Lots of great fishing opportunities around Seattle and the rest of Washington State this month! We get some great opportunities locally for trout and perch. With a little bit of a drive to the coast, there are some openers for Chinook Salmon, Lingcod and Rockfish. Head southbound to the Columbia River for the revered Spring Chinook! Best of luck this month everyone!
Our best March 2021 salmon fishing option is Sekiu’s Marine Area 5. It’s a bit of a drive from home, but anglers have been making the trip and finding great catches. The season is March 1 – April 30. Opening day was very good, and anglers caught Blackmouth close to port at the Caves, Slip Point and Pillar Point. Trolling the 90′ – 200′ contour with flashers and spoons, or flashers and bait (rigged anchovies or herring) has been the ticket. Captain Mat Messing from Messin Around Charters spent a very productive weekend in Sekiu and made me more than a little jealous!
March Trout and Kokanee Fishing
Many Western Washington lakes are already open to fishing. My local Beaver Lake, Lake Washington, Lake Sammamish and Rattlesnake Lake have been offering great fishing. Check out the WDFW Trout Stocking Page to chase the next plant and find some fast action!
Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish near Seattle and Bellevue
If you live in the Seattle area and haven’t hit Lake Washington or Lake Sammamish this winter, you need to go out right now. The great winter catches of Yellow Perch is still happening, and as Paul Lewis from Fast Action Fishing Adventures has shared, they are still schooled up in 60′ to 70′ of water in both lakes. It can be a little bit of a grind to find the schools, but all it takes is locating one and then sticking with it, to catch as many Yellow Perch as you want to process. There is no limit on Yellow Perch on either lake, so you can load up! A small metal jig tipped with a tiny piece of nightcrawler is a great starter, then use the first Perch you catch and change to a sliver of Perch meat.
Cutthroat Trout are still abundant and eager biters. March is a great month to trout fish because we are still fishing on fairly quiet lakes. Come the first warm weeks of spring, boat traffic on our large lakes gets a little crazy and pushes us to the solitude of early mornings. Right now, you can fish all day without seeing a wakeboard boat! Trolling shallow with a dodger and worm harness has always been my go-to, but 2″ Spoons are also a great option.
Eastern Washington Early Trout Opener
Many lakes in the Columbia Basin opened for fishing March 1. Lakes such as Nunally, Lenice, Dusty, Caliche and others give eager trout fishers a chance to catch hold-over and recently planted Rainbow Trout before the general statewide opener in late April. Long before us wet-side Western Washingtonians see our first stretch of warm spring days, the lakes in Eastern Washington’s Columbia Basin are already warming up and offering great fishing and the possibility to give you your first sun-burn of the year. I could use a chance to put on some sun screen after the winter we’ve had!
Rufus Woods and Lake Roosevelt
Rufus Woods Reservoir has been good for anglers looking to find some hog Triploid Rainbow Trout. Fishing near the net pens has been good, but when we went, we found better success away from the net pens. Lake Roosevelt Kokanee and Trout fishing has been decent, and Walleye has been great some days but challenging at times.
Yakima River and Rocky Ford Creek
Yakima River has been kicking out some high-quality Rainbows for those floating the lower canyon. As our days warm up, we should start to see more insect activity, especially March Browns, Blue-Winged Olives and Skywalla Stoneflies. Early mornings can be chilly in March, and streamers or stonefly nymphs are a great options before the water warms up and the bugs start hatching.
Rocky Ford Creek is always a great option during winter and early spring. This unique Eastern Washington creek near Moses Lake is spring fed, and has stable water temperatures that produce lots of forage for Rainbow Trout. Smaller offerings are always the best bet, and midges in size 18-22 are standard fare.
March Steelhead Fishing
Historically, March is our holy month for Wild Steelhead fishing in Western Washington. We have some ups and downs this season but there is still a few great options for those looking to shake hands with a trophy Steehead.
Olympic Peninsula Steelhead
This is Washington’s hallowed grounds for Wild Steelhead fishing enthusiasts. This season’s unprecedented rule changes to protect low projections of Wild Steelhead have imposed revised seasons for all coastal rivers, new gear restrictions, and a ban on fishing from boats. Fishing pressure has been lower than year’s past, yet there have been some very impressive catches. Unfortunately, Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay tributaries closed even earlier than anticipated. Forks area rivers (as of right now) will remain open through the month. Check out the WDFW News Release for the recent update, but keep an eye on WDFW Emergency Rules Page for any further in-season adjustments. This season has created a lot of churn within the fishing community, but it seems like we all have one common hope, and that is that we all wish for the recovery of Wild Steelhead on our beloved coastal rivers.
Cowlitz River Steelhead
Southwest Washington’s Cowlitz River is the best option for all that want to harvest a hatchery steelhead. Matt Chandler with Get Hooked NW has been focused on this river and has reported decent catches, that should build throughout the month. Boat anglers have been seeing the best success by side drifting and bobber dogging beads and small presentations of cured salmon eggs. Water conditions are murky, so a little color in your offering will help big time! Bank anglers around the Blue Creek area are seeing some steelhead as well as the fleet of boaters!
Skagit and Sauk River Steelhead
North Puget Sound’s Skagit and Sauk Rivers are open for a selective gear catch and release Wild Steelhead fishery through mid-April. Although these rivers have been somewhat busy during the four-day-a-week openers, it looks like the season will last until April 13th. Open Saturdays through Tuesdays only. There is a possibility it will close early if our allotment is caught. Big presentations such as pink worms, large yarnies and plugs are all great choices during higher water flows, but if the water drops and clears, downsize to soft beads, smaller yarnies or spoons. Check out the WDFW News Release and keep an eye out on WDFW Emergency Rules for any sudden season changes.
Washington Coast Bottomfish
March is our break-out month for Lingcod and Rockfish on the Washington Coast. Marine weather can make planning a fishing trip this time of year a little bit of a gamble, but roll the dice and plan your first trip of the season! Fishing is as good as it gets right at the season opener, this year on March 13.
Westport Lingcod and Rockfish
Westport is breaking out of its winter slumber with a March 13 opener for bottomfish. The Westport Boat Basin in full of charter boats ready to hit the water. And if history tells us anything, the spring fishing season in Westport should be spectacular! Ian Winder of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters is feeling very optimistic that his guests will see great fishing. The first few good weather days of the opener were awesome!
Neah Bay Lingcod and Rockfish
While the Makah Reservation and its harbor at Neah Bay are still closed to visitors, anglers headed out of Sekiu to the waters of Marine Area 4 have already seen some great Lingcod and Black Rockfish fishing. While Sekiu’s biggest draw this time of year is Blackmouth Salmon fishing, a 10 mile cruise to the west puts your into some great bottomfishing. Keep in mind that bottomfish is closed in Sekiu’s Marine Area 5, and Blackmouth is closed in Neah Bay’s Marine Area 4, so if you fish for and catch in one area, head back to the dock before switching gears to drop off your catch.
Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing
Our friends to the south are seeing the start to a great Spring Chinook season. Guide Josiah Darr has been out on the Lower Columbia River on a regular basis, finding some good fish. Trolling with a herring behind a triangle flasher has been a great tactic, but plugs such as Maglips and Kwikfish have also produced. This season ends in early April, with a possibility of a later second opener if there are enough fish. It always starts slow and is over before you know it so just go!