FISH, FUR, FOWL: Cold salmon season heats up

Salmon anglers have had limited success so far this season, but that will change as we roll into August.

As the season progresses, salmon will start to flood into Puget Sound, seeking the river that they spent the first parts of their life in to complete their life cycle and spawn.

Sockeye are the first to enter local rivers. If you have a chance to get to the Skagit River before the end of the month you have a very good chance at what some consider the best eating of all the salmon. Most of the action will be from just down the river from Concrete up to the Baker River where they will be harvested for the hatchery.

Be sure to check your regulations as it can be a little tricky figuring out where and what to fish. Sand shrimp seems to be the favorite from those that I have talked with but check with local bait and tackle shops for the latest and greatest rig.

Kings are next to come, followed by the silvers. San Juan anglers have reported spotty action right now but as I said, that will all change as the season progresses. Remember to troll deep and slow for kings as they like to feed on candle fish. If trolling isn’t productive try mooching with a Point Wilson dart. Lure fishing can not only be more productive but can get the old heart rate up in a hurry. Silvers will tend to be where the bait is, so if you have a good fish finder set your depth were you see the fish.

Most salmon anglers will agree that there are two mind sets salmon will have; those that want to eat and those that don’t. Feeders will strike because they’re hungry while the others will strike because the lure is a nuisance. If you are not having luck trolling and there are fish on the fish finder, then stop and get a jig down in front of their face. You will find you put more fish in the cooler if you remain flexible.

While fishing from the beach at the famed pump house near the Port Townsend ferry this weekend, silver salmon were jumping within casting range. Although they are a bit smaller than those we will see later on in the season, averaging between 2 to 5 pounds, it was nice to know they were there. I only saw one landed using a 2 ½ inch perch colored Buzz Bomb, but pink was another popular color. The best times to fish are one hour before and after a high tide.

Several readers have reported good numbers of Dolly Varden being caught on the Skagit and Sauk rivers. You can fish from either a boat or shore. Lures of choice are either a small (#9 or #7) suspending Rapala in either trout or black and gold or a #3 blue fox in brass or brass and silver.

Hunting reports:

For those of us that love to hunt mark your calendars for August 1. Bear and cougar seasons will be open and there are some very nice public places to hunt in the Cascades.

Be courteous and be safe and I will see you on the water. Local clubs can e-mail me with events they would like to announce. Be sure to send pictures, recipes, stories or even a comment or two to I look forward to hearing from you.

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