Fish abound at Edmonds Coho Derby

  • By Wayne Kruse Special to The Herald
  • Wednesday, September 12, 2012 8:37pm
  • Sports

Don’t know who wrote the script for the Sno-King Chapter, Puget Sound Anglers, but it must have been someone in a power position because their Edmonds Coho Derby on Saturday hit a big, hot run of biting coho literally on the nose.

Results hardly could have been better as the most incredible silver fishery on north Puget Sound in 25 years camped out right in front of derby headquarters. The club sold almost 1,000 tickets and weighed 599 coho, which far outstripped the previous derby record catch of about 400 fish.

Top dog was Bryan Thomson, who took home $5,000 for his 11-pound coho (cleaned weight); second and $2,000 went to Nick Uhrict at 10 pounds, 15.8 ounces; and third, worth $1,000, to Cyndee Devore at 10 pounds, 12.2 ounces.

The youth division was won by Hunter Wood, with a nice silver of 9 pounds, 13 ounces (cleaned weight). Second went to Noble Hargitt at 9 pounds, 8 ounces, and third to Parker Grytness at 9 pounds, 5 ounces. The vast majority of fish entered in the derby were between 4 and 7 pounds, not particularly large, on the average.

Club president Ron Garner said Thomson’s winning fish was caught off the shipwreck, in 720 feet of water and down 45 feet on the ‘riggers. Thomson was pulling a purple haze Q Cove breakaway flasher and purple haze Silver Horde hoochie, Garner said. Some of the more popular rigs among derby entrants included UV flashers of several kinds, Ace High flies, white squids, green/white squids, and white lightning Coho Killer spoons.

Most of the local coho had been holding between between Edmonds and Seattle since the bite came on, but the fish started pushing northward late last week. On derby day, Garner said, the best catch averages came from the shipwreck south to below the Edmonds Oil Dock.

The storm front which blew through on Sunday slowed the action a bit, but a wounded warrior fish-in organized by Sno-King Chapter — 20 guests in 14 boats — still caught fish, Garner said. State Fish and Wildlife Department samplers checked 458 anglers in 198 boats on Saturday at the Port of Everett ramp, with 579 coho. On Sunday, it dropped to 45 fish for 98 fishermen.

John Martinis at John’s Sporting Goods in Everett said that by early this week, coho had moved as far north as Mukilteo, and that fishing was smokin’ between Mukilteo and the shipwreck. Go out to midway in the channel between Whidbey Island and the mainland, drop down to between 30 and 60 feet first thing in the morning, and tow a purple haze flasher with purple haze Gold Star OAL-12-R, 3.5 squid. At about 8:30 a.m., when the early bite stops, either drop down to 120 or 150 feet and continue to catch coho, or go home.

But there’s a game-changer here, Martinis said. The real coho cruncher is to insert a UV Ace High fly into the squid for a combo he’s found super-effective on this run of fish. To see how to rig it, go to and click on his coho video.

Another tip: “We weighed a 14 and an 18-pounder for a guy on Monday, and he said he had broken off two other big fish,” Martinis said. “He was using 15-pound test leader and that just isn’t heavy enough to handle the strike of silvers that big. Go to 30-pound leader and stand a better chance of landing a derby prize.”

With the big Everett Coho Derby coming up, Martinis and expert salmon fisherman Mike Greenleaf will host a derby-oriented seminar Sept. 21, 7 p.m., at Bayside Marine, just south of the Port of Everett ramp. Address there is 1111 Craftsman Way; phone 425-252-3088. The seminar will cover gear, techniques, the latest information on where the fish are, and provide fishing maps of productive local saltwater areas.

Everett Coho Derby

The big one is due up Sept. 22-23. Tickets are on sale at most local tackle shops and marinas for $25 a copy (see the derby website, for specific locations), with cash prizes starting at $3,000, $2,000 and $1,500.

Last year’s event drew 1,700 adult entrants, who weighed 673 coho. Look for both numbers to be higher this year, perhaps at record levels, and a fish larger than the 16.6-pounder which took all the marbles in 2011 to end up on top. Well-known highliner Mike Fure took that fish trolling a green flasher/green squid combo in Area 8-2.

The derby area encompasses marine areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10, plus rivers in King, Snohomish and Skagit counties. Twenty of last year’s top-30 coho came from saltwater, nine from the Snohomish River, and one from the Skagit. Numbers 4 and 5 on the 2011 prize list were both from the Snohomish, caught on Dick Nite spoons.

In addition to seven cash prizes, the sponsoring Everett Steelhead and Salmon Club, Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club and Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association, will award a Dodge Ram 1500 pickup by drawing from among those participants who enter a fish. All paid entrants will be eligible for a drawing to give away a 16-foot boat with 20-hp Yamaha 4-stroke outboard and trailer.

The high-profile prize event, however, will be the drawing for the 21-foot Riverhawk/Mercury 150 which is the grand prize in the year-long Northwest Salmon Series. The winner will come from entry ticket stubs collected for all the 2012 participating derbies.

Besides the popular annual pre-derby seminar presented by John Martinis and Mike Greenleaf (above, Sept. 21) Cabela’s will put on a similar event Sept. 20 at their Tulalip store. On the mic at 5 p.m. will be Ken Pinnell, with Q-Cove Flashers; 6 p.m., Gary Krein and Nick Kester of All Star Charters, with tips on successfully fishing coho in local waters; 7 p.m., Jim and Jennifer Stahl with Snohomish River coho strategies; and 8 p.m., Doug Saint-Denis with Dick Nite spoons for coho.

There will be prizes, refreshments and more.

Go to for information.

Westport coho

The popular coho fishery in the Westport boat basin is underway, but not yet at peak production. You don’t need a boat or a charter reservation to participate, since fishing is for coho raised there in a net pen and involves casting Buzz Bombs or similar weighted spoons from the various finger piers. You can see schools of silvers circling the basin when the fishery is at its peak, said Merle Lundell at Westport Charters, and cast to them. It’s a little early yet for top action, he said.

Hanford fall chinook

The Hanford Reach fall chinook fishery upriver from the Tri-Cities is picking up steam, but not yet at peak levels, according to state biologist Paul Hoffarth in Pasco. Department creel sampling showed 307 anglers in 132 boats last week with 60 adult and 12 jack chinook.

Yakima River kings

Fall chinook are moving into the Yakima, but so far have not shown up in the recreational catch. That should happen shortly, with good fishing developing around Yakima and the mouth of the Naches, and farther upriver below Roza Dam. Most fishing effort last week on the lower river was for bass and channel catfish.

Hunting access

Upland bird and waterfowl hunting passes on thousands of acres of farmland between Royal City and Potholes Reservoir (the Royal Slope) are available through MarDon Resort for $300, benefitting Royal schools and athletic programs. Call the resort at 509-346-2651 or visit the Royal Boosters website,

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