Outdoors / Sports

Coastal salmon fishing still off the charts in Washington

Salmon runs are crisscrossing just about every part of Washington, and the fishing action is decent for kings, coho and sockeye.

To the west, the ocean salmon bite remains one of the top choices, with anglers scoring good numbers of kings and hatchery coho.

"Ilwaco had the best fishing on the coast (for the third week in a row) with a 1.7 salmon catch average per person," said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. "A larger proportion of the catch is coho with a ratio of nine-to-one. The coho are getting bigger (5 to 6 pounds) and big as 8 pounds, but it is early July still and they haven't reached their peak weight."

The hatchery king opener Wednesday produced a mix bag of success with the best action happening off Point No Point, Possession Bar, Kingston and from Edmonds south to Richmond Beach.

"We landed 10 kings, and we kept five hatchery kings (9 to 16 pounds), and there was a good bite (at Kingston) around the morning high tide," said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Shilshole Bay.

Jefferson Head, Point No Point and the Edmonds area also had a fair to good morning bite. Other spots usually good during past openers were very slow, such as Midchannel Bank off Port Townsend and Possession Bar off the south side of Whidbey Island.

To the east, not only is the weather topping 100 degrees, but a section of the Columbia River between Brewster and Wells Dam remains hot for a record-sized sockeye return.

"I went up to Wells Dams (last Friday) and there are swarms of sockeye, and I also fished Brewster and it is going great guns there too," said Dave Graybill, a longtime eastside outdoor radio show host. "Fishing will likely remain good as a thermal barrier (water temperatures hitting a toasty 74 degrees) near the base of the Okanogan will keep the fish from moving upstream anytime soon."

Lake Wenatchee in Chelan County is opening Saturday for sockeye fishing. About 65,000 sockeye are expected to migrate to the lake, leaving 42,000 to catch by sport anglers.

Fishing is open daily one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset. Bull trout, steelhead and chinook must be released unharmed without removing the fish from the water.

The daily limit will be six sockeye, and fish must be longer than 12 inches. Selective gear rules (up to three single barbless hooks per line, no bait or scent allowed, knotless nets required) will be required. Anglers may fish with two poles if they possess a two-pole endorsement. A night closure will be in effect.

To the north, hatchery king fishing between Sekiu and Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca has been decent.

"The king fishing picked up at Port Angeles, and a check at Ediz Hook ramp last Saturday had 64 chinook for 48 boats," said Larry Bennett, the head state Fish and Wildlife checker in the Strait who reporter most were in the 8- to 10-pound range with some up to 15 pounds and the largest weighing 28 pounds.

Freshwater Bay had some decent days for kings up to 22 pounds. Sekiu saw a mix of hatchery kings, most 8 to 18 pounds, and a few coho, 3 to 4 pounds.

To the south, the Lower Columbia River remains open for summer chinook, steelhead and sockeye.

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