I usually like to publish a fishing report at the beginning of each month, but I must’ve hit the snooze button! As you all know, things around the waters of Washington State really start to get interesting from mid-April on. We have a few really great fisheries that are open right now and many more that are just around the corner.
Puget Sound Salmon Fishing Report
Puget Sound is a little bit of a sleeper right now, we are past all of our brief Blackmouth openers and are awaiting upcoming Lingcod and Shrimp openers in May. One great April salmon fishing option is the Blackmouth season down in South Puget Sound. Marine Area 13 is open to salmon fishing right now. Fishing is a little on the slow side, but there have been some nice ones caught just south of the Narrows Bridge, at Point Fosdick and Point Gibson. Mooching and vertical jigging are favorite techniques down here, but trolling with downriggers is a good option too. I’d head down there with a 11″ Pro-Troll Lighted Flasher and a 3″ Kingfisher Herring Aide to start, or something similar.
Sekiu Salmon Fishing Closes but Opens for Halibut
We had an absolute blast up in Sekiu during our annual Blackmouth fishing trip last month. It looks like salmon fishing here is going to close a little bit earlier than scheduled, but only by a few days so let’s call that a win! We got surprised by a few chunky 40-50 pound Halibut that we released while Lingcod fishing in Area 4 during that trip, wish we could’ve kept em! Halibut fishing season in Sekiu’s Marine Are 5 is underway, for pretty much 5 days a week! Weather hasn’t cooperated much at all this season, but we should start seeing calm seas and blue skies more often once this winter-like weather passes.
Puget Sound & Strait Halibut Report
Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and San Juan Islands are deep in the middle of the early Halibut fishing season. Weather has been a determining factor on fishing here, but there have been enough openers aligning with decent weather days to see some impressive catches. According to the latest creel reports, it looks like fish checkers have been seeing about one Halibut per two boats… which isn’t bad! If the seas are calm, anchor up and send down a chump bag to draw in those Puget Sound Halibut.
Razor Clamming on the Washington Coast
Clamming on Washington’s Pacific beaches has been incredible this year so far. This is my favorite time of year to head to the coast for Razor Clams. With nicer weather and morning low tides, it makes for a fun time and great for the entire family. WDFW has announced many more digs for late April and May, all daytime digs which are my favorite! And from now through May 14, the daily Razor Clam limit has been increased from 15 to 20 per person.
Several Western Washington rivers are providing some great angling for Steelhead right now. The Skagit River & Sauk River in North Puget Sound have a few more days of fishing in them before the catch & release season draws to a close on April 30th. I would say this is your best shot at a true trophy Steelhead in Washington State but time is limited. WDFW regulations udpate.
Kalama River has a decent Wild Steelhead catch & release option right now, and we are just on the cusp of seeing the Spring Chinook return hit the river. Fishing up in the canyon from the bank has been decent, as well as floating from a drift boat or a pontoon in the typical mid-river drifts.
Cowlitz River late-return Winter Steelhead are offering up some action in the Barrier Dam and Blue Creek zones. Side drifting and bobber dogging has been effective, and like the Kalama, we should see some decent Springer fishing starting soon! On the week of April 10, Tacoma Power reported that they recovered over a thousand Winter Steelhead, two Summer Steelhead and eight Spring Chinook from their trap… it’s safe to say that there are still a bunch of fish in the river to catch!
Kokanee fishing in our favorite Western Washington lakes has been off to a slow start this year. Our spring weather has been way more frigid than normal, and these plankton eaters haven’t seen their lake water warm up enough to get them active, feeding and biting. With warmer days ahead that should all change, and lakes like Stevens, Washington, American, Whatcom and Cavanaugh should start to really take off!
Lowland Lake Fishing Opening Day is April 22
Saturday, April 22nd is a big deal for hundreds of thousands of Washingtonians to get out fishing on their local lake. Many of the lakes that are stocked by the WDFW will open for the first time in months, and many of them have been recently planted with catchable-sized trout. Last year, Washington state planted over 16 million trout and kokanee in its lakes and reservoirs, we should see similar numbers this year too! So dust of your best trout lures and get ready to hit the lake.
Not only is this arguably the easiest day of the year to catch something, but it also kicks off a statewide trout fishing derby. Tagged trout have been planted in lakes across the state, and if you catch one you can redeem the tag at a local shop for a prize, check out more information on the opening day and derby here.
Puget Sound & San Juan Islands Lingcod Season Opens May 1
This season is one of my personal favorites. The reefs and rocky zones of Puget Sound will soon be the focus of many saltwater anglers, as Lingcod season in the Salish Sea begins. I’ll probably hit up a few of my favorite spots near Seattle on opening day, but look forward to a trip to the San Juan Islands before salmon season distracts me in June. Check out my list of favorite Lingcod lures here, or for a full guide on how to fish for Lings in Puget Sound check this out.
Coastal Halibut Opens May 4
The race to Washington’s offshore Halibut grounds begins on Thursday May 4. All four ocean marine areas will open up this day, so the ports of Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay will be busy, and for good reason. This fishery is typically one of those home runs where limits are common and the chance to bring home a cooler full of fillets is expected. We’ve been busy in the shop rigging up some custom B2 Squid Halibut Rigs and Weight Sliders for the season.. check em out.
Spot Shrimping Season Openers Begin May 25
Puget Sound, Hood Canal, San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca reopen for Spot Shrimp on May 25. This is a hectic day on the water, with thousands of boats all working the deepwater dropoffs of the Salish Sea for those tasty Prawns. Some areas will only be open for one day, others have a more liberal season. For the full story, check out A Simple Guide to Washington’s 2023 Shrimp Seasons.
Seattle Fishing Co & Riptidefish Shop: What’s Hot List
With saltwater fishing season just about to pop off, we have been busy stocking up on all the in-demand gear, and tying up custom rigs for Halibut, Lingcod and Salmon. Both the Riptidefish Shop and our Seattle Fishing Co site offer the same gear, so check out whichever you prefer! We just added a free shipping option for orders over $100 too!
- Halibut Fishing Gear: Custom B2 Squid Rigs, Gamakatsu Halibut Leaders, Halibut Weight Sliders all tied up and live on both shops.
- Puget Sound Lingcod: Pitbull Tackle’s super durable Swimbaits in 5″, 6″ and 8″ rigged on a Pitbull Tackle UV Swimbait Jighead.
- Salmon Fishing Gear: Our first shipment of new Tomic Plug colors just landed and are already starting to sell out.
- Steelhead Fishing Tackle: We just got a restock of Steelhead Slammer Spinners, prepare yourself early for some epic summer run fishing.
It’s going to be a great couple weeks on the water! Enjoy your time out fishing, and if you have any questions or comments, drop us a line!