As the phone rang the caller I.D. showed it was my buddy Ted Schuman. I knew it was going to be a fishing report, and since I couldn’t go this weekend I also knew it was going to be a good one. Ted just informed me that they decided to fish Willapa Bay. Before I could say, “Isn’t it a little early yet?” he added, “We hooked a mixed bag of Chinook and Coho totaling thirteen fish!” Ted continued and relayed that he received a tip from Wayne Anderson, a mutual friend of ours at North Fork Custom Rods. Wayne had fished Saturday and hooked just as many so Ted and a couple of other friends including Julie Johnston and Jeff Power joined him today to give it another go.
Fishing the second half of the incoming tide which pushed a lot of bait into the harbor drew in migrating salmon, as well as a few whales. The best fishing was from Washaway Beach towards Tokeland. Ted was using a Yakima Bait Big Al’s Fish Flash (his favorite color is red) trailed by a cut plug red label herring. Using a diver out 25 to 30 pulls of line and then put the rod in the rod holder and troll along. It was important to use the proper rods as they fished five of them out of the boat. The side rods were North Fork Custom’s 9’11” rated for 10-30 pound test. The rods that were run out of the back of the boat were North Fork Custom’s 9’ and also rated 10-30 pounds. Once the rod doubles over give it a few seconds for the hooks to bury and then fight the fish in while others get the other gear in so a fish doesn’t tangle in this shallow water fishery. If you don’t like to use divers then a dropper weight system using 8 to 10 ounce lead balls on a sliding system works great too.
This is a simple fishery and one Ted really wants people to utilize. He is a board member of the Tacoma CCA chapter, as well as a freshwater guide for fall salmon and winter steelhead (he was not guiding on this trip). Being heavily involved in our fishing future, Schuman can be found at several public meetings held by the WDFW, including sitting in everyday during the North of Falcon process. He added that this Willapa Bay fishery is somewhat of a test of sport anglers and he really hopes that everyone who can get out to it will get out there and mark as many fish as they can on their punch cards, showing WDFW that this is an important sports fishery.