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Reeling in a Dud: Salmon's Slow Start

by Mark Yuasa, staff reporter
Seattle Times, June 13, 2006

Salmon fishing off the coast didn't start off with a bang, but instead for the most part was a dud outside of Ilwaco.

"Ilwaco was a bright spot with more than a salmon per person," said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "Almost all the fish I saw was coho [in 5- to 6-pound range], and a handful of chinook. Some Ilwaco charters had limits and others were close to limits."

Up the coast, Westport was painfully slow, but some nice kings were landed, although some charter boats had close to no fish at all.

At La Push and Neah Bay, salmon fishing wasn't much better with less than a fish per rod, and most were coho in the 4- to 5-pound range, along with a few chinook.

"Neah Bay and La Push were pretty slow, but Table Top and Blue Dot [about 25 miles out in the ocean off Neah Bay] had a lot of coho and some chinook," said Scott Barbour, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "There was a short bite for salmon off the Green Buoy at Waadah Island."

Heading into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, things weren't much better for kings or coho.

"It has been up and down, but [yesterday] fishing was fair off the Caves and around Eagle Bay," said Gary Ryan, manager of Van Riper's Resort in Sekiu. "We have seen some [hatchery-marked] kings up to 22 pounds, but most were from 26 inches on up."

In Puget Sound, the best fishing action has been for coho, but slow for kings in open areas.

"It was slam dunk for coho in Area 10 [Central Puget Sound] when it opened, but has been fair since then," said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Everett. "We are getting four to six coho per day off Jefferson Head, and from Shilshole Bay to West Point."

The Tulalip Bay bubble king fishery has remained slow with a boat ramp check last Saturday revealing only two chinook and 16 coho caught for 319 anglers in 147 boats.

In south central Puget Sound from the north end of Vashon Island down to Tacoma, fishing hasn't been much better for kings off Southworth, Dolphin Point, Redondo Beach and the Tacoma area.

Top spots of the week

  1. Crab in Puget Sound and Hood Canal:
    It has been a mixed bag of reports since crabbing opened last Saturday.

    "I know some people who got limits of crabs south of Everett, but others who moaned and groaned around Hat Island and in Hood Canal," said Mike Chamberlain at Ted's Sports Center in Lynnwood. Crab fishing is open is open daily through Saturday in Areas 6, 7 South, 9, 10, 11 and 12, then goes to a Wednesday through Saturday only fishing schedule. Areas 8-1 and 8-2 are open Wednesdays through Saturdays only.

  2. Summer steelhead or chinook and other fish in Western Washington rivers:
    "Steelhead fishing has been holding up in the Skykomish River, and we've been getting good checks compared to the past three years," said Chad Jackson, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "The water is dropping in the Sky [Skykomish], but is still decent in the lower sections. Chinook fishing is also still holding up."

    Other rivers where fishing is fair at best are the Hoh, Calawah, North Fork Stillaguamish, Bogachiel, Soleduck, Green and Snoqualmie. The Wynoochee, Chehalis and Humptulips are slow for steelhead. The Skagit River sockeye fishery has been fair at best.

  3. Shad, chinook, sturgeon and steelhead in the Columbia River and tributaries:
    "The summer chinook fishery dropped off with about 1,000 passing up the Bonneville Dam fish counter [in recent days]," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "It still remains good for steelhead from Longview downstream, and in the Cowlitz and North Fork Lewis."

    Shad fishing remains fair to good from Bonneville downstream.

  4. Trout and other game fish in statewide lakes:
    "I fished Lake Stevens and it was good for kokanee," Jackson said.

    Other good lakes include American, Baker, Keechelus, Kachess, Chelan, Summit and Meridian. Perch and bass fishing in Lake Washington remains fair to good. Trout are still fair game in Spanaway, Pine, Green, Jameson, Shady, Desire and Goose. The John Day Pool was good for walleye.

  5. Salmon off Puget Sound piers:
    "Salmon anglers off the Edmonds pier did well with about three to six fish per day," Chamberlain said.

    Dock anglers can also cast off the Terminal 86 in Elliott Bay, Seacrest, Waterman, Bremerton Boardwalk, Illahee State Park, Les Davis, Dash Point, Des Moines, Redondo and Point Defiance Park piers.

Mark Yuasa, staff reporter
Reeling in a Dud: Salmon's Slow Start
Seattle Times, June 13, 2006

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