Salmon fishing: Silvers are tough and completely unpredictable

  • By Wayne Kruse Herald Writer
  • Wednesday, September 3, 2014 5:08pm
  • Sports

Somebody once said, “If there’s ever only one salmon left in the world, it will be a coho.”

That’s an obvious fantasy, but it also carries a certain kernel of truth. Silvers are tough, resilient and adaptable. They’re completely unpredictable, and determined survivors. Here today, gone tomorrow. On the bite (Where?) and off the bite (Here).

So tips on fishing the two upcoming coho derbies, Edmonds on Saturday and Everett on Sept. 20-21, could well be stale by the time participants actually hit the water. Nevertheless, here’s the local Sept. 4 coho condition:

“Silvers are where you find them,” says Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sport Center in Lynnwood. “But the most consistent action in this area recently has been from south of Edmonds up toward Brown’s Bay, out in deeper water, and down anywhere from the surface to 45 feet in the mornings, dropping to 60 or even 100 feet later in the day.”

The list of spots likely to hold coho at any one point of the season is long and frustrating: Picnic Point, humpy hollow, the west side of Whidbey Island, Possession Bar, Scatchet Head, Pilot Point, Kingston, Jefferson Head, Carkeek Park, the southern portion of Mutiny Bay, and on and on.

If you get the impression that your chance of hitting a money fish during either derby is about as good as anyone else’s, despite your lack of expertise, you’ve got the basic idea. Most of the local coho right now are running 4 to 6 pounds on the average, with a few to 12 or 13 pounds, but a derby winner of 15 pounds or so could be swimming most anywhere in the local area, just waiting for your glow green Coho Killer spoon. The winner of last year’s Edmonds derby, for instance, was taken less than 100 yards off the Edmonds Marina breakwater.

Fish the rips, Chamberlain says, watch for birds working schools of bait, other anglers landing fish, and jumping or surfacing salmon. Early morning is the best time to be on the water and, while the state of the tide doesn’t make as much difference to coho anglers as some other species, Chamberlain likes the last two hours of the incoming tide through high slack. The low Saturday morning is at 9:04 a.m., Chamberlain says, which isn’t particularly promising. Mooching herring at Point No Point on the ebb would be a good tactic, he says.

Use a glow green or glow white Hot Spot flasher, followed by one of these Gold Star squids: OG140 (Swede’s awesome), OG142 (green hornet), OG161R (mother of pearl), or OAL12 (purple haze). Other good lures include Grand Slam bucktails in green, coho flies, Coho Killer spoons in glow green or chartreuse, or the old reliable plug-cut herring. Chamberlain suggests a leader length of 20 to 32 inches for squids and flies, and 36 to 42 inches for the spoons. And a fast troll of 3 to 31/2 mph is standard coho procedure.

All Star Charters owner Gary Krein, in Everett, said several limits came from the shoreline south of Edmonds on Monday and Tuesday, most small but with a couple in the 8- to 9-pound range.

Youth hunt

If you have a budding wingshooter in the family but nowhere to go on the waterfowl opener Oct. 11, consider the special youth hunt, Sept. 20-21, for waterfowl and upland birds. The local chapter of the Washington Waterfowl Association, with the Nature Conservancy, offers free duck hunts for youngsters 15 and under, and can even loan a shotgun if the young person is gunless. There will be five hunts per day, two in the morning and three in the afternoon, and as of Tuesday morning there were still several slots left. It’s first come, first served, so if you’re interested, get on it. The youth involved must have all the proper paperwork — licenses, permits, stamps, in hand.

These experiences can be tailored to the individual, from one adult and one youth on their own, to a fully “guided” hunt including a club member with a call.

Contact “Reb” at 760-859-7442, or

Neah Bay opportunity

Lots of good fishing going on right now at Neah Bay, according to Joey Lawrence, owner of Big Salmon Fishing Resort: two lingcod, 10 rockfish, two silvers, two kings, per day. Coho and chinook can now be either hatchery or wild fish, Lawrence said.

Contact the resort at 1-866-787-1900 or or go to or

Boat show

The Lake Union Boats Afloat Show in Seattle runs Sept. 10-14, with lots of nautical stuff for boaters of all persuasions. Hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends; tickets are $12 for adults, $5 for youth 12-17; and free for kids 11 and under. A special sailing ticket for $50 will get you two days admission, a 11/2-hour sailing seminar, and a 11/2-hour on-water sailing lesson.

E-tickets can be purchased at, and if you buy your admission tix online, you get a one-year Boat U.S. membership and a free appetizer at Nouvilhos Brazilian Steakhouse, Chandler’s Cove.

One powerboat of note on display will be one of the Aspen Power Catamarans, the C100 32-foot production boat that recently completed a circumnavigation of Vancouver Island non-stop, unrefueled. The Aspen team completed the 641-mile challenge in 47 hours, on 267 gallons of fuel, averaging 13.6 knots and using a miserly 5.6 gallons per hour at cruise speed.

Other attractions at the show will include the Center for Wooden Boats’ kids toy boat building Saturday and Sunday; kids free sailing lessons, Saturday and Sunday; free sailboat rides every day; and adult sailboat lessons daily.

Potholes trophies

Potholes Reservoir kicked out a couple of very trophy fish over the Labor Day weekend — a 33-pound channel catfish, and a 2-pound, 4-ounce, 141/2-inch crappie. The big cat was taken by Santo Garza of Othello, casting a chatterbait from the shore at the east end of O’Sullivan Dam. A chatterbait is an inline skirted lure commonly used on the reservoir. The crappie was “a huge fish for its species,” according to MarDon Resort owner Mike Meseberg. “You seldom see crappie that size.”

The crappie was caught off the MarDon Dock, truly a plate-size panfish. Pictures of the two trophies are posted on the Herald’s outdoor blog.

Crabbing closes

Most areas of Puget Sound closed to recreational crabbing on Sept. 1, and summer catch reports are due by midnight, Oct. 1. The only two areas of the Sound remaining open to crabbing are marine areas 7-North and 7-South in the San Juan Islands. Crabbers working those two areas must now record their catch on winter cards.

State shellfish manager Rich Childers said WDFW will announce winter crab seasons in early October, after completing its assessment of the summer fishery.

Crabbers can submit catch record cards to WDFW by mail at CRC Unit, 600 Capitol Way N., Olympia 98501, or online at, through Oct. 1.

Recreationists who fail to file their catch reports on time will face a $10 fine when they purchase a 2015 Puget Sound crab endorsement.

For more outdoor news, read Wayne Kruse’s blog at

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