By Jason Brooks
The bite is on! From Sekiu where limits of clipped Coho are being boated, to Shipwreck and south to Puyallup where Pinks have been filling punch cards for several weeks now, all the way to the mighty Columbia’s Buoy 10 and Chinook ripping line fleeing from Sea Lions. And with rain in the forecast next week and several Olympic Peninsula rivers opening next month it’s time to get those eggs cured! In fact the famed Skokomish fishery has been nearly overrun with egg fisherman shoving the flossers and snagger’s out of the way.
Once again I missed out on another epic trip. Last month I took Ryan, my 9 year old to Sekiu and fished with my buddy Grant Blinn. We boated a pink and turned loose several Coho and a few Chinook. Well, Grant returned to Sekiu last week and I couldn’t make the trip. He was sure to rub it in on their way home with a boat limit of eight clipped Coho! Running Coyote Spoons or Brad’s Super Cut Plug’s stuffed with herring behind a dodger and only dropping down from 20 to 50 feet on the downrigger cable and somehow making it through schools of Pinks to get to the Coho.
My buddy Chris Clearman took his twin boys, Nathan and Ryan down to the famed “Skok” last weekend and between the three of them they have over a dozen “bobber downs” in a two hour early morning bite. As the sun came up the Chinook moved into the shadows making them easy targets for those not as ethical as Chris so he and his boys loaded up their fish and headed for home. This is a great early morning or low tide fishery just above the deadline at the Power Line crossing (which is the new boundary this year for those that fish this rivers tide waters).
Last Friday I decided to head down to the Puyallup and get a few Pink salmon, sorting through for the hens and noted that several Coho where being caught as well. It was a beautiful evening and the crowd was pretty calm and nice as well. I hope this is something that will continue, and we as sportsman and sportswoman can teach new anglers how to act and push the “bad apples” away from our rivers. One thing I do is write down my local game warden’s phone number on my punch card. When I see an unruly group doing illegal acts I simply give them a call and leave a detailed message if they are busy. But this past Friday there was no need to give them a call and that made my night even better.
With fresh cured Pink skeins in my fridge I began to re-spool my rods with new floating lines anticipating a quick trip to the Skok to grab some fresh Chinook filets for the upcoming Labor Day weekend. Before I could get the rods completely re-spooled another buddy called. This time it was Nathan Bryant (360-219-3863) of West Coast Anglers (salmoncommanders.net) who relayed that Buoy 10 was doing really well. In fact, as of recent, no more unclipped Chinook can be kept. The standard at Buoy 10 is to run a Big Al’s Fish Flash on a dropper weight or diver trailed by a plug cut herring. Troll along until the rod bends over solid and then hold on for dear life! This is a great fishery and as the fish move upriver expect the Gorge to start up where I prefer to hover fish out in front of tributary rivers dumping in colder water as the fish rest and re-energize.
I have learned a few things this past week. The first being that the salmon bite is on! The other being that I need to put down my cell phone and get out and go fishing!