Fishing reports for Washington, Oregon, Puget Sound and the Columbia River. Salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, walleye, bass, trout and kokanee.
THREE RIVERS MARINE FISHING REPORT 09/12/2017
SNOHOMISH SYSTEM: The Snohomish system is full of pinks and more silvers are showing up in the lower river by the day. The pinks have been spread out from the lower Snohomish river all the way up to the Sultan area on the Skykomish river. If you are planning to target the pink salmon make sure to arm yourself with plenty of pink jigs and buzz bombs as well as dick nite spoons. Those finding the best success have been targeting the moving schools with pink or white jig heads with either a pink or white hoochie on the back. Those fishing dick nites have been using colors such as 50/50, pink, plain silver or orange. If you are planning to throw either jigs or dick nites we recommend adding some shrimp scent to your offering or adding a piece of shrimp to your jigs to increase your bites.
The silvers are starting to show in the lower Snohomish. The numbers seem to be increasing by the day and the next little bit of rain we get should help encourage more to enter the system as well as move further up river. Those wanting to target the Silvers can employ similar tactics as you would for pinks. Those fishing from a boat can find success using plugs casted or trolled behind the boat such as brad’s wigglers and mag lips in the 3.0 & 3.5 sizes. Popular plug colors include firetiger or red herring bone as well as other plugs that are red or purple in color. Other tactics to catch the Snohomish system Silvers include dick nites, spinners, twitching jigs or fishing bait. Dick nites can be deadly while fished on a sliding weight rig using a cannonball weight. Some popular color dick nites include frog in all variations as well as the most popular, the 50/50. Fishing spinners can trigger the aggressive nature of silvers and get them into a biting mood. If you are planning to fish spinners make sure you have a variety of colors to rotate through such as pink, purple, blue, chartreuse and orange. Besides adding scent to your presentation, a proven addition can make the difference for the day by adding a squid skirt to the spinner. Twitching jigs can be another technique to fill the boat with silvers on a river system. Most popular sizes are 3/8 and 1/2oz in a variety of colors. If you have thrown all these presentations and are having trouble getting bit try fishing a gob of eggs either drift fished or fished under a float. Pro Glo cure and Zilla salmon egg cure in red razzberry have been the go to for many anglers this past year.
LOCAL SALTWATER: Area 10 has been red hot for the Silvers as they make their migration into the local river systems. The bite has been great for easy limits of Silvers in Area 10. To catch the Silvers in the saltwater guys are trolling either off of a downrigger or using a diver to get down to the desired depth. The Silvers have been very willing to eat a variety of presentations such as spoons, herring or a hoochie with a herring strip. Those fishing spoons have been using coho killers or smaller kingfisher spoons in herring aide, irish cream, white lightning and cookies and cream. For the hoochies or ace high flys we recommend glow white, green splatterback or purple haze. Make sure to always run a herring teaser on the top hook of your double hook leader inside the hoochie for a little added scent and incentive for those Silvers to latch on! Most guys have been finding success from the surface down to 120’ or so depending on time of day and sunlight penetration. Make sure to troll faster as you would for Kings while using s turns as Silvers are notorious for following a bait and will bite on a direction or speed change. Popular areas for the Silvers in Area 10 are West Point, Richmond Beach, Meadow Point and Kingston. We expect this fishery to remain strong until it closes at the end of October.
Area 7 and 11 have been producing kings still as they head both north and south to their local spawning rivers. Those fishing those areas should be prepared to fish deep with downriggers and flashers. Bait choice for the kings is the same as Area 10 Silvers. The kings have been eating spoons in both the coho killers and kingfisher spoons in herring aide, white lightning and cookies and cream. Trolling hoochies or ace hi flys in green splatterback or white. Area 7 closes for Chinook at the end of September while Area 11 closes at the end of October.
COLUMBIA RIVER: The Columbia River has remained a red-hot fishery farther upriver and should continue into the fall. The stretch of the Columbia from Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam has been excellent fishing. The fishing on the river will continue to be great as the fish make their way up river to their desired spawning locations. For those heading down to the main Columbia make sure to bring a selection of “finned flashers” from Pro Troll and Shortbus 360 flashers. Behind the flashers we recommend running the Brads Superbaits in the ladybug, rotten banana and the hotter tamale. In addition to the Brads Superbait we encourage people to try spinners such as the fatal flash or vip spinners. If you plan to fish the mouth of the Cowlitz try fishing a wobbler such as a simon or brads. Guys can also find success trolling at the mouth of the Cowlitz with spinners or superbaits in the above-mentioned colors or even fresh anchovies or herring.
LAKE WASHINGTON: As fall approaches an overlooked fishery right in our backyard turns red-hot. That fishery being Lake Washington Perch. Lake Washington perch are abundant and easy to catch in numbers. Look for any sort of schools on your fish finders along any of the weedlines or out in 40’-60’. To target perch, use Swedish pimples vertically jigged or use a drop shot rig with a piece of nightcrawler or perch meat. These fish travel in big schools so it’s not uncommon to catch a 5-gallon bucket full in a couple of hours. It is a great fishery right in our own backyard to get the whole family involved.
Cowlitz River: The Cowlitz River is hot for steelhead and some of the steelhead being brought in are of great size. Guys in boats are side drifting with beads or eggs as well as pulling plugs. For beads, guys have been opting for a bigger size bead such as a 10 or 12 mm due to the higher water we are facing this spring. Natural red, pinks and oranges have been the hot bead colors. As we get farther into spring springers will start to become more common. Shore anglers have been drifting with bait and beads as well around the blue creek or barrier dam areas.
Puget Sound Blackmouth: Puget Sound has been on fire for the anglers willing to battle the rain and wind on the water. Anglers are finding lots of success using the new silver horde two face kingfishers and coho killers. In addition to the two face spoons, anglers are finding success pulling tomic plugs as well as other coho killers and kingfishers in a variety of colors such as herring aide, white lightning, and cookies and cream. Some anglers are also having success pulling hoochies in a white or green splatterback pattern behind a flasher with a strip of herring.
Trout Fishing in lakes: The lowland lakes are starting to see their spring trout stockings making catching a limit easy as can be. Beaver lake in Sammamish was planted with 7000+ planter size rainbow trout on March 13th. To catch these fish in numbers guys in boats are trolling any sort of spinners such as wedding rings or rooster tails. Fly fisherman are having great days pulling wooly buggers in black and olive patterns. For the guys that want to just catch and keep powerbait off the bottom is great for both shore and boat anglers. Fishing the area of the lake around the boat launch area will be good for a week or so as the fish start to disperse down the lake. Rattlesnake lake was recently planted as well in the last couple weeks and should provide a great opportunity for anglers that want to use spinners or flies and catch a bunch of nice trout. Remember though that Rattlesnake lake is selective gear rules so single point barbless hooks and no scent or bait.
Lake Roosevelt Kokanee: Lake Roosevelt Kokanee fishing is kicking out giant kokanee and limits on the regular. Anglers looking to target the biggest kokanee Washington state has to offer should bring with them a variety of wedding rings with mini squids in orange, pink and red. In addition to the wedding rings anglers should make sure to pack some kokabow spinners and small crankbaits such as the Berkley flicker shad in colors such as firetiger or red tiger. The kokanee commonly caught are in the 18-20” range with the potential of a new state record kokanee a real possibility any day.
Westport Bottomfish: Westport Bottom fishing just opened March 11th for lingcod and the fishing has been fantastic! Lingcod limits are two per person with no minimum size as well as your rockfish limit you are able to bring home a freezer full of great eating fish. The best part about this fishery is you don’t need a boat to catch these tasty fish. Anglers are finding success off the Westport jetty with jig heads and some sort of single or twin tail grub as well as running a swimbait like a kgm tw swimmer on a swimbait head. Colors that are most popular for the grubs are white, motor oil, rootbeer or black. Anglers on a boat can expect to find success running live bait or herring as well as using jigs such as a point Wilson darts. Anglers who can’t find live flounder can also find success using a flounder imitation such as the kgm swim dabs.
Coastal Steelhead: Fishing on the coastal systems for steelhead has been productive with a lot of Big Native Steelhead being brought in by the anglers braving the windy, wet and snowy cold conditions we have been plagued with. Anglers fishing the coastal systems should come prepared with a selection of pink worms as well as a selection of beads. Guys fishing pink worms have has success with the WFO and Holey Worms both on a drift fishing or bobberdoggin setup. Bead colors that have been productive are beads in a natural red, orange or pink just depending on water clarity. Spoon fishing as well has accounted for some big steelhead such as the R and B and Pen Tac spoons.
Skykomish River coho fishing has been really good, lots of big late season coho and not that much boat or bank pressure. Backtrolling Maglip 3.5 and Kwikfish K13/K14 plugs have been the ticket, a small sardine wrap on the underside of the plug will double your takedowns at times and also entice those gnarly Chum as well. For the boat crowd, fishing throughout the Skykomish from the mouth to the Wallace has been great, but I would imagine the Sultan area would have the highest concentration of fish, as they stage to head up the Wallace River, and the smaller feeder streams in the area that host runs of wild fish. Bank anglers have been doing well at the Lewis Street Bridge access in Monroe, Cracker Bar and Jim’s Rock in Sultan, and of course near the hatchery in the Wallace River itself. Go out and get em! Also, there are a few very soft-spoken customers of ours that have been buying sand shrimp, steelhead jigs and spoons… it wouldn’t surprise me if a few of them have already found a number of Winter Steelhead at Reiter and Cable Hole!
Fishing with John Thomas of Rotten Chum Guide Service. Skykomish River Coho caught this week on a Mag Lip 3.5 Misty River!
Skagit River has been making plenty of north end anglers happy. Some locals are calling 2016 one of the best Skagit River Coho years in recent memory! Lots of big fish, and plenty of fish still moving into the river even here in November! Primarily a drift boat or jet sled show, backtroll Mag Lip 3.5 plugs, twitch jigs, roll spinners, float fish eggs, you know the drill. Bank anglers can still walk into the Cascade River and find plenty of nice fish.
Skagit River Coho, photo courtesy River Chrome Guide Service.
Puget Sound Blackmouth will be open in our favorite local fishing areas. Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10 offer so many great Blackmouth fishing spots that they are too numerous to count. West Possession Bar, Tin Shed, East Possession Bar, Hat Island, Race Track, Columbia Beach, Jeff Head and President’s Point are a few places to hit. Blackmouth don’t mind a faster troll compared to Summer Chinook fishing. Trolling with the new 11″ quick-detach Extractor flasher from Dick Nite has really increased the hook-up to landing ratio for guys using them, stop by 3 Rivers Marine for a full selection of colors. Fishing a flasher and Silver Horder Kingfisher 3.5″, Silver Horde Coho Killer, Ace-Hi Fly or old-school Hoochee are always standby setups. If you are fishing in a zone that is loaded with small “shaker” Blackmouth, cut off the flasher set up and run a Tomic 4″ plug directly on the end of your mono top-shot. The larger profile really helps to lower the catch of those pesky undersized “shakers”.
Lots of keeper Blackmouth to be caught in Central Puget Sound. Here is Cory Warnock with a dandy.
Puget Sound Squid and Crab! Lets talk Squid and Crabbing. Squidding has been off to a fast start and will only get better as we get closer to winter. Squidding is primarily a pier fishing endeavor, and here are a few great public fishing piers to hit.
Boat anglers have been catching limits in Seattle’s Elliott Bay near the anchored barges just north of the Duwamish Waterways and near the piers of the Seattle waterfront. Glow squid jigs in pink, green or blue glow are key, also finding source of light into the water will increase your odds. Crabbing has been off to a great start as well since it reopened. Crabbing near Everett has been great! Great time to get both squid and crab for a seafood feast!
Folks get lined up for the evening squid bite at West Seattle’s Seacrest Pier.
Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish anglers are catching some beautiful Cutthroat right now and fishing will just keep getting better into late winter. Trolling for Cutthroat Trout here is one of our favorite backyard opportunities, and with fewer pleasure boats are on the lake, it is a great time of year to escape for a couple hours of solitude close to home. Trolling just under the surface where the cutthroat feed, this fishery has some big fish that are great fun to catch on light tackle. Troll a Wedding Ring with tandem hooks and a portion of a nightcrawler a short leader length behind a Dick Nite 4/0 Dodger, Ford Fender or Mac’s Flash Lite (these are all attractors that draw in fish from a greater distance because of their flash and noise).
Cowlitz River is a great choice for anyone wishing to head South. Coho fishing at Barrier Dam has been consistent, but as the month ends most anglers will shift over to targeting Winter Steelhead. The beauty of the Cowlitz is that there is always something to fish for every month of the year! Bank anglers fishing the main river near Blue Creek should have a decent shot a catching Steelhead or Coho. Drift fishing with Cheater/Yarn or Eggs is the ticket to target both species. From a boat, side drifting or bobber dogging with fresh eggs is the go-to.
Coastal Rivers: Several Olympic Peninsula rivers are set to open November 16th. Calawah Ponds on the Bogachiel already have seen a ton of winter steelhead return. This early winter fishery is one of the best steelhead fishing options in the Pacific Northwest with a huge return and well worth the drive to Forks. Bring the floats, jigs and fresh sand shrimp if you plan on banking or floating the Bogey. Sol Duc, Bogey, Calawah and Hoh Rivers all open this month for salmon fishing, so check the rule book and plan your late season Coho/Chinook/early Winter Steelhead combo trip! Big Blue Fox Vibrax Spinners (#4-#6) and twitching jigs are standard issue out on the westside of the OP.
Lots of Chum to be caught around Western Washington!
The entire staff at 3 Rivers Marine lives and breathes fishing. Stop by the shop for up-to-date reports, where to go, and gear. We would love to help you succeed on your next fishing adventure.
Local rivers re-open for fishing! Stop by 3 Rivers Marine for the latest reports and gear!
WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
October 10, 2016
Snohomish, Skykomish and Wallace rivers to open for coho salmon fishing
Action: Opens the Snohomish River, the Skykomish River downstream of the Wallace River, and the Wallace River to the fishing for coho salmon through Oct. 31.
Effective dates and times: Open to coho fishing Oct. 11 through Oct. 31. Night closure in effect (fishing is open from one hour before official sunrise to one hour after official sunset).
Species affected: Coho salmon.
Locations: Snohomish River (Snohomish County) from the mouth (Burlington-Northern Railroad bridges), including all channels, sloughs, and interconnected waterways, but excluding all tributaries, upstream to confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers.
Skykomish River from mouth upstream to the confluence with the Wallace River.
Wallace River from mouth (farthest downstream railroad bridge) to 200 feet upstream of the hatchery water intake.
Reason for action: The rivers were originally closed to all fishing under a state and tribal co-manager agreement to protect coho salmon. The co-managers agree that the coho return is strong enough to support limited sport and tribal fisheries. The co-managers will continue to monitor this fishery and may make adjustments in the coming weeks.
Additional Information: The Skykomish River from the Gold Bar/Big Eddy access (Hwy. 2 Bridge) to the confluence of the North and South Forks remains open to fishing for trout (steelhead) and gamefish as described in a Sept. 28 Emergency Regulation.
Information contact: Region 4, Mill Creek Office, (425) 775-1311, ext. 0.
Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360)796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.
Fishing opportunities are really starting to open up around Western Washington! We have options on the Snohomish, Green, Skagit, Lake Washington, Skykomish and much more, and our crew and customers have been out catching! Stop by 3 Rivers Marine for daily fishing reports and get geared up!
Snohomish River opened for two 4-day periods, and as Coho continue to flush into the system, we should see more opportunity. The reports have been great with lots of aggressive coho biting. Early reports have showed good numbers of coho being caught drifting dick nites in the size 1 in the frog and 50/50 pattern.. Others are finding success trolling and casting wiggle warts in a variety of color patterns. Reports have also showed that anglers are finding willing coho to strike spinners such as the blue fox vibrax. Make sure you get out this coming Thursday thru Sunday for this local coho fishery. https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1876
Skykomish River around the Reiter Ponds reopened and the reports have been fantastic for steelhead. Anglers are finding great success on these hard fighting fish floating jigs, bait and beads, as well as casting spinners and spoons in the faster water. The water is low and the fish are hungry making it a great local fishery to get your line wet!
Skagit River has also opened for coho fishing and the reports have been good up there as well with the limit being 4 coho a day. Anglers are finding fish throughout the river system but the lower river seems to be holding the majority of the brighter fish. These coho are being taking with twitching jigs in a variety of colors, drift fishing dick nites, bobber and eggs, as well as guys throwing spinners such as the vibrax just like the Snohomish. WDFW has confirmed that the run is much stronger than anticipated and the Skagit is open through November 30th giving anglers plenty of time to catch them! https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1873
With local rivers reopening, crowds have started to thin out at Lake Washington but fish are still being caught with some regularity. The majority of the fish are still being taken off of the Kirkland waterfront and Hunts Point area as well as off Sand Point. Anglers are finding success with trolling as well as jigging. The guys trolling are doing well with wiggle warts, brads superbaits, cut plug herring and hoochies. Anglers jigging are finding success when they find the coho schooled up jigging a 1 oz point Wilson dart above them.
The rest of the lake has been great for other species of gamefish. The cutthroat have been a nice incidental catch for the guys trolling for coho or those targeting them specifically. They are being taken on wedding rings, needlefish spoons, and cut plug herring. The perch fishing is in full swing with plenty of perch being caught to fill buckets, catch as many as you can, no limit on Perch! These tasty little fish are being caught on Swedish pimples with perch meat as well as anglers using a dropshot rig with a piece of night crawler.
Razor Clam season is almost upon us! Coastal beaches have been scheduled to open in October and offer a great weekend getaway. http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/sep1216a/
Cowlitz River has been kicking out great numbers of Chinook with a few Coho and Steelhead being caught as well. Focus on the lower river from Castle Rock down to the mouth. Free drifting eggs or hover fishing have been getting the best action.
Don’t give up on Albacore Tuna out of Westport and Ilwaco just yet! Strong reports are still coming out of both ports, and as long as we have a weather window the fishing can remain good through mid-November!
With the Fall fast approaching in Washington it’s time to start taking advantage of some of the fisheries we have here in the state!
Puget Sound salmon options are a little light this year, but the Tulalip Bubble near Everett will be open weekends from September 17 through September 25 for a limit of 2 hatchery coho. https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1865
Green River will be reopening for Coho from 1st Ave South bridge up to 405 on September 16. Troll Brad’s Wigglers or small cut plug herring for the best action. https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1866
Lake Washington is a great fishery come the fall for many species but even more so this year with the chance to catch Coho salmon starting September 16. Fishing for Coho in Lake Washington is typically done by trolling either a Brads Wiggler or Storm Wiggle wart off a downrigger, other tactics consist of trolling a protroll or shortbus finned flasher with either herring, a brads superbait or a mini hoochie as you would use for cutthroat. http://wdfw.wa.gov/news/sep0816b/
In addition to the salmon fishing anglers can take advantage of the awesome perch and bass fisheries that Lake Washington boasts in the fall. For the perch fishing look for schools of perch around deep weed lines or deep water points or structure in 20-40’. To catch these fish use a drop shot rig with a piece of night crawler or small jigs like a Swedish Pimple to get your limit of these great eating fish. Bass fishing in the fall on lake Washington will take place around any of the deep weed lines, bridge pilings or many rocky bottom areas in the lake between 15-35’. Techniques to catch these fish consist of football head jigs with some sort of crawdad or sculpin style trailer like a Yamamoto hula grub, a drop shot rig with some sort of finesse worm such as a fisher brothers ds minnow or a Roboworm, throwing a swim bait on a jig head as well such as a Keitech fat swing impact can be a great way to target some chunky Smallmouth in the fall.
The Cowlitz River has been hot for both salmon and steelhead. The upper part of the Cowlitz has been great for summer run steelhead with most the fish coming from side drifting. Reports of big angry summer run hatchery steelhead has been the norm with multiple hookups per day.
The lower Cowlitz has been great to red hot for salmon with the fish being taken either by trolling or sitting on anchor. Those trolling are finding great success with trolling a Protroll finned flasher with a brads superbait behind that as well as guys pulling bait. Those sitting on anchor are having success with putting down Simon Wobblers as well as the Superbaits with bloody tuna scent.
The Columbia River has still been great for both Chinook and Coho salmon. Those finding success are trolling both protroll finned flashers or shortbus flashers. Behind the flashers anglers are either trolling with cut plug herring or brads superbaits filled with tuna or herring scent. Some of the areas that have been productive have been the Wind/Drano Lake area as well as the mouth of the Klickitat river. https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1864
Local lakes will start picking up for trout as the water temperatures start to cool bringing the trout to a more active feeding cycle. Some of the top lakes in the area consist of cottage lake, beaver lake, pine lake, as well as lake langlois. Trout will be willing takers of small spoons such as dick nites or spinners trolled like a wedding ring. For those that want to fish bait, powerbait on a slip sinker rig will be the best producer.
Bass in the local lakes will be looking to feed up in the fall and will be aggressive as the water temps cool. To catch the bass look to target shady cover such as docks, wood laydowns, pads or surface vegetation. They will be willing biters to Yamamoto Senkos, spinner-baits, jigs, and crank-baits with a little bit of top-water mixed in.
Our local Winter Steelhead season is off to a great start, and there are plenty of two-toned chromers throughout the Snohomish River system. 3RM prostaffer John Thomas of Rotten Chum Guide Service has found good numbers of Steelhead in the Skykomish River near Sultan and Monroe. John just upgraded to a 23’ Alumaweld Super Vee Pro which is perfect for where he guides, the Skykomish, Snohomish and Cowlitz Rivers.
The Super Vee is a great choice for anyone looking for an open boat for local rivers. Dubbed, “The Choice of Professionals,” the Super Vee series was developed by Alumaweld specifically to meet the needs of West Coast fishing guides. It is designed to offer the serious angler a vessel that floats high and is perfectly balanced, tracks well for efficient side drifting, and has the storage and fishing space to make for a great day on the water!
John recommends that anglers looking for Steelhead spend their time side drifting or bobber dogging from the Wallace Flats all the way down to Lewis Street in Monroe. Skykomish Steelhead typically won’t stack up in huge numbers at any given spot in the lower river, so it’s important to cover every spot that looks like holding water. Put in your time and you will be rewarded.
Stop by 3RM for the latest fishing report.
Astoria Coho in October?
Ask the staff at Three Rivers and you’ll get a resounding “yes”! Believe what you will, but the bite is still on for bright, shiny coho. The sheer numbers of fish willingly biting is nothing short of awesome, especially considering the less than crowded conditions.
Three Rivers Marine customer Barnes Cooper and crew fished early this week and experienced some sunny weather, and an even hotter bite!
Their action was best on the flood tide fishing on the troll. Barnes was dragging a mix of herring and anchovies at the bottom of the sands below the Astoria Bridge. “The bite was tough on spinners”, but throughout the day they experienced multiple doubles, and the crowd that is typical for that area was nonexistent.
Fall is here….
As the Seahawks get ready to play their first regular season game, the Mariners actually playing quality baseball in September and the morning dew on my truck, it can only mean one thing…..fall salmon fishing is here! Whether you’re hitting the local rivers or taking a trip to the coast, let’s break down my personal favorite technique to catch fall Chinook…the float and egg.
If you spend anytime in my drift boat in late September and October you will notice a few things…eggs and floats, and more eggs and more floats, get the picture? Ask anyone who fishes with me and they will tell you, I have very minimal tackle in my boat. When it comes to targeting Chinook in the rivers this simplicity becomes even more prevalent. While there are many ways to catch Chinook in the river, no better technique can be implemented than the float/egg combo.
Below is my tried and true setup for slaying the fall Chinook.
The Rod & Reel
Walk through the doors of Three Rivers and you will have plenty of options in this category. My opinion when it comes to purchasing a rod is to buy a quality rod and an even better reel. I like a 10’6 med to med/heavy rod and a bait casting style of reel. If you are a spinning rod type of person those will work but I feel you have better line control with the bait caster. The reason I prefer the 10’6 rod is it allows me to keep as much line off the water as possible, giving your suspended bait the most natural presentation. Both GLoomis and Fethastyx make exceptional rods for this style of fishing. Moving on to reels, I’m a bit opinionated on this and feel the Shimano Curado is by far and away the most superior reel on the market. I have several that are going on ten years and still performing flawlessly. Again, Kent or Tom at Three Rivers will be happy to show you all that’s new in the rod and/or reel world. No matter what reel you purchase, make sure it has a quality drag, I prefer something nearing 20lbs of drag. A fresh, hard fighting Chinook right out of the ocean will surely put the test to even the most expensive reels.
Lines, Leaders, Hooks & Floats
When it comes to choosing a line for float fishing a braided type of line is a must. The reason being that the braided lines float, making it much easier to mend your line off the water and with zero stretch it has superior hook setting power. I prefer Power Pro in either 30lb or 40lb test. The secret to success, in my opinion, is being prepared. Having said that, tying your leaders long before your trip is key. If you’re tying them in your boat at the launch you are already behind. As with all tackle, there are many great hooks on the market. With most rivers going to barbless hooks, I have found the most success with Gamakatsu Big River hooks. These hooks have a sickle style design and I feel that I lose less fish when using them. Again, there is always more than one way to skin a cat and many ways to tie your leaders. I prefer either a single 2/0 Big River or a 3/0-1/0 tandem rig tied on 25lb Maxima Ultra Green. Floats? There are many to choose from but keep in mind that you are almost guaranteed to lose some of them. Unless money is not an issue, keep it cheap. A good 3/4oz float combined with a 5/8oz inline sinker, with two or three #7 split shots is all you need. All this can be put in a small box, taking up very little room in your drift boat. Having your leaders on a foam roll makes it quick to re-tie and get back in the game.
Eggs, eggs and more eggs! There is no shortage of store bought and/or cures on the market. I prefer to cure my own and having said that there are many recipes on the Internet to choose from. I’m a firm believer in having premium bait but like all fishermen we have our secrets and my recipe is my secret. If you are looking for a great over the counter cure, Pautski’s Fire Cure is a quality one. The fall salmon fisheries are a perfect way to supply yourself with fresh eggs. Take care and bleed your fish right away, keeping your eggs from coming in contact with the river water. I always have gallon zip lock bags in my boat to store and cure my eggs at the end of the day. The “glove club?” You’ve most likely seen them in all colors. I prefer gloves (in black) for not only keeping my bait human scent free but keeping my fingers from remaining pink for days after fishing. I’m an advocate for being prepared, just like pre-tying your leaders, having your bait cut into quarter sized chunks is paramount to a successful day on the river.
Lets wrap this up..
Like I mentioned earlier, keeping things simple is my mantra. Here’s the low down on the super easiest float and egg setup that I have come up with. Starting with your mainline, tie a bobber stop on, followed by a bead. Next, slide your 3/4oz float on, below that I like to slide another bead on to protect my knot. After that I use a 5/8oz inline sinker, then a two or three foot long 25lb leader tied with either a single 2/0 or 3/0-1/0 setup. I sometimes run two or three #7 split shots spaced evenly on my leader, but depending on the hole your fishing you may try no split shots. Experimenting is half the fun of fishing and thinking outside the box can sometimes payoff big time! Now here’s the best part, you’ve spent the money and have everything you need for a day on the river. I only know of one tackle store on the west coast that offers not only the best in tackle but the very best in personal service. Need a map? Directions to the launch? Maybe Scott Weedman’s secret bait cure?…NOT!! Look no further than Three Rivers Marine & Tackle. Kent and Tom, both veterans of the fishing world will no doubt hook you up. Tight lines and good luck this season.
Owner Island Guide Services