“I caught 12 last year from July through August,” said Burnett, 59, who a week ago reeled in a good-sized king salmon, properly known as a chinook, at the public pier.
No boat? No problem. If saltwater fishing is a summertime dream, there are several nearby spots where landlubbers can be anglers.
The state Department of Fish & Wildlife, on its website, lists Puget Sound public fishing piers by county. In Snohomish County, there’s public access to saltwater fishing at the pier in Edmonds, Everett’s 10th Street Marine Park, Kayak Point County Park, and in Mukilteo on the pier next to the ferry dock. Island County also has public fishing spots on Whidbey, including a pier at the Clinton ferry dock, Langley’s city pier, and at Cornet Bay.
It was cool and cloudy early Wednesday in Edmonds. Along with Burnett, a dozen people stood fishing from the pier. No one was crabbing. Burnett explained that the state allows no crabbing Tuesdays or Wednesdays. “It’s the fishermen’s day,” he said.
Reluctantly, the Edmonds man shared a tip he’d rather crowds of anglers didn’t know. Unlike other public piers in Snohomish County, or out on the water from boats, the Edmonds pier is open to salmon fishing year-round. “People on the boats don’t know you can fish year-round off the pier when salmon season is over,” he said.
Mark Baltzell, the state Department of Fish & Wildlife’s Puget Sound salmon manager, confirmed that anglers may fish for salmon year-round from the Edmonds pier. “It’s probably because the amount of fish people catch off the pier is much less than people would get in a boat,” he said. “The overall impact on the fishery is much less.”
Mike Chamberlain, owner of Ted’s Sports Center in Lynnwood, said there are public piers in the south Sound where salmon fishing also is allowed year-round. “It’s sort of a gimme to shore-bound anglers,” he said.
“The best king salmon fishing in Edmonds is about July 15 to Aug. 15,” Chamberlain said. “Last year was an exceptionally good season. This year, it’s been so-so.”
Complete regulations are in the state’s 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Regulation Pamphlet. While the state’s Marine Area 9, which includes Edmonds, is now open for chinook, that’s not the case in Area 8-2, home to the public piers in Everett, Mukilteo and Clinton.
That doesn’t keep anglers away from Mukilteo.
Two men, who said they were Vietnamese, reeled in a couple of flounders there Wednesday. They had other flatfish in a bucket before leaving by mid-morning.
Like the fishing pier at 10th Street Marine Park in Everett, the Mukilteo pier is owned and maintained by the Port of Everett.
“I fish here once or twice a week,” Jeff Drummen said. He wasn’t having much luck at the Mukilteo pier Wednesday.
Chamberlain said that on days crabbing is allowed, that’s popular at the Mukilteo pier. Crabbers also like the Kayak Point fishing pier, he said.
The Edmonds spot “is without a doubt the most heavily used pier in Puget Sound,” Chamberlain said. The L-shaped pier, which opened in 1975, was rebuilt a few years ago, a $1.6 million project. “It’s not just the fishing,” Chamberlain said. “Lots of people do their walks there. It’s just a wonderful facility.”
Valeda King, 58, was the only woman fishing on the Edmonds pier during my visit Wednesday. “I haven’t caught any salmon yet this year, but I’ve gotten five Dungeness and six red rock crabs,” she said.
Retired, the Lynnwood woman has worked as a hairstylist, a nanny, a truck driver and in a hospital. “I started fishing last year with my grandson. I spend three to five hours a day here. It’s therapeutic,” King said.
Rockfish, which Baltzell said have been listed as endangered or threatened since 2009, are now off limits, whether fishing from land or on a boat. “We also implemented a fishing depth restriction. You can’t fish below 120 feet of water. It works out for salmon anglers — salmon are in that top 120 feet,” Baltzell said.
Burnett’s complaints aren’t about rules. He and other anglers at the Edmonds pier said they’re competing with one wily seal. “That seal snags the first fish of the day. He takes it off the line and goes to the harbor entrance,” said Burnett, adding “he’s a bad seal.”
“Seals and sea lions are a hot topic right now,” agreed Baltzell, who has little doubt the tale is true.
Despite state regulations, few fish on the line, and that hungry marine mammal, anglers were in good spirits Wednesday. “It’s part of my routine,” Burnett said.
The state salmon official is a former boat owner. “You know what ‘boat’ stands for — break out another thousand,” Baltzell quipped.
“The great thing is, we have those places where people have access to fishing in the saltwater when they don’t have a boat.”
Julie Muhlstein: 425-339-3460; jmuhlstein@herald net.com.
The Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife lists several Puget Sound public fishing piers in Snohomish County: the Edmonds Pier, Everett’s 10th Street Marine Park pier, Kayak Point County Park pier and Mukilteo’s pier adjacent to the ferry dock. On south Whidbey: the Clinton fishing pier at the Clinton ferry dock and the city pier at the Langley Marina
State saltwater fishing license required, and crabbing endorsement if fishing for crab.
Fishing pier information: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/piers/
State fishing regulations: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/