Blue bird skies kept me outside most of today, but I buckled down and decided to finish up the February fishing report! Lots going on already, and February has some great fishing options for just about everyone!
Salmon Fishing Report
Puget Sound Winter Chinook is the main focus for February Salmon fishing. Some of my most memorable trips out on the Sound happened during the winter season, when we are gifted with calm seas, a view of all our snow-capped mountains in the distance, and the possibility of a 5-10 pound Winter Chinook!
Marine Area 10 (Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bremerton Area): Our favorite local winter salmon area temporarily closed in January, and the WDFW has advised that there are some quota fish left to reopen later in the winter. Updated season: Marine Area 10 reopens for Blackmouth February 24th until the quota is hit (it will definitely get eaten up before the March 31 end date), Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays only. Press release here.
Marine Area 13 (Olympia, South Puget Sound): Deep South Puget Sound is open for Winter Blackmouth right now, and although there are only a few die-hard saltwater guys down there fishing, there is a great opportunity to land a quality Chinook. Captain Justin Wong operates Cut Plug Charter and has been fishing in Marine Area 13 and finding some quality fish. Justin focuses on mooching, and told me that they are working hard and are finding a few really nice Blackmouth. Steilacoom, Point Fosdick, Fox Island and Gibson have been their focus. If you troll, consider trolling a Silver Horde Kingfisher 3.0 or 3.5 behind an 11″ Flasher and drag bottom in any of these areas.
Columbia River Spring Chinook: We heard of the first recorded Spring Chinook caught and released in Oregon’s Clackamas River last week. It has begun! We are looking forward to a Lower Columbia River Spring Chinook fishery in March, when numbers start to build. More to come on this in our upcoming March Report.
Steelhead Fishing Report
February is a great Winter Steelhead month. Depending on which way you drive, there are some solid options for either catch and release Wild Steelhead fishing, or catch and keep Hatchery Steelhead fishing.
Olympic Peninsula Steelhead Fishing: February is prime-time for catch and release fishing for Olympic Peninsula Wild Steelhead. Depressed return forecasts on some coastal rivers have led to some unprecedented regulation changes, so make sure to check the rule pamphlet, and follow up with the updated emergency rules. As of this post, the updated rule changes are here in a WDFW news release. For this month, opportunities are still available for the Bogachiel, Calawah, Hoh, Quillayute, Sol Duc, Willapa and a few others. Selective gear rules, catch and release, and some have restrictions about fishing from boats.
Puget Sound Steelhead Fishing: We were all surprised with how many Hatchery Winter Steelhead made it back to our Seattle areas rivers, and although most rivers in the Puget Sound closed to fishing at the end of January, there are a few places you can still fish for at least part of February. Skagit and Sauk Rivers will not open for a catch and release Steelhead season this year. Upper Skykomish River has a season through mid-February, so does the Snoqualmie River around Tokul Creek to the Falls. Dig into the regulations for more info.
Cowlitz River Steelhead Fishing: This is the powerhouse of Steelhead fishing in Southwest Washington. Todd Daniels of Tall Tails Guide Service has been focused on bobber-dogging and side-drifting around the Blue Creek Hatchery area of the Cowlitz. January offered up some great fish for those that were dedicated on working on those early pushes of the Late-Run, and February should bring in greater concentrations of fish.
Western Washington Trout and Kokanee
Trout and Kokanee fishing really gets busy in April around here, however there are a few really awesome lakes that are putting out both Cutthroat Trout and Rainbow Trout right now! Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish are both consistent Cutthroat Trout fisheries, and anglers are finding quality fishing. No need to get up at the crack of dawn for these winter fisheries, as they really get good after the sun comes up and the upper water column warms a few degrees. Check out WDFW for year-round lakes near you for some hold-over Rainbow Trout, and recent stocking reports. It is still a wee early in the season for Kokanee Fishing, but there are a few being caught in Lake Stevens.
Eastern Washington Trout and Kokanee
Austin Moser of Austin’s Northwest Adventures has been having a phenomenal winter season on Lake Roosevelt, and a few of my buddies have headed east and found great fishing for big Rainbow Trout and Kokanee. For some reason those Kokanee in Lake Roosevelt aren’t as fickle about cold weather as their Western Washington cousins.
Coastal Razor Clamming
Coastal Beaches will see another round of Razor Clam digs in early February, and as the state continues to sample and monitor clam stocks, we will most likely see more digs throughout the month. Daily limit is 15 per person, check out WDFW Razor Clam Page for beach openers. We went out for some digging in January, it was a lot of fun to get back on the beach!
Coming Soon – March 2022 Fishing
We have a few key fisheries opening up next month, saltwater fishing season slowly starts to open back up in March, and these upcoming fisheries are ones you don’t want to miss out on!
Washington Coastal Lingcod and Rockfish Opener
Washington Coast Marine Areas 1-4 (Ilwaco, Westport, La Push, Neah Bay) opens for Lingcod and Rockfish on the second Saturday of March (March 12). This is a big deal for coastal communities and fishing charter operators. It’s the first fishing opener of the year! I’m looking forward to an early trip to get my freezer caught up with fillets, and a super fun day on the water.
Sekiu – Marine Area 5 Blackmouth Opener
On the outer edge of the Olympic Peninsula, anglers will soon flock to Marine Area 5’s fishing hamlet of Sekiu for Winter Chinook season, March 1 through April 30. This season is managed by a calendar season, not a quota season, so we have a solid and reliable season out there. This is a large marine area, but primary access is from Sekiu, which offers lodging, food, boat ramp and moorage right in town. Most of the action is found within 5 miles from Sekiu to the west and east. Popular close-in areas are The Caves (just outside the harbor to the west) and Slip Point (just outside the harbor to the east), further to the east is Pillar Point. The area between Slip Point all the way east to Pillar Point is all worth exploring and very fishy.
Riptidefish Online Store News
The Online Store portion of Riptidefish.com was launched mid-2021. I’m overwhelmed with all of your support and it really is a testament to how much this site means to everyone in the local fishing community. Here are a few recent updates to the shop…
- Lots of requests for quality barbless hooks for our selective gear fisheries, we added new Gamakatsu barbless octopus hooks, barbless big river open-eye siwash, barbless big river bait hooks, and barbless octopus circle hooks to the shop. Check them out here.
- Expanded selection of salmon trolling spoons. New sizes and colors of Silver Horde Coho Killer Spoons and Silver Horde Kingfisher Spoons in 3.0, 3.5 and 4.0. Check them out here.
- New Lingcod and Rockfish double hook soft plastic rigs for the spring season. Check them out here.
- New P-Line Hali-Drop Metal Jigs in 9 ounce, 11 ounce and 14 ounce for Halibut and deep-water Lingcod fishing. Check them out here.