Winter is coming to an end, and we have almost made it to the greatness that is springtime in the Pacific Northwest! Everyday, I take my dog for an early morning walk, signs of spring are difficult to miss. As I walk through my rural neighborhood in the pre-dawn hours in the past week, the unmistakable aroma of blossoming Skunk Cabbage and overwhelming symphony of frogs in the wetlands offer a reminder that it is time to think about spring fishing, and the ultimate changing of the guard for new opportunities.
Winter Blackmouth (Chinook Salmon): Fishing has been steady in Puget Sound. The San Juan Islands continues to produce quality sized Chinook, although areas around Central Puget Sound and Everett are offering up better sized fish than in February. Hard work and diligence is needed to put fish in the boat. Even though we did not see red-hot fishing in January and February, I appreciate the fact that we didn’t gobble up our quota and can still hit the salt close to home. The Eastern Straights and Sekiu are definitely worth a trip if you are up for a long weekend a little farther away from the city.
Preferred Seattle Charter: Spot Tail Salmon Guide
Lingcod, Rockfish and More: If you are saltwater junkie like me, you will want to watch the marine forecast and head to Westport mid-month, when it opens for bottomfish. I’ll be heading out hopefully once this month to join my charter buddies for a haul, as my freezer is starting to get pretty empty this time of year! If bar conditions are decent, I might even chug it out to the end of the Westport Jetty, and maybe even hit the beaches for Surf Perch if conditions warrant it.
Preferred Charter: All Rivers & Saltwater Charters
Razor Clams: More openers for Washington Coast beaches! Should be easy digging, and holy smokes we can now look forward to digs in the daylight! So get them while you can! WDFW Razor Clam openers.
Steelhead: Many rivers on the Washington Coast have been closed due to concerns of weak returns. There are a number of rivers that remain open, and trophy steelhead are still being caught and released. Luckily, there hasn’t been much media hype on this fishery, so if you are eager and motivated, you can find a little solitude during the best time of the year for those revered Olympic Peninsula Wild Steelhead. The Cowlitz River has been producing great catches for hatchery Steelhead, and I’ve had a number of epic reports both from bank and boat fishers.
Preferred Charter: CNH Guide Service
Trout: Yakima River’s first big hatch is on right now, so tie up some Skywalla’s, put in the time, and you should be rewarded with a few trout per day, this is a game of quality and not quantity. Several quality lakes open March 1 for trout, including Lenore, Lenice, Nunally, and other sleepers, which offers a great option to get over to the dry side for amazing stillwater fishing. Seattle’s Green Lake is a go! And if you want to stay salty, the hundreds of miles of South Puget Sound beaches offer up a great mix of Sea Run Cutthroat, Resident Coho and Resident Chinook for those ready to pound the gravel or push their boats into the shallows.
Bass: If you have a favored local lake, all it takes is a warm and sunny day to heat up the shallows enough to prompt the first Largemouth Bass opportunity of the year. Don’t wait until May!