August is all about Salmon fishing in Puget Sound and the rest of Washington State. Every corner of the state has a robust and happening salmon fishery going on right now. On top of that, crabbing has been good, lake anglers are cooling off in the evenings with some pretty incredible Largemouth Bass action, and way out on the Washington Coast, Albacore Tuna and Halibut fishing add to the big opportunities we have going on right now. Get in on the action.
Port Townsend & Admiralty Inlet’s Marine Area 9 Fishing Report
Marine Area 9 fishing has been pretty good, and the lion’s share of the Chinook have been caught out of Mid Channel Bank, Craven Rock and other points north. Point No Point, Possession and other Marine Area 9 spots have put out some nice fish as well. It looks like our quota is nearly spent, and we should expect Marine Area 9 to be a Hatchery-Coho-Only show here really soon. I chatted with Joey Pyburn of The Outdoor Line about his recent trips and it sounds like there are a handful of Ocean Coho starting to push into Puget Sound, which will fill in the void once Chinook season here ends. Check out Puget Sound Coho Salmon – Guide to Success.
Seattle’s Marine Area 10 Salmon Report
Salmon fishing has really heated up in the first few days of August. Marine Area 10’s Jeff Head has been very consistent for Chinook and Coho, and other local spots like Richmond Beach, Boeing Creek, Oil Docks, Kingston, Meadow Point and Bainbridge Island’s Eastside have also starting to see some salmon action. Captains Cary Hoffman, Mike Ainsworth, Sean Bowman and myself of Best Seattle Fishing have seen good fishing in the past couple days, and are hopeful that it will stay this good for a while!
Starting in late July, trolling Tomic Plugs with 150′ to 225′ on the cable has been the go-to for Chinook, but the last couple days have seen a flood of new Chinook enter Area 10 as well as a good Coho bite. Lately, all conventional gear like a Pro-Troll Flasher paired with a Kingfisher Spoon, Ace-Hi Fly or Trolling Squid have been productive for the Chinook and Coho mix. As these August Chinook and Coho push into Puget Sound, fishing can be as good at 60′ as it is at 200′, so don’t think all your gear needs to be working the bottom. We have Chinook quota left to expect the season to be open for a while, hopefully until the final season end date of August 31. Get out now!
Tacoma’s Marine Area 11 Salmon Report
Tacoma and Vashon Island’s Marine Area 11 reopened after epic fishing in July forced a pause in the season to save some Chinook quota for later in the season. Early reports have been very impressive. As with all Washington Chinook fisheries, keep an eye on WDFW emergency rule changes for any surprise closures. Captain Justin Wong of Cut Plug Charter and his boats know this area well, and have fine-tuned the most effective techniques for this area, mooching and jigging. For mooching, a 3-5 Ounce Mooching Sinker with a quality cut-plug herring and a mooching leader is what will get it done at Point Defiance, Clay Banks, Dalco, Gig Harbor and the other great MA11 haunts. For an alternative to mooching or trolling, jigging a 3.5 ounce or 4.5 ounce Puget Pounder Jig can be productive. The beauty of jigging is you can work a specific depth non-stop and are a great option if you start mooching and the Dogfish bite is too much to effectively mooch.
South Sound’s Marine Area 13 Salmon Report
Reports from the most Southern area of Puget Sound have been quiet, but this is most likely because it is no longer the only area open for salmon. The few reports that I’ve heard have been good, and Chinook are being caught daily around Fox Island, Nisqually Reach and Point Fosdick by the local fleet of Marine Area 13 die-hards. Mooching has been a struggle with all the Dogfish that have moved in, but jigging and trolling with no scent and no bait has been productive.
San Juan Islands Marine Area 7 Salmon Report
The San Juan Islands saw great Chinook fishing during the July openers, which filled our quota. Marine Area 7 will open to Coho fishing on August 16th and it should be good! Keep an eye on the Bellingham Bay terminal Chinook fishery, as this option is a good one!
Puget Sound Crabbing Report
Fresh caught summer Dungeness Crab feels like pretty much a birth-right for Puget Sound residents. Those summer crab boils really are a hallmark of the Pacific Northwest, and the reward is well worth dropping a couple crab pots, whether you are enjoying a lazy day at the beach cabin or on your way out salmon fishing. Everyone has been reporting good crabbing around Whidbey, Camano, Everett and into Central Puget Sound. Check out the Riptidefish posts on Puget Sound Crabbing, 2022 Puget Sound Crab Seasons, Crab Pot Rigging and How to Cook Dungeness Crab for some great motivation!
Westport Salmon and Tuna Fishing
Westport Salmon: Westport, Washington’s 2022 salmon season has been one for the history books. Not only has salmon fishing been great, but most of the Chinook caught have been of high-grade. I got a report from Allan Palmerson of CCO Sportfishing and not only has the first half of the Westport season been amazing, but he has very motivating news for the rest of the 2022 summer. For July and early August, Chinook fishing has remained strong. They are running out to the 300′ line (about 15 miles from port) and finding fast action for Chinook with the downriggers deployed to 150′ to 225′. Flasher and Ace-Hi Fly or Trolling Squid Rig has been the best setup. In the last few days, good sized Coho have entered the catch in really strong numbers, and they are catching them on a cut-plug herring on a diver setup at 25′ to 35′ setback.
Westport Albacore Tuna: The sportfishing and charter fleet has recently experienced the first big push of Albacore Tuna within range. Early August trips have been very rewarding for crew that head out 40 to 50 miles from Westport, mainly due-West, West-by-Southwest, and due-Southwest. Trolling has been effective, and for those that make that needed ultra-fast conversion from trolling to live-bait after the first troll hookup have been seeing hauls of 20 to 40 Albacore brought back to dock! Amazing fishing, and hopefully this will stay consistent through August and beyond!
North Coast – La Push, Neah Bay and Sekiu Fishing
La Push (Marine Area 3): One of the most remote marine areas in Washington State, and fishing here is usually as good as it gets in the Lower 48! John Thiel of Alpha Angler Charters has been operating daily out of La Push and has seen great salmon fishing since the recent reopener. Chinook have been an easy catch North of The Rockpile and he is expecting Coho fishing to pick up soon. Lingcod and Rockfish have been an easy catch and that action is absolutely on fire on his charter trips. Halibut will reopen on August 11 through September 5 in MA3 (5 days a week, Thursdays to Mondays).
Neah Bay (Marine Area 4): Fishing for Lingcod and Rockfish is an easy bet here. As of August 1, Marine Area 4 in the ocean West of the Tatoosh line is open for Chinook and Hatchery Coho and fishing in the first couple days of the month has been steady! In Marine Area 4 inside of Tatoosh Island is open for Hatchery Coho and is also well worth a trip. Halibut will reopen on August 11 through September 5 in all of MA4 (5 days a week, Thursdays to Mondays).
Sekiu (Marine Area 5): Chinook fishing has been great in Sekiu. Consistent fishing near the harbor at Slip Point, Mussolini Rock, The Caves and Pillar Point. Chinook season is scheduled to last until August 15th, hopefully we get the full season before the quota is filled. From August 11 through September 5, Halibut fishing will reopen 7 days a week.
Washington August Bass Fishing Report
Doug Saint Denis with 365 Charters is my go-to Washington Bass Guide (as well as a great Puget Sound Captain and River Guide). He reports that Bass fishing in the heat of August requires full-blown summertime tactics. If you are fishing a lake that allows you to be on the water at daylight, take advantage of that. Topwater poppers, frogs and popper frogs will produce first thing in the morning. Doug suggests topwater poppers in the color of the bait on your lake, like perch or kokanee. Topwater frogs and frog poppers will do well in a variety of patterns. Look for areas of the lake the grass is just starting to touch the top of the water. If you have lily pads even better, fish those hard!
Once the sun comes up, you’re either going to play the “shade and cover” game or go deep. Bass will either move to shade or go deep.
For docks and shoreline cover (anywhere a bass might get under cover), I would look to throw weightless wacky senko’s, jigs, swim jigs, etc. I really like throwing drop shot around docks and pontoon boats as well. A note on weightless senko… If you’re good at skipping, they can really get under those docks!
If the fish are not playing well around the docks, go deep. Look for ledges or underwater islands bass will gravitate to. I have found them as deep as 30′ in August. My preferred technique here is drop shot. Try wacky rigged senko,3″ minnow, or even dream shot. Get really finesse!
Columbia River’s Buoy 10 Salmon Opener
Captain Matt Chandler of Get Hooked NW is eager to start his Buoy 10 season and shared some great intel on this world-class fishery. The lowest management area of the Columbia River is opening for salmon on August 1, where Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery Coho will be open for harvest. Anglers can keep Hatchery or Wild Chinook starting August 25. Heavy currents in the lower Columbia mean that the captain needs to be on his A-game as far as boat control around all the other boats, and the gear needs to be dialed in to effectively fish. On the heaviest tides, Matt will use either spinners or bait trolled behind a triangle flasher. On average to mild tides, he switches to Pro-Troll 360 Flashers, with or without the fin depending on conditions. He always has plenty of lead onboard, and running up to 6 rods requires that he puts the heaviest leads on the bow rods to keep them out of the mid-ship and stern rods. He suggests stocking up on 12 to 20 ounce cannonball sinkers.
Columbia River Chinook Fishing
Todd Daniels of Tall Tails Guide Service always places himself in the best fisheries throughout the year, and he’s definitely going to be a familiar face on the Lower Columbia around Woodland, Kalama and Longview. The Lower Columbia River is definitely the place to be for the next two months. Between Chinook and Coho there’s just under 2 million salmon expected to swim through the mouth of the river this season. Start fishing lower in the system and as the fish migrate up just follow them keeping an eye on the Bonneville Dam Fish counts. Trolling a Pro-Troll 360 Flasher with spinners or a Yakima Bait Spin fish will put some amazing fish in the boat!
Baker Lake, Columbia’s Brewster and Lake Wenatchee Sockeye Salmon Report
Baker Lake: Located in the Skagit River Basin, this is Western Washington’s premier Sockeye Salmon fishing area. Sockeye make their way up the Skagit River, then Baker River to the foot of Baker Dam where they are trucked up into Baker Lake. Recent Fish Counts show over 12,000 Sockeye have been trucked and released into the lake, which is a historic return! Brianna Bruce of Livin’ Life Adventures is a regular up here. She loves sharing one of Washington’s most scenic fisheries with her fishing friends, and the bruiser Sockeye make it all that much better. On a typical year, fishing starts to slow by mid-August, but which such a strong return, who knows this year! Bri prefers Size 0 Dodgers, 12″ – 14″ leader and Tube Flies tipped with a bit of cured coon shrimp.
Lake Wenatchee: This lake is a true gem in Central Washington. carved out of the Cascade Mountains, Sockeye Salmon migrate up through the Columbia River Gorge to Wenatchee and hang a left up the Wenatchee River to this large natural lake. The Lake Wenatchee Sockeye Salmon season opened on July 28th with a 4 fish limit, and right out of the gate fishing was great! It is a selective gear rule lake, which means no bait, barbless hooks and knotless nets, but these limitations didn’t keep plenty of opening day anglers from catching boat limits. The lake has limited launching, so show up early and make sure you bring a little extra patience.
Brewster Pool on the Columbia River: Austin Moser of Austin’s Northwest Adventures says that 2022 has been the most epic Brewster Pool season in his long career. Sockeye fishing has been so fast paced that he is getting in two trips before noon most days. Wow! He’s closely watching Bonneville Dam counts, and if the healthy Sockeye returns are a harbinger of things to come, he’s hoping for a strong Fall Chinook presence for Columbia River Gorge, Hanford Reach, and Columbia Basin areas.
Riptidefish Shop News
- Riptide Spoons: I have been on the hunt for the perfect spoon blank, and finally found it! The first 9 colors are live on the shop now in 2.25″ to 4″. Hand-painted in the Riptidefish shop, rigged with quality swivels and rings, and a Gamakatsu Siwash Hook.
- Pro-Troll Flashers: Fully stocked on some of the best Puget Sound, Ocean, and Columbia River flashers.
- Grand Slam Bucktails & Ace-Hi Flies: These have been a staple for us in Puget Sound this year, and have helped us boat countless Chinook and Coho.
- Coated Mooching Sinkers: I just picked up a couple hundred extra coated mooching sinkers to add to our stock, and hope that these will get us through August before selling out.