It’s becoming a little tough to focus on work with all these awesome March fishing options in front of us, the age old struggle of a fisherman! Saltwater fishing around Seattle and the Washington Coast is going to be great, we have Blackmouth fishing in Seattle, South Puget Sound and Sekiu. Lingcod and Rockfish season opens mid-month along the Washington Coast out of Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay. And no, it isn’t quite time to stow the clam guns away, with scheduled and planned Razor Clam digs on the coastal beaches. With Columbia River Spring Chinook season kicking off, and Eastern Washington lakes and reserviors heating up and churning out quality Walleye, Trout and Kokanee, there are plenty of reasons to plan a trip away from the city. Enjoy your time everyone, it’s going to be a stellar month.
Puget Sound Winter Blackmouth
If you live near Puget Sound, Winter Blackmouth season is the most exciting game in town this time of year. Although the Marine Area 10 season has been a little tough to plan around, it has been decent fishing on the openers. February 24-26 was the last opener as of this post, but hopefully we still have a little more quota left to see an additional weekend or two. If you make a trip to South Puget Sound, Marine Area 13 has offered up a few really quality Blackmouth as well, and the season is predictable!
March 16 Update: Marine Area 10 open 7 days per week with an increased limit through March 31!
Sekiu Winter Blackmouth Season Opener
Sekiu is one of those hard-to-get-to fishing towns on the Olympic Peninsula, but worth every minute of drive time. Marine Area 5 is open for Blackmouth fishing from March 1 to April 30, and is becoming a popular destination, as this area’s winter salmon season isn’t dictated by a catch quota, so you can guarantee that fishing will be open! Fishing spots aren’t too far from the launch and docks in Sekiu, so even if the weather is a little blustery you can find places to fish (unless we get a grand-daddy gale of course!). This has become one of my favorite places in the state to fish and looking forward to a few trips this month. A few miles to the west of Sekiu is Marine Area 4, and although it is not open for salmon, you can sneak out there for a little Rockfish only fishing early in the month, and Lingcod retention starting March 12 (like the rest of the ocean marine zones). Pro-tip: You cannot retain bottomfish in Marine Area 5, and you cannot retain salmon in Marine Are 4 this time of year, so drop off your catch at the dock if you plan on switching gears.
Puget Sound Sea Run Cutthroat Trout Fishing
For years, Sea Run Cutthroat enthusiasts, from local fly shops to dedicated SRC anglers to saltwater fly fishing guides have been shouting from the rooftops about how awesome this fishery is. When I went out with my buddies Nick and Evan a few weeks ago, and saw the absolute lack of boat pressure and epic fishing I wonder, “Is anybody listening?!”.
Nick Clayton operates South Sound Skiffs and focuses on the hundreds of miles of shoreline and beaches of South Puget Sound this time of year. We cruised around a couple dozen miles of beaches and saw one other boat all day. Nick showed Evan and I a phenomenal day of fly fishing. Every aspect of this trip is amazing. From Nick’s boat placement 40′ from the waterline, to seeing most of the Cutthroat we caught chase our fly and grab. I love the solitude, but with all the shoreline we have in Puget Sound, I kind of wish more people would get in on the action and experience what we did. The cool thing is you can fish from a small boat or from shore!
Steelhead Fishing Report
Southwest Washington’s Cowlitz River is the highlight this month. Todd Daniels of Tall Tails Guide Service has been finding good fishing on the river between Toledo up to Barrier Dam, with most of the action around the Blue Creek hatchery zone. Steelhead numbers and catching has been building with most of guide boats getting multiple fish daily. Todd thinks that we should expect fishing success to drastically increase in the coming weeks and bonus good news we get to keep one hatchery Spring Chinook through April 30th! If you want in on a great river fishing experience, give Todd a call!
Washington Coast Razor Clamming in March
This has been an unprecedented year for clamming on Washington’s coastal beaches. WDFW continues to monitor the Razor Clam populations on each beach and plan openings after biotoxin testing confirms that it’s safe. There are already a few digs scheduled for the first four days of March, and more are expected on days with extreme low tides! WDFW Razor Clam Seasons and Beaches Page.
Eastern Washington Trout, Walleye & Kokanee Report
Guide Austin Moser of Austin’s Northwest Adventures is very excited for Eastern Washington Walleye fishing to get started. They usually start prospecting for walleye for our March fishery in late February and it’s looking good!! He is very excited with what they are already seeing. March Walleye are in pre-spawn and trophy females will stage and congregate in large numbers adjacent to there spawning grounds. During this awesome time of year, the males are not far away either, and those are the Walleye that Austin’s clients take home for the table. It’s so much fun catching and releasing these big trophy female Walleye while looking for the male eaters. It’s shaping up to be a more typical type of winter. The walleye seem to be following their normal patterns. The trout fishing will only get better as we get closer to spring. Kokanee fishing on lake Roosevelt has been pretty good most of the winter and will continue to improve as the lake completes its draw down. If you are looking for a great experience on the east side of the state, Austin is your guide!
Westport Lingcod & Rockfish Season Opener
Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco), Marine Area 2 (Westport), Marine Area 3 (La Push) and Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) open for Lingcod and Rockfish on Saturday March 12. Charters are already prepping and booking up their early season trips, and March has historically provided great fishing.
Captain Mitch Coleman of Angler’s Edge Sportfishing is in full preparation mode for the March 12 opener. He is ready for wide-open Lingcod and Rockfishing this month. This spring fishery is like the dawning of Westport fishing season, and this awesome inshore fishery is a great introduction to all the good fishing to come. If you plan on getting out on an early spring trip, make sure to stock up on Panko for the fish fry that will ultimately follow!
I also asked Mark Coleman of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters about the upcoming opener. He said that after the usual 5 month winter closure, it’s hard to beat spring bottom fishing and Westport’s Lingcod and Rockfish will be hungry, unpressured, and ready for harvest. Most everything works to catch them too including fun-to-fish metal jigs, swimbaits and other soft plastics.
Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing
Guide Matt Chandler of Get Hooked NW is amped for the 2022 Spring Chinook season. River conditions should be prime this year, and return forecasts look great. WDFW is expecting 50k more fish coming back compared to last year. The entire river is open down to Astoria.. which is great because it allows everyone to fish their favorite haunts and will ultimately spread out the boat traffic.
Riptidefish Online Store March News
The online store has kept me busy busy! There have been a few new products added recently, and plenty of more gear on the way to prep for spring. Right now we are bringing in some cool Lingcod, Halibut and Rockfish gear, and already starting to see shipments of new Salmon fishing tackle show up.
- Puget Pounder Jigs: These metal jigs are awesome for Salmon, Lingcod and Rockfish. We have had the 3.5 and 4.5 ouncers available for a while, but just got a huge order of their smaller 2.5 ounce Puget Pounders!
- Saltwater Swimbaits and Twin Tails: We just received a killer new line of 4″-8″ Swimbaits and 5″-8″ Twin-Tail Grubs for Lingcod, Rockfish and Lingcod!
- Chicken Rigs (Dual Plastics) for Lingcod and Rockfish: P-Line has a great selection of two-hook soft-plastic rigs for those of you headed out ocean fishing.
- Silver Horde Spoons: We planned way ahead and a bunch of Kingfisher and Coho Killer Spoons in the best colors have landed. More to come!
Thanks everyone for checking out the March fishing report. I hope you have some great trips planned this month. Have a great time out there!