Possession Bar Salmon Fishing near Whidbey Island, Washington
Possession Bar is one of the most storied salmon fishing areas in all of Puget Sound. In essence, this massive shelf is an underwater extension of Whidbey Island. The tides push heavy against it, as it is located where Admiralty Inlet, Possession Sound and Central Puget Sound intersect. Why we as fishermen care about this, is currents bring us bait and bait brings us salmon. Concentrations of Herring and Sand Lance gives us great salmon fishing year round. Here, you can catch Summer Chinook, Winter Chinook, Coho, Chum and Pink Salmon.
Where is Possession Bar?
Possession covers a large area, but essentially it is the entire underwater shelf off the southernmost points of Whidbey Island. Scatchet Head marks the West Bar and Possession Point marks the eastern edge of the bar. Possession is 13 miles North of Shilshole Marina in Seattle. It’s 5 miles Northwest of Edmonds Marina. You will be cruising a total of 11 miles to the Southwest from the Everett Marina. The entirety of Possession Bar is located in Washington’s Marine Area 9.
Possession Bar Salmon Fishing Map
Chinook Salmon Fishing at Possession Bar
Chinook Salmon can be found at Possession all year long, but it’s the big Summer fish that catch the most attention. Fishing here can be amazing during the first few days of the summer season. But the gravy doesn’t always come so easy. Fishing is optimal when the tides are big, causing crazy currents that cross the bar and make trolling along the edge in the prime 100′-200′ zone challenging.
West Possession Bar
I fish the West Bar on an incoming tide. Once the tide starts to flood in, bait will start to build in the 200′-250′ zone and eventually push up onto the western edge of the bar. If I’m trolling, I usually start around the Green Can at Scatchet Head and troll southbound. Sometimes I start way north by Indian Point, and that strategy has paid huge dividends at times. You can troll as far down the westside of the bar as you wish.
Mooching here can be good on the West Bar. I usually like to show up right after the tide starts to flood, and will have a short window of potentially great fishing before max-flood blows you out. The currents build to a point where you can’t even get down. Beware of the dastardly Dogfish, which can concentrate here by the bazillion and make mooching impossible for a portion of the summer season. To learn more about mooching, check out this post.
Tin Shed is the deep bowl that separates West Bar and East Bar. Fishing can be really good here, especially on an outgoing tide. I think that there are a lot of Chinook that follow the bait up and over the West Bar and both get stuck in the Tin Shed. Currents can still be heavy here, so be prepared. Troll along the edges of the Tin Shed in the 100′-220′ zone. Just like the rest of Possession, Chinook can be caught near the bottom in the gravel or anywhere in the middle of the water column.
East Possession Bar
East Possession Bar is a popular haunt for much of the Everett based fleet. You can fish it on an outgoing tide, just like Tin Shed. However, it is closer and less exposed.
Bait Box is located right off the steep shelf north of the Possession Point Green Can. It can produce the occasional Chinook, but is a favorite for Coho.
When I’m fishing for Chinook in the winter, I’ll fish the same areas and run the same strategies I use in the summer with one big exception. I run my gear right on the bottom in the gravel, as most of the Chinook (Blackmouth) are feeding off Sand Lance.
Coho Salmon Fishing at Possession Bar
Coho headed to all points south and east stop for the Herring buffet at Possession Bar. Whether I’m headed out into the shipping lanes to the West, the entrance to Possession Sound to the East, or anywhere on the Bar itself, I want maximum tidal swings that produce tide rips Coho can be anywhere, but when we get big tides, it’s more obvious where the bait is going to be concentrated. I don’t look for the deep water bait that gets us excited during Chinook season, I want the weed lines and rips!
Pink Salmon Fishing at Possession Bar
Pinks come in on odd-numbered years (2019, 2021, 2023) and push over Possession by the hundreds of thousands to millions some years. Fishing the upper 100 feet in open water all around the edges of Possession can be very good. Troll slow and run small pink plastic squid behind a dodger or flasher. You won’t have trouble catching them if they show up in any measurable numbers.