Try the ditch for kings

This is one of my favorite times of year.

The Samish River, or the ditch as some call it, opened for salmon fishing at the beginning of the month. Although angling is slow right now, expect it to heat up later and produce some of the biggest kings of the summer.

I have not had any reports as of yet but those that hit the river early and have success tend to be quiet about it. Overcrowding is their concern and if you have ever fished the Samish during the peak, you will understand what I mean. However it doesn’t mean the fish are not there and with little to no crowding, this is the perfect time of the year to get your feet wet.

Some equipment needed includes chest waders, an 8-foot, 6-inch medium-heavy rod, a net and some salmon roe.

I like to spool my reel up with 65-pound power pro line. This will help muscle a big fish away from the many snags in the river.

The terminal gear would be about a 30-inch long leader of 40 monofilament with one red octopus hook tied with an egg loop. I also like to have a small orange or pink corky with red or chartreuse yarn tied close to the eye of the hook.

The most popular place and time is in the first mile or so of the river at a very low tide. When the tide rolls out, the river level drops and concentrates the fish in holes. Most of these holes will be found where the river changes course.

Wade out in the river with the hole in front of you. In most places you will get to within rod distance of the other side of the bank. Put a nice size chunk of salmon roe in your egg loop and drop it into the hole, then keep the line tight. If the current is moving too fast you can add enough split shot to keep your bait down near the bottom.

The tricky part is feeling the bite — it is extremely subtle and will feel like a small twig has bumped your line.

When that happens give it a nice jerk. Once you hook into a 25-plus pound king in four feet of water right at your feet, you will be hooked yourself. After a couple of successful hook sets on the fish you should have a good idea what the difference is between a bite and something bumping your line.

You can even get into some of the action if you have a smaller boat. With a good nautical map of Samish Bay, you will be able to see where the river flows through at low tide and also be able to mark the off-limit area as well.

These areas are great to get out a dart and jig for salmon. Be careful not to drift into the no fishing area and also watch out for commercial fishing nets.

With a little time and not a huge expense you will be able to put some nice, bright kings in your freezer and on your table.

One last note is that the Sound is still producing some nice fish in all the areas I have mentioned in previous articles. Hoochies seem to be out-fishing most of the popular gear and right now Area 9 seems to be doing a bit better than Area 7.

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