Fishing in Washington State is busting out this spring! Coastal marine areas are drawing anglers with epic fishing for Lingcod and Rockfish. Lakes around the Seattle area and the rest of Western Washington are warming up, and fishing for Rainbow Trout, Cutthroat Trout, Kokanee, Bass and Panfish is as good as it gets! We get our earliest inland marine area Halibut season in recent memory, starting April 22. And with Coastal Halibut, Puget Sound Lingcod and Spot Shrimping coming up soon, there is plenty to plan and prep for!
We would love to hear a report or get a pic we can share, send to Andrew@riptidefish.com.
Neah Bay Lingcod and Rockfish
Although the Makah Reservation and Neah Bay’s harbor remains closed due to Covid precautions, anglers based out of Sekiu have been heading west to Marine Area 4 for some great fishing for Lingcod and Rockfish. Longer days, sunshine and beautiful weather has offered up a great fishing experience for those that make the long drive. The ability to fish Marine Area 5 for Chinook through April, or head to Marine Area 4 for Lingcod and Rockfish have make Sekiu a popular destination this spring. Sekiu Blackmouth fishing has offered up some impressively large salmon for those willing to make the drive.
Westport Lingcod and Rockfish
Early season Lingcod and Rockfish are always snappy, it’s usually the marine forecast that is the big question mark. I spoke with Captain Nick Clayton of All Rivers and Saltwater Charters for a Westport update. April has already offered Westport anglers with many days of calm ocean conditions. Most Westport charters are finding boat limits of both Lingcod and Rockfish. Nick and the other ARSC captains are heading out to catch flounder first thing in the morning. The live-bait Lingcod game has been outstanding this spring! Can’t wait to hit the coast again!
Sekiu Chinook Salmon Fishing Report
At the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sekiu has been a bright spot for Blackmouth anglers this spring. Local angler John Beath, owner of Squidlures.com has been fishing Sekiu consistently since the March 1 opener and has his thumb on the pulse more so than any other angler I know. Blackmouth Salmon fishing has slowed down somewhat in Sekiu, but Chinook Salmon move in and out of the area. Each day has offered a different experience, and when a new school flushes into Sekiu, it can provide hard bites and strong runs. Not time to give up on this fishery!
The Caves toward the West has produced the biggest fish up to 17 pounds. The troll from Pillar to Slip Point has also produced some nice Blackmouth. In both areas best contour line has been the 120 to 140 line with gear on the deck. Best lures for John have been his Flutter King spoons and mini 4-inch Kajiki squids. Leader lengths have been 28 to 32 inches.
Remeber, Marine Area 4 is open for bottomfish, not salmon. Marine Area 5 is open for salmon, not bottomfish. So you will need to drop off your catch at Sekiu from one area before heading to another area, if you plan on fishing both marine areas in the same day. Check out WDFW Puget Sound Creel Reports for the past day’s fishing run-down.
Seattle Area Kokanee Fishing Report
While early April’s cool weather did chill down the Kokanee bite, we are now seeing some amazing weather and Seattle area lakes are starting to warm up. Brianna Bruce of Livin’ Life Adventures has experienced some great trout fishing on Lake Stevens, and as of mid-month the Kokanee fishing action has been building. Some days have been absolutely great!
American Lake is getting good as well. First thing in the morning, if you aren’t marking Kokanee, start shallow and work your way down to the 25′ to 40′ depths by mid-morning. If you are searching for a good spread of popular Kokanee lures, check out this post: My All Time Favorite Kokanee Lures.
Seattle Area Lake Fishing Report
Many of our area’s most popular fishing lakes are open year round, and Seattle based anglers have been out finding great fishing already! Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish have been producing Cutthroat Trout for those that troll and the first signs of spring bass fishing action, as well as decent fishing on the tail end of our winter perch season (no limit on those!). Beaver Lake in Sammamish, Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend, Angle Lake in Sea Tac, Lake Alice in Fall City and Blackmans Lake in Snohomish have been great bets with planter trout. There are many other lakes already open, almost too many to mention!
Brad Hole of Kayak Fishing Washington has been dialing in his Crappie fishing game, and reports that they have been a little fickle early in April with the cooler water temps. Most of the fish he has marked has been in the 18′ to 24′ depth range, vertical jigging has produced some catches but the real action will build once we get a little water warm up (happening now!). The magic number is 58 degrees, once we see that it will get good. For all you kayak enthusiasts, there is a Kayak fishing derby on Black Lake at the end of the month with an $1800 purse! Get on it! Contact Kayakfishingwashington.com for more information.
Opening Day for Trout Fishing is April 24th on many Washington Lakes
The big day for many of our favorite lowland lakes is the last Saturday in April, this year it’s the 24th. The trout opener is one of the funnest and most jovial experiences we have on our fishing calendar. WDFW staff are busy bees this time of year, driving to hundreds of lakes around the state, planting catchable Rainbow Trout.
The first couple weeks of the season offer easy fishing. This is the best time of the year for fishing newcomers! Check out the WDFW Catchable Trout Report page for stocking reports on your local lakes. Many of our lakes have great shoreline access for those without a small boat. Fishing with Powerbait on a slip sinker rig is the all-time favored technique, but there are many other options! For a list of great lures, check out this post: The Very Best Trout Fishing Lures for the Pacific Northwest and Beyond.
Cowlitz River Steelhead Fishing
Spring Steelhead fishing was pretty darned good for both the boat anglers and shore-bound anglers around the Blue Creek area. Guide Matt Chandler with Get Hooked NW expects the Spring Steelhead run offer up good catches through the end of April. Anglers are already starting to see a few Summer Steelhead move into the system, so let’s hope fishing stays good!
Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing Report
Fishing in the Portland area has slowed down a bit, but those that put in their time on areas that are opened are finding a few fish! Guide Josiah Darr has been grinding out a few nice fish. If you want a chance at some of the best table fare in the Pacific Northwest, get in touch with him!
Puget Sound Halibut Season 2021
Big Halibut are always on the minds of Washington saltwater anglers. Marine waters in Puget Sound, San Juan Islands and the Strait of Juan de Fuca get to fish for halibut earlier this year than we have seen in a very long time. Halibut migrate out of our inner marine areas towards the ocean, but this ultra-early opener gives us a shot at better concentrations of fish in protected waters.
Marine Area 5 – Sekiu: Open May 6 – May 22, Thursdays and Saturdays, more openings on Memorial Day weekend and some June days.
Marine Area 6-10 – Eastern Straits, San Juan Islands, Admiralty Inlet, Puget Sound: Open April 22 – May 22, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays.
Upcoming: May 2021 Fishing Openers
May fishing options should get you pretty excited this year! Lots of saltwater fisheries opening throughout our inland marine waterways!
May 1: Puget Sound Lingcod Fishing
Lingcod opens May 1 – June 15 in Marine Areas 5 (Sekiu), 6 (Eastern Straits), 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Saratoga Passage), 8-2 (Everett and Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle and Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma and Vashon) and 13 (Deep South Sound). Daily limit of 1, with a slot limit of 26″ to 36″.
May 19: Puget Sound, Hood Canal and San Juan Islands Spot Shrimp Season
Shrimping is one of my all-time favorites and we are less than a month away from soaking pots! Puget Sound, Hood Canal, San Juan Island and Strait of Juan de Fuca marine areas open for shrimping May 19th this year. Puget Sound has a one day opener, Hood Canal has five days, and areas further out have more opportunity. We may see more openings added later, although the popularity of this fishery has exploded in the last few years, so get out if you can! Check out WDFW Shrimp Seasons page for the most updated regulations. If you want more information on shrimping in Washington, check out Puget Sound Spot Shrimp and How to Catch Spot Shrimp. If you haven’t been, you are in for a treat!
Washington Coast Halibut Season 2021
Pacific Ocean marine areas open for Halibut fishing May 6.
- Marine Areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay): May 6 to May 22, Thursdays and Saturdays, plus more dates for Memorial Day Weekend and in June. North Coast Halibut Seasons and Regulations.
- Marine Area 2 (Westport): May 6 to, Thursdays and Sundays, plus more dates for Memorial Day Weekend and in June. South Coast Halibut Seasons and Regulations.
- Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco): May 6 to May 23, Thursdays and Sundays, plus more dates for Memorial Day Weekend and in June. Columbia River Halibut Seasons and Regulations.
- As in years past, all Washington marine area Halibut seasons are set based on a quota, so if the quota is met in a marine area it may close early. Check out individual area season pages listed above or the general Recreational Bottomfish and Halibut Regulations Page.
Best of luck out there everyone!