SILVERS ARE RUNNING in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and on down to Hood Canal, so it’s time to rig the Coho Killers and set the downriggers during the Labor Day weekend.
Coho started to show up in good numbers off Sekiu last week and the numbers have increased day by day.
“Today’s even better,” Brandon Mason of Mason’s Olson’s Resort (360-963-2311) in Sekiu said Thursday afternoon.
“Every day seems to be getting better and better.”
On average, the coho are running between 8 to 10 pounds, with the occasional silver in the low teens.
“We had a 17-pound hatchery coho [Tuesday],” Mason said. “That’s the biggest coho I’ve seen all summer.
“And coho put on a pound a week, so they should keep getting bigger the whole month of September. I think we are in for a great month of coho fishing.”
Creel reports showed 61 anglers caught 93 coho on Wednesday in fish checks at Van Ripers’ Resort in Sekiu.
Mason pointed out that not every boat, not every angler and not every fish caught are being counted by state fish checkers.
“Folks have to remember the samplers are only checking every so many boats, they don’t check every boat,” Mason said.
“When you see 93 coho caught on the creel reports that means there are hundreds being caught, so come on out and fish for the day. Come fishing and bring the kids. It’s been fast and furious action and they are so scrappy.”
Those leaving the docks by 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. are coming back with limits after two to three hours, Mason said.
“Back in time for some afternoon beers and to grill up some coho,” he added.
And judging by the eggs he’s seen, Mason said these fish are ready to hit their native rivers.
“These fish — the eggs in them I’ve seen — the eggs within them are loose, so they are ready to start laying eggs on their spawning grounds,” Mason said.
Coho in JeffCo
Quilcene’s Ward Norden, a former fisheries biologist and owner of Snapper Tackle Co., has been keeping vigil at the Quilcene National Fish Hatchery, awaiting the first of the fall coho to arrive.
“The hatchery just got its first flush of fish in the last 48 hours just in time for the holiday weekend,” Norden said Wednesday. “It is time to start fishing. The fish now are a bit small like resident coho, mostly 4 to 6 pounds, but the big ones will come later.”
Earlier in the week, Norden had a report from a popular beach fishing location for coho.
“Not too many have been fishing Marrowstone Point at Fort Flagler yet, but those that have used traditional bait rigs plus herring,” Norden said. “These anglers have been beset with annoying dogfish sharks stealing their bait and hooks. Under these conditions it is far better and cheaper to use artificial lures like Rotator Jigs, Buzz Bombs, large casting spinners, or steelhead spoons which are all less attractive to the sharks.”
Avid Port Angeles angler and lure designer Pete Rosko recently returned to fish Lake Sutherland after a summer of chinook fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
“After my lone trip to Lake Sutherland in June, and experiencing uncharacteristically poor results, I never returned until this past Friday,” Rosko said.
“Boy, what a difference 2 1/2 months can make.”
Rosko is in his 38th year fishing Lake Sutherland and he said he made two observations that rekindled “his love affair for this body of water.”
“First, in recent memory, I do not recall seeing so many fish marks on my fishfinder that were trout,” Rosko said. “The quality cutthroat trout were easily caught closer to bottom by jigging 1/2 and 3/4 oz glow pink Sonic BaitFish, and Kandlefish, within 2 to 3 feet of bottom.
“All fish were released, including trout up to 17 inches, in hope of producing record state cutthroats that this lake was previously famous for.
“Secondly, despite the warmer water, the pre-spawn schools of kokanee are starting to form near their traditional areas on the western end of the lake. Like the larger trout, the majority of kokanee are positioned within 10 feet of the bottom in 50 to 70 feet of water.
“The same metal jigs that are effective for trout are equally effective for kokanee.”
Rosko said to remember that most fish are sensitive to light.
“On bright sunny days, fish the low light periods of early morning and late afternoon,” Rosko advised.” During cloudy, and rainy days, productive fishing can usually be experienced all day long.”