to 12 pound range, and a handful of Coho as well. After a really good start, the action died off considerably, but there were still big Chinook landed during open days. This area is only open Thursdays through Sundays as a means to extend the season as long as possible, we just finished our second weekend of the season and although a closure is imminent, it’s anybody’s guess when that will happen. Check the Marine Area 11 Emergency Rules for the latest udpate.
We have early season Chinook quota that is about triple last year’s and my guess is that at best we will get a couple more days June 15-18 but that will be it for the month.
The Marine Area 11 Chinook Quota is split to provide some June opportunity and a larger July opportunity, so even after it closes we will be up and running again later in the summer.
South Puget Sound Salmon Fishing Report – Marine Area 13
Salmon Fishing in Marine Area 13 has slowed down a bit, with a couple Chinook being checked in here and there, most of the boating pressure has shifted to Marine Area 11 since it opened. It sure is nice to have Point Fosdick or Point Gibson practically to yourself!
Neah Bay & La Push Salmon season opens June 17th
Marine Area 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) open for salmon fishing on Saturday June 17th. Salmon fishing will be open 7 days a week until the quota is reached. Recent reports from commercial salmon trollers is very encouraging for the early Chinook opener. Historically, salmon fishing is pretty good close to Neah Bay at Wadaah Island and the shoreline westward to Tatoosh Island, south along the coast in front of Makah Bay, and offshore at Swiftsure Bank.
Westport Salmon season opens June 24th
Following the Neah Bay & La Push openers, the Westport Salmon opener is Saturday June 24th. Also open seven days a week until the quota is reached. While La Push & Neah Bay are primarily for do-it-yourselfers, Westport has a boat basin full of charter boats ready to take people fishing. I spoke with Deep Sea Charters a few days ago and they had some openings on those first couple days, but once the reports start landing, I’m sure finding a seat on a salmon trip will be tough to come by.
Ilwaco Salmon season opens June 24th
If you want to take advantage of those Buoy 10 Chinook before the actual river mouth opens up, head to Ilwaco and make way to Marine Area 1, where salmon fishing opens June 24 this year for seven days a week.
Sekiu Salmon season opens July 1st
Sekiu was a busy little town last time I was there in March for Blackmouth fishing, and it’s been a great place to fish for Halibut lately. The next big deal is the July 1 Salmon opener. With Neah Bay reopened and back in business after Covid, hopefully some of the pressure drifts West and gives people around the Caves, Slip Point and Pillar Point some breathing room. Hatchery Chinook are the big draw in July, and eventually there will be so many Pink Salmon and Coho swimming near the docks that limits will be nearly guaranteed. Well worth a trip anytime between July 1 and the end of the season.
Eastern Straits Salmon season opens July 1st
Eastern Straits near Port Angeles and Sequim will open for salmon fishing July 1 this year. It’s a big area, and alot of the fishing takes place by locals but it is definitely a great place to plan a weekend. The western portion will kick off with Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery Coho, the eastern portion will be Hatchery Coho to start. And by late-July, the entire area will fill up with Pink Salmon as well.
Puget Sound & Hood Canal Summer Crab Season
We are still waiting for the final word on our summer crabbing season, and plan on posting about it as soon as we hear. We can count on the season starting in most of Puget Sound, Hood Canal and San Juan Islands sometime in early July, but we will wait and see exactly what that looks like.
Washington Shrimping Report & June Openers
While we saw all of the main Spot Shrimp areas open in late May, there are a few areas that host June dates. We have a planned June 22-24 in Marine Area 6 and Area 7 West, and June 24 & 28 in Hood Canal. There is always a chance that other areas will have added dates that weren’t initially published, so check out our post on Washington 2023 Shrimp Seasons and WDFW Shrimp Regulations.
Ocean Halibut Fishing Report
Marine Areas along the Pacific Coast have been seeing some pretty good Halibut fishing. While there were a few reports that the early portion of the season was slow in some areas, the number of Halibut landed per angler is about 1 Halibut per every 2 Anglers in the North Coast with over half the quota remaining, and a little better average along the South Coast (with a little less than half the quota remaining). Enough quota remains that WDFW has added more dates to the seasons for now, giving anglers an additional 6 June dates in North Coast and an additional 2 dates out of Ilwaco added to the general 2023 Washington Halibut Season.
Puget Sound & Strait Halibut Fishing Report
It’s been a decent year on the Halibut fishing front in the Straits and Puget Sound. It is kind of nice to know that if you feel like taking the boat out for Halibut, you don’t need to go all the way to battle ocean swells if you don’t feel like it.
Sekiu’s Marine Area 5, the Strait’s Marine Area 6, San Juan Islands’ Marine Area 7 and Puget Sound’s Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10 are all open to Halibut fishing seven days a week through the month of June. And it looks like there is plenty of quota to go.
Sekiu Halibut Report
Friends of mine went out a few weeks ago and had a great trip to Sekiu. Boat limits have not been a guarantee here, but fishing is good enough and there are enough large Halibut around to make it worth a trip. Last time I checked the WDFW Creel Reports on June 10, there was an average about a Halibut per boat, which is still pretty good. Fishing has been best on the deepwater spots off Pillar Point, but some have been fishing the mouth of the Sekiu River and doing well too.
Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Report
The offshore banks of the Strait have seen lighter pressure from the fleet, and while fishing isn’t white-hot, there are a handful of Halibut caught daily. If you only plan your fishing trips around seeing good catch rates in the creel report, you could miss out on that next fish-of-a-lifetime, like the 134 Pound Halibut caught in the Straits on Memorial Day Weekend.
Admiralty Inlet Halibut Report
It seems like fishing here has slowed down considerably, however there have been a few Halibut caught recently in Admiralty Bay and Mutiny Bay. So it may be a good time to give it a try while we wait for Marine Area 9’s mid-July Salmon Opener.
Kokanee fishing is the bright spot on Lake Washington right now, and some really chunky 16″ to 18″ Kokanee are being caught near the south end of Mercer Island in 100-130′ of water. Troll with dodgers and small wedding rings, tipped with tuna oil-soaked corn.
I’ve never fished the Skagit River in the summer before, so when I got an invite from Neils with River Dog Outfitters, I had to go! We fished for Summer Chinook and caught a couple really nice ones. While the Cascade River has a crowd of bank anglers, the pressure on the big river is pretty spread out. If you are fishing from the bank, float fishing cured eggs or swinging spoons & spinners are best. From the boat you can back-troll bait divers or plugs, or side drift. Awesome time with Neils and I’d highly recommend!
Seattle Fishing Co & Riptidefish Shop: What’s Hot List
- Salmon: The crew over at Krippled Lures USA sent us our first big order of the summer, and we have a bunch of new Anchovy & Herring Bait Helmets. Their UV and Chrome series are really fishy, I already pilfered a few to add to the classics that I normally fish. I prefer the Anchovy size for Anchovy, Green Label and Red Label Herring, and if I’m fishing Blue Label Herring or bigger I will go to the Herring size heads.
- Salmon: Brand new Pro-Troll Purple Hornet Lighted, Purple Hornet ProChip Fin and Silver Hornet ProChip Fin just showed up yesterday! The finned flashers are a must on the Lower Columbia River and coastal bays, but I have been running them in Puget Sound for years and like to add one to my troll spread for a different action.
- Salmon: Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoons are always a hot commodity during this time of year, and luckily we have a healthy horde of these awesome salmon producers.
- Halibut: Adding to our pre-rigged 8″ B2 Squid Halibut rigs, we just launched 7.5″ and 9″ Hoochie Skirt Halibut Rigs, with Gamakatsu Hooks, heavy mono leader and a triple crimp loop.
- Lingcod & Rockfish: Pitbull Tackle’s 4″, 5″, 6″ and 8″ Swimbaits have been so popular, that we decided to add ultra small Swimbait Jigheads (3/8oz – 3/4oz) and mega (8oz) to our normal lineup, so that we now cover pitching swimbaits from the jetty to deeper water sends.
- Summer Steelhead: I’ve been adding a few new colors of Steelhead Slammer Spinners on every order, and building up quite the selection on the site! Killer for Summer Steelhead.