By Wayne Kruse Special to The Herald
How good has the local coho fishing been the past couple of weeks?
“Like Sekiu on steroids,” according to one of John Martinis’ customers, who texted him at John’s Sporting Goods in Everett from the water, where he — the customer — was having a very good time.
Martinis went out to try it himself, in front of Edmonds on Monday, and enjoyed a 20-coho day.
“I’ll tell you, Wayne,” he said on the phone Tuesday, “This isn’t good fishing, it’s great fishing. I didn’t think I would ever see the ‘good old days’ around here again in my lifetime, but this is it.”
An exaggeration? Well, maybe a little. But not much.
State Department of Fish and Wildlife personnel checked 40 anglers with 33 coho Friday at the Edmonds Marina sling; 180 anglers with 155 coho Sunday at the Port of Everett ramp; and 155 anglers with 169 coho Sunday at the Shilshole ramp in Seattle.
Sure, those numbers include charters and very good, very experienced fishermen, but they also include a fair number of folks who dunk a hoochie once a year. For local action, that’s hot stuff my friend, and not far behind a similar check at Olson’s Resort in Sekiu on Sunday, which tallied 153 fish for 138 fishermen in 49 boats.
The numbers also show better fishing from Edmonds south than from up around Mukilteo and the shipwreck. Martinis was fishing off the oil tanks, starting at a depth of 30 to 60 feet at first light, but experimenting by going much deeper than usual later in the day.
“Here’s the tip of the week,” he said. “Most guys quit after the early-morning bite, but about 8:30 a.m. we’ve been dropping down to 150 feet and it’s been lights out fishing. Best I’ve seen in years.”
He recommends a purple haze flasher, and a Gold Star OAL12R purple haze squid, with an Ace Hi PH225 coho fly used as an insert.
Mike Chamberlain at Ted’s Sport Center in Lynnwood agreed that the best fishing has been from just north of Edmonds all the way down to Shilshole, from just offshore out to the shipping lanes, for fish averaging 4 to 7 pounds. The Kingston/Pilot Point area also has been good, Chamberlain said.
His customers have been scoring with green flasher and a glow white, green or chartreuse squid, Ace Hi fly, or Grand Slam Bucktail. He said a new coho fly on the market, by Olympic Tackle, also has been productive in the candlefish size, and in peacock or snow white colors.
Several local rivers, or portions thereof, opened for salmon under a wide range of different regulations Sept. 1 (be sure to check the pamphlet) and considering how low and clear most of them are, there were surprising numbers of coho taken over the weekend.
The Skagit opened from its mouth up to Gilligan Creek, and Kevin John at Holiday Sports in Burlington said fish were caught generally in two areas — down around Conway, and on the upper end of the open section, from Sedro-Woolley to Gilligan Creek. Casting Brad’s Wigglers in pirate, pinks or purples was popular, along with Vibrax spinners and Dick Nite spoons.
It’s a week or 10 days early for the Snohomish, according to John Martinis, but the desirable morning flood tides are on tap this week, and a scattering of fish is being seen in the Snohomish area. Martinis suggested trolling, both up and downstream, with and against the current/tidal run, using a half-ounce mooching sinker, six feet of leader and a V74 fire tiger Wiggle Wart plug.
The launch in Snohomish is steep and difficult, and the ramp at Lowell Riverview Park is hard to use at low tide. That leaves Langus Park as the pick of the litter, although sometimes quite a way from the action. Coho limit on the Snohomish is three per day.
Anglers on the Stillaguamish found 3- to 4-pound coho scattered from tidewater up to about I-5 over the weekend, according to Darrel Kron at Hook Line &Sinker in Smokey Point, even though the river is getting pretty low. Early and late in the day offer the best bet, for fish tending to hold in the deeper holes. Size 4 Blue Fox spinners seem to be the weapon of choice, Kron said. Limit on the Stilly is two coho per day.
The westside Whidbey beaches continue to produce coho, while beach casters at Deception Pass are just starting to see a fish or two. State checks at the pass on Friday showed 20 anglers with one coho.
Statewide hunting seasons opened for doves and grouse Sept. 1 and, while the state no longer has formal opening day sampling procedures, anecdotal reports showed generally good results. Wildlife biologist Rich Finger, at the state’s Ephrata office, said enforcement personnel indicated the Basin dove hunt drew fewer hunters than the past couple of years, but that hunting was perhaps a little better.
A few Eurasian collared doves were seen in the bag dominated by mourning doves, Finger said. Collared doves are native to the area from Turkey east to southern China, from where they turned up in the Bahamas, then Florida, and now much of the U.S. They have a black collar across the back of the neck, and tend to be larger, stockier and with a shorter tail than mourning doves — sort of like a cross between doves and the common pigeon, Finger said.
For more hunting and fishing news, visit Wayne Kruse’s blog at www.heraldnet.com/huntingandfishing.