I needed to cast a wide net to capture even half the great fishing opportunities we have in Washington State this month. Every corner of the state is brimming with fisheries that are worth your time. I want to thank all the great charter captains and guides that shared their reports with us. Have a great month everyone!
Some big news is the announcement of Washington’s Saltwater Salmon fishing seasons: check out the Riptidefish 2022 Washington Salmon Season Overview.
Puget Sound Salmon Fishing
Marine Area 8-2 near Everett, Washington has a very unique “Bubble” fishery in front of the Tulalip Bay terminal area, where the Tulalip Tribe operates a large Chinook hatchery operation. Most of the Chinook released from the hatchery are not clipped, so marked and unmarked Chinook can be kept. There is a 2 salmon limit, two-pole endorsement is in effect, and it is opened throughout June from Fridays to noon on Mondays. A quick jaunt from the Everett Marina and boat launch.
Marine Area 10 near Seattle, Washington will open June 16 for Coho Salmon. Captain Matt Messing with Bremerton’s Messin’ Around Charters has been out daily fishing for Lingcod and has seen Resident Coho Salmon jumping around the normal fishing haunts on his way too and from the Lingcod grounds. He has reported a really exciting amount of bait on our normal salmon fishing spots like Jeff Head and Kingston, and expects the opening couple weeks of Marine Area 10’s salmon season to be very productive.
Captain Robert Scherbarth with Hooked Up Fishing Guide Service is also looking forward to kicking off the summer salmon season in Marine Area 10, and suggests focusing on the outer areas of Jeff Head and the shipping lanes for Resident Coho, look for masses of krill on your sonar in deeper water and troll an Ace Hi Fly or Rigged Squid behind an 11″ flasher, and even if the krill is deep stay in the upper 100′ of the water column.
Marine Area 11 near Tacoma, Washington opened on June 1 for salmon, and after a killer first couple days and many Chinook caught, WDFW has paused the season because of Chinook encounters. If you made it out for the 3-day June opportunity you probably had a great time, unfortunately we will need to wait until July to get another shot at salmon fishing around Tacoma, Gig Harbor and Vashon. The good news is that we will see a summer fishery here!
Marine Area 13 in South Puget Sound, Washington has been a sleeper fishery for many years, aside from the local South Puget Sound salt-hounds, but it is becoming a credible salmon fishery for the rest of us. Chinook fishing has been pretty good in May, and June should be just as good. Focus on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge to Point Fosdick, and around the east end of Fox Island. Jigging and mooching are as effective as trolling down there. Recent MA13 Trip Report
Puget Sound Lingcod Fishing
Captain Matt McCulloch with Bainbridge Island’s Tyee Charters has seen some pretty good lingcod action this season in Marine area 10. He shared that it is really good to see a great recruitment of undersized Lingcod, which leads to great fisheries in the future, and more than enough keeper sized Lingcod within the 26″ to 36″ legal slot limit. Flounder and shiner perch have tempted the Lings from their structure lately.
Captain Justin Wong of Seattle’s Cut Plug Charters is as excited for the back half of the Lingcod season as the front! Lingcod fishing will stay open to June 15th, and the next day opens for Coho Salmon, so they and the other full-time charter outfits will be busy busy through June!
San Juan Islands Lingcod Fishing
The San Juan Islands is a Lingcod fishing paradise. The short May 1 to June 15 season gives a great shot at some of the best Lingcod fishing in one of the most picturesque areas of Washington State. May weather limited the number of days that boaters could go out and chase them, but fishing has been pretty good. Fishing around Cypress Island near Anacortes all the way to Waldron Island and the smaller northern islands in the archipelago have been producing Lingcod. San Juan Islands Fishing Charters has been running daily and seeing good catches with live bait and soft plastics on a jighead. Lots of quality sized Lingcod. They are anticipating that Lingcod fishing will be solid through the first half of June up to the closure.
Sekiu and Strait of Juan de Fuca Halibut Fishing
Strait of Juan de Fuca fishing has been great in May, and should continue the strong run into June. Halibut fishing out of Sekiu (Marine Area 5) and Port Angeles (Marine Area 6) is open 3 days a week through most of June, quota dependent. WDFW Straits Halibut Page. Lingcod fishing has been good in both areas and will stay open to June 15.
Neah Bay and La Push June Fishing
Marine Area 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) are located in the wild upper left hand corner of Washington State and one of my favorite places on the planet to go fishing! Salmon fishing here opens on June 18 and should be a great time for everyone planning a trip. John Thiel of Alpha Angler Charters operates out of the port of La Push, and while May has been a little dicey with weather, their trips have been phenomenal for Halibut, Lingcod and Rockfish… heavy limits and full freezers! Southwest Corner of the C-Closure and The Prairie has been producing a good mixed bag or Halibut, Lingcod and Rockfish. John and everyone at port is looking forward to more reliably favorable ocean conditions in June, and the salmon opener is expected to be great! As of June 18, Chinook and Hatchery Coho will be open 7 days a week (quota based but should last a while).
Westport Fishing Report
Mark Coleman and his captains and crew of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters have started to see more favorable weather conditions in Westport, Washington and fishing has been incredible! June is an exciting month for Westport anglers with some really killer overlapping fishing opportunities. Deepwater Lingcod and Halibut fishing has been as good as it gets. Inshore Lingcod and Rockfish is a stellar trip to grab some white fillets in closer range from port. Salmon fishing in Westport’s Marine Area 2 opens in early July and as soon as offshore currents push in warmer water, Albacore Tuna will be a much welcomed addition to the mix!
June Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass Fishing
I was really excited that Guide Doug Saint-Denis of 365 Charters shared his perspective on bass fishing for the April report, and has some great insight on what to expect for June (he’s not just a saltwater one-trick pony, he is also offers a phenomenal bass fishing experience on Western Washington lakes). He shared that he typically strategizes for bass then based on their pre-spawn habits, and with our chilly spring, everything on the warmwater species side is still in that pattern, incredible! Pre-spawn Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass are still slowly moving towards their spawning areas, and as of this report lake anglers are still seeing bass scrape out new beds daily.
Doug shared that when we have a year as unseasonably cold as 2022, it is important to be prepared for all situations: pre-spawn, spawn and post-spawn. And a warm weather stretch could quickly change the game for bass anglers. Spawning bass are not on the feed, and are focused on protecting their beds. Baits like 3.5″ tubes, 4″ lizards, creature baits and even Ned rigs will work well in this situation.
Lowland Lake Trout Fishing
Lake fishing for stocked Rainbow Trout has been as good lately as it was during the late April opener. Our unseasonably cool spring has been great for lake trout, and lakes throughout the Seattle area and the rest of Washington State are still putting out great catches!
Lake Chelan Kokanee
Guide Brianna Bruce of Livin’ Life Adventures has moved east on the hunt for June Kokanee Fishing. Lake Chelan has been reliably on fire! Her clients have seen great fishing for Kokanee, Cutthroat and Rainbow Trout on her daily trips. Every day they are seeing a few really impressively sized Kokanee, to compliment the standard 10″ to 14″ fish that are normally expected. Tons of Kokanee and Trout have migrated into the upper lake, so they are running a little ways from the primary launches near the town of Chelan, but once the lake fills up, they will be pushed down more towards the lower lake and really easy to get to. Kokanee have been found throughout all levels of the water column lately. Once the lake warms up they will most likely be in the 35′ to 60′ range. Dick Nite Dogders and Mack’s Sling Blades with Kokanee flies or Wedding Rings on a 12″ leader are Bri’s go-to’s right now. Shoepeg corn tipped on the hooks is mandatory and a little tuna and/or garlic scent goes a long way!
Yakima River Fly Fishing
Fly fishing guide Canon Racanelli of RAX Guide Service has been focusing daily on the Yakima. The river is in great shape and the fish are starting to look up for dry flies more everyday, there is still a lot of Caddis in the water and the fish have been gorging them, you he is starting to see a lot of Pale Morning Duns and Yellow Sally’s on the water. Hit the banks hard, the fish are primarily holding in the soft water near the bank. Streamer fishing has also been affective throughout the day when any of the normal hatches he typically sees slows. With the colder water temps the lower river has been far better fishing than the upper but that will change as water temps heat up. Summer is here and a Yakima River fly fishing trip with Canon needs to be on your calendar!
Summer Steelhead and Spring Chinook River Report
Skykomish River near Monroe, Washington is arguably the most exciting June river opportunity in the Seattle area. Open for Summer Chinook and Steelhead. Todd Daniels with Tall Tales Guide Service expects no end in sight for super high river levels due to an unprecedented snowpack that is over 200% above average! Both Chinook and Steelhead in this river are notorious egg biters, and with higher and cooler flows they will be pushed to the softer edges of the current, or racing up the travelling lanes. Boat anglers will be best served if they continue to move and hunt down the zones where they are holding.
Cowlitz River near Toledo, Washington is the granddaddy of Southwest Washington Salmon and Steelhead rivers. While the late Winter Hatchery Steelhead run has already peaked, there are a number of Spring Chinook and a handful of early Summer Steelhead in the river. Target Spring Chinook between Barrier Dam and Blue Creek, and Summer Steelhead are nosing up from Mission Launch and Blue Creek.
Kalama River near Kalama, Washington has been a go-to destination for bank and boat anglers this spring. This river is entirely fueled by rain and healthy flows have encouraged both Spring Chinook and a few early Summer Steelhead to race up. Bait is key (Sand Shrimp, cured Salmon Eggs, Coonstripe Shrimp), fished behind bait-divers, under a float, or drift fishing. Do a short float and really slow down and spend time working each run and pool Upper river bank anglers have also seen pretty darned good success for Spring Chinook.
Wynoochee River near Montesano, Washington has perfect river levels for floating with our heavy spring rains. Summer Steelhead have definitely entered the river and anglers are seeing great opportunity.
Skagit River near Concrete, Washington has a good number of Summer Chinook and anglers are catching a few bonus late Wild Steelhead that they are carefully releasing. This river’s flows are dam controlled, so while the water is cold, water levels are very favorable. Guide Neils Humphries with River Dog Outfitters shared this great report and has been focused on running plugs and bait-divers in the key runs, and float fishing and side-drifting bait between spots.
Nooksack River near Lynden, Washington has a short June Spring Chinook season, planned through June 12, and forecasted returns are impressive. The experienced drift boat and raft guys that know the river are seeing high flows but good opportunity. WDFW news release, check Emergency rules for any in-season fishery adjustment.
Sol Duc River near Forks, Washington has been producing some great numbers of late Winter-Run Steelhead and the Spring Chinook started as a trickle but fishing has been getting better and better with every new day. John Thiel with Alpha Angler gave me alot of encouragement to head up there, and it’s been a bait diver show on the boat, and float fishing with cured eggs/sand shrimp from both the boat and bank.
Columbia River Spring Chinook
Spring Chinook fishing on our Columbia River has been as good as anyone can remember. A direct quote from Captain Josiah Dar with JDarr Guided Fishing is fishing is freaking good on the Columbia right now! He has been focused on the St Helens, Oregon area but catch rates have been exceptional from Tongue Point near Astoria all the way up to Bonneville and beyond. Returns have been so healthy that Oregon and Washington fisheries managers are crafting updated regulations to let the party roll on through June.
Online Store Update
I’ve been super busy with spring orders and prepping for an incredible summer season. We have so much to look forward to. All the custom rigging is stocked up, as well as some really key Salmon fishing gear. But throughout the summer there are still plenty of opportunities for Lingcod, Rockfish, Crabbing and more.
- Salmon Trolling Flashers: Ready for summer, all the great colors of Pro-Troll Flashers, both the standard 11″ boards and lighted flashers.
- Salmon Trolling Flies and Rigs: We loaded up on Ace Hi Flies and Grand Slam Bucktails in anticipation of summer salmon seasons, and our custom pre-tied trolling squids are all stocked up as well.
- Tomic Plugs: These are a salmon fishing staple, and it looks like our stock is all we are going to get this summer due to production constraints, so get in on it if you want a couple. Tomic Plugs at Riptidefish.
- Salmon Mooching: Ahhh, the simple joy of catching a salmon with the rod in hand and light tackle, we are stocked up on coated mooching sinkers, leaders and bait knives.
- Salmon Spoons: Silver Horde Kingfisher and Coho Killers have been a little tough to procure but we have a bunch of great colors and sizes in stock now.
- Rockfish and Lingcod Soft Plastics: B2 Squid and Pitbull Tackle Killer Jigs and Swimbaits.
- Downrigger Trolling Gear: We stocked up on Scotty Downrigger Releases and other terminal gear and are ready for summer.