3 Rivers Marine & Tackle has some of the most knowledgeable staff that would love to help you catch more salmon, halibut, tuna, crab, steelhead, trout, bass and more!
Local rivers: Few reports this past week from the Wallace and Skykomish. Waiting for a good bump in the water to make a real clear assessment. A few winters have been caught at these locations, but not the typical December hatchery run.
Edmonds has been good for the night bite the last 3 weeks. Reports have said that the hour before high tide through hour after. Downtown piers have been very good even through the daylight hours. This requires fishing a deeper slower presentation. Area 11 has reports of limits at Ruston Waterway and Pt Defiance.
Have had decent reports of smallmouth has been pretty good on the large local lakes. Of course, fishing deep again is the key. Football heads and drop shotting seem to be the methods of choice.
Seems a little early, but good reports from Coronet Bay have come in. Gamakatsu #5 sabiki rigs are the top choice of the smelt fisherman as of late.
Lake Washington and Sammamish have been consistently been kicking out larger fish for those willing to put in the time and effort. Trolling needlefish, wiggle hoochies, wedding rings, and firecracker herring have been the go to. The occasional 3-4 lb. rainbow has come to those out there, as well. For those in search of keeping some kids busy, try the north end of Lake Washington for perch. After locating the school, try Swedish pimples tipped with a worm, but a lil perch meat on the end of the lure is the key for fast action.
Don`t forget about these good eaters, too. Received a few good reports of winter kokanee fishing on Lake Stevens.
Don’t forget to sign up for the 19th Annual Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge! This is great way to support better fishing in the Northwest, and experience one of the best fishing opportunities in the state!
Trout fishing on the year round and seasonal lakes has been great for both stocked trout and oversized holdovers. Anglers are finding success from both shore and boat. Shore anglers are finding success with powerbait in both the dough and eggs as well as using flavored marshmallows and a piece of night crawler. Boat anglers are finding fish by trolling wedding ring spinners tipped with nightcrawlers or small spoons such as dick nites or needlefish. Make sure to use garlic scent on your presentations to help entice the trout into biting!
Kokanee have been biting well on Lake Stevens with the derby this coming weekend. The kokanee are getting caught right on the surface down to about 60’ depending on the time of day. Anglers looking to take advantage of this fishery should be prepared to use a variety of lures trolled such as wedding rings, kokanee snacks, kokabow spinners, and small hoochies fished behind a dodger. Make sure to tip your presentations with shoepeg corn!
Lingcod fishing has been fair to great depending on which area in the saltwater you are fishing. Anglers that have been spending their time in the San Juans and the Straits and Ocean have been finding lingcod with great consistency. Those fishing more inside are having to work a little bit harder to find the tasty eating lingcod. Live bait has been king for lingcod with anglers reporting great success using kelp greenling or flounder. If you don’t have access to live bait, then using plastic swimbaits such as a KGM TW Swimmer in the 475 and 550 size or single and double tail grubs on a lead head will also catch their fair share of lingcod. Popular colors include motor oil, rootbeer and dark purples or whites.
As for the other bottom fish the sea bass fishing has been great out in the straits and in the ocean alike using soft plastics and shrimp flys. Anglers have been able to find their limits of sea bass before or after filling their limits of lingcod to make for a great eating fish fry!
Halibut fishing got off to a semi slow start due to rough ocean conditions the first two days of the opener. Those that were able to make it out safely off the coast or in the straits were treated to rough water. Those that were able to brave the storm were able to come away with some fish but leaving plenty of halibut around for a few upcoming fishing days on May 23rd and May 25th. Those fishing for halibut need to stock up on big black label herring, octopus and squid. Make sure to bring a variety of weight sizes from 2-4# depending on depth and current that you will be fishing in!
The Cowlitz river has been picking up for spring chinook. Boat anglers are finding success trolling herring down on the lower river or side drifting with eggs and sand shrimp higher up on the river. Bank anglers have been able to catch their fair share of fish around barrier dam fishing eggs and sand shrimp.
The steelhead fishing on both the Skykomish and Wallace River has stayed consistent with multiple fish being caught every day on both rivers. Our steelhead derby is still running till January 15th so make sure to bring in all those fish you guys catch for a chance at some great prizes. Anglers are finding success fishing both rivers with a variety of techniques such as jigs, beads and spoons. The most popular jigs have been those in either a white, pink or nightmare pattern in either 1/16 or 1/8oz size. Anglers fishing beads have been finding success either drift fishing or fishing them under a float. The most popular bead sizes have been those in the 12-14mm range in lighter more natural colors as the river levels drop clearing up in between rain storms. Lastly the other technique anglers are using to coax the steelhead into biting is throwing spoons at them in the fast water. Spoons in the 2/5-2/3oz size in either a gold, brass or nickel finish have been responsible for some of the fish we have weighed in our derby. The best advice to anglers heading up to either the Skykomish or Wallace is to be patient and bring a variety of tackle to fish different techniques to maximize your catching potential.`
The Snoqualmie River and Tokul Creek continue to be kicking out some steelhead in both the main river near plum landing and big eddy and up Tokul Creek. The Tokul Creek fishery opened a few weeks early do to meeting their hatchery escapement numbers. Anglers have been finding success in Tokul Creek fishing either pencil lead and bait or pencil lead and yarn fishing behind the main big rocks in the creek. Those fishing the main river have been focusing their efforts around plum landing or just upriver at big eddy. Anglers fishing either of those spots have been fishing with a bobber and jig. Popular jig colors for the Snoqualmie have been white, pink, nightmare as well as red. These fisheries will close either January 31st or February 15th depending on what part of the river you are fishing.
Blackmouth fishing recently opened on January 1st in Area 7 and remains open in Area 10. Results have been good in both areas for those getting on the water. The blackmouth in Area 7 tend to run bigger than those in Area 10 for those wanting to catch bigger fish. Anglers out chasing blackmouth have been using techniques such as spoons, hoochies and plugs. Those looking to avoid the smaller fish and target the bigger blackmouth should use Tomic plugs in both the 4” and 5” tubby size in colors 602 and 603. Those wanting to use spoons should pick up silver horde coho killers in White Lightning, Herring Aide, and Cookies and Cream to match the candlefish the blackmouth are feeding on during the winter. The best hoochie colors have been any sort of glow green splatter back or purple haze. Remember during the winter to keep your gear down near the bottom as that’s where the blackmouth spend the majority of their time feeding. Area 7 is scheduled to stay open until April 30th while Area 10 is set to close February 28th.
Remember to keep bringing in your Snohomish, Skykomish, Wallace, Snoqualmie and Tokul Creek steelhead as our derby has a week to go. Any fish can win you a random drawing. So the more you weigh the better chance of a prize!
The Skykomish and Wallace River have still been putting out winter steelhead. The fishing has been red hot in comparison to last year. Last year during the 3 Rivers Marine & Tackle Winter Steelhead derby we weighed in 45 fish in comparison to the 70 fish we have already weighed in this season and the derby continues until January 15th, 2018. Anglers fishing both the Skykomish and the Wallace have been finding success fishing a jig under a float as well as beads. Popular jig colors have been nightmare, peach, white, pink, orange and black patterns. Popular bead colors have been light pink and orange colored beads. The fish have been caught all throughout the day, so it has not been just a morning bite. Make sure to bring in your hatchery steelhead for our derby for a chance to win some great prizes!
With the Tokul Creek reaching their hatchery quota they were able to open the remainder of Tokul Creek earlier than expected. We have been hearing of anglers catching the winter steelhead in both Tokul Creek as well as the main Snoqualmie river around Big Eddy or Plum Landing. Those fishing the creek are fishing short leaders with yarn as well as beads. Those fishing the main Snoqualmie are finding success with floating jigs and spoons. The most productive jig colors for the Snoqualmie have been pink, white, and nightmare. Make sure to bring in your hatchery steelhead for our derby for a chance to win some great prizes!
Squid fishing in Puget Sound has remained hot in certain areas while slowing in others. Edmonds pier has seen a bit of a drop of after being red hot for over a month, while the piers in downtown Seattle have remained hot for those willing to brave the cold air temperatures to jig up some squid. We have also been receiving great reports for the south sound piers around Redondo. The best squid jig colors have been any jig that glows in a green, pink or white color.
The Skykomish and Wallace River have been producing Winter Steelhead daily over the last two weeks. We have been checking in a handful of fish a day for our Winter Steelhead derby that have been caught out of both the Skykomish and Wallace River. Most anglers fishing the Skykomish have been finding the best success up around the Reiter ponds area. The average fish we have been seeing so far have been in the 6-7# range. Fishing a jig under a float has been the number one technique for guys fishing the Skykomish the last two weeks, but anglers are also finding success fishing beads as well as spoons. The best jig colors as of late have been nightmare, white, pink or peach in a variety of brands such as Johns jigs, Aerojigs, BK jigs and Getemdry Jigs. Remember when fishing a jig that tipping it with a piece of sand shrimp can help increase your odds of getting a bite. As the water keeps dropping and clearing up on the river, bead fishing becomes more productive with the more natural colors producing the best in the low clear water. Spoon fishing has accounted for some winter steelhead as well. We tend to favor the pen-tac spoons for steelhead fishing. Colors such as copper, silver and 50/50 in the 2/5 and 2/3 size tend to be the most productive.
Make sure to remember to bring in all your hatchery winter steelhead from the Snohomish, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, Wallace and Pilchuck to be entered in our steelhead derby. We have great prizes for most fish, smallest fish, biggest fish and random drawings as well. So bring in your steelhead to be weighed in!
A great wintertime fishery that is often overlooked right on our own backyard is fishing for Cutthroat on Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish. The action can be fast and furious in the winter time with a good day resulting in 10-20 fish to the boat. The gear used to catch these cutthroat is simple. Spoons such as the needlefish in frog and metallic perch colors. Wedding ring spinners tipped with a nightcrawler in green or red trolled behind a dodger or pop gear is another way to target those feisty winter cutthroats. If you want to stay away from trolling dodgers or pop gear then consider trolling smaller plugs such as a mag lip 2.0 or 2.5 in frog, bleeding frog or anything red.
Areas to fish for the cutthroat on Lake Sammamish would be around Issaquah Creek, as well as the weather buoy in the middle of the lake. On Lake Washington anglers should focus their efforts around the Cedar River, South end of Mercer Island and around both the I-90 and 520 bridges.
Puget Sound Squid Fishing has been great whether you are fishing from shore or by boat. If you are looking to fish from shore then piers such as Edmonds, Seacrest, and Redondo are a great start to catch some squid. The best squid fishing has been at night although you can catch them all day. The gear needed to catch squid consists of a light spinning rod the longer the better with a spinning reel. Squid jigs made by Beau Mac or Goldstar in a glow white, pink or green are great starts. It’s best to carry a variety of jig colors and jig sizes as the bite can be better on a certain size or color of jig at any given time. You can also run multiple jigs on one line as well to increase the amount of squid you may catch on a given cast Go out and enjoy catching a bucket full of squid because nothing is better than fresh calamari.
Continuing the tradition of the last few winters Three Rivers Marine & Tackle is excited to be putting on our annual Winter Steelhead Derby. The derby runs from December 1st to January 15th. Rules of the derby are simple! Steelhead must be hatchery fish from the Snohomish System Only meaning the Skykomish, Wallace, Snoqualmie, Snohomish and Pilchuck river. All you need to do to be entered is bring your fish into Three Rivers and let one of our tackle associates weigh it for you. Prizes will be handed out for biggest fish, smallest fish, most fish and a few random drawings as well. Great prizes from companies such as G.Loomis, Shimano, Okuma, Simms, Daiwa, and many more!! Good Luck to all and we look forward to seeing your catches! The more steelhead you catch and bring in to be weighed the better the odds to win a great prize!!
With that being said let’s talk winter steelhead fishing reports. Early reports have been good on the Wallace and Skykomish river. We have been hearing about a handful of steelhead being caught every morning the last week or so. Anglers have been finding success bank fishing up by the Reiter Ponds Hatchery as well as the mouth of the Wallace River as well as up the Wallace river. To target these fish anglers have been employing a variety of techniques such as float fishing with a jig, drift fishing with bait or a corky and yarn or beads, or even fishing spoons or spinners. Pink, white, peach and nightmare pattern jigs have been the most productive for winter steelhead depending on the water clarity. Tipping your jig with a piece of shrimp if allowed can help increase your catch rate. The river is in great shape and the steelhead are biting! Get out there and catch them!!!
If you are still looking to learn more about steelhead fishing, make sure to come to our Winter Steelhead Seminar December 9th to learn more about how to chase and catch steelhead from some of the best steelhead fisherman the state has to offer!!
Winter Smallmouth Bass Fishing!
As the Daylight hours get shorter and the overnight temperatures get lower it’s time to think about wintertime bass fishing. Believe it or not we can catch bass in Washington 12 months out of the year even though many consider bass to be a warm water fish. By changing your tactics and depths you can find success catching nice smallmouth bass all winter long.
First let’s start with locations. For those fishing on the west side of the mountains your two best options for wintertime success will be Lake Sammamish and Lake Washington. Both lakes have adequate deep-water structure as I will talk about later and both lakes don’t freeze over which allows anglers to target bass all winter long. For the winter time anglers finding the best success will require a boat to reach the fish as the smallmouth bass will move far offshore into the deeper water to follow the food. Most of your winter time fishing on either lake will be done between 35-65’ with the best fishing typically in the 40-50’ range.
Now let’s move onto what sort of structure the smallmouth bass will be hanging around in the wintertime months. The fish will follow the forage out to the deeper water and on lakes like Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish that forage typically moves out to areas of harder bottom. In the wintertime the smallmouth feed heavily on crawfish and sculpin. They will also eat other baitfish such as perch but prefer to feed more on the crawfish and sculpin. Crawfish and sculpin will migrate out to the deeper hard bottom areas such as rock piles and or hard bottom flats with rock or clay mixed in as well as sand. Anywhere you can find hard bottom in deeper water mixed with either rock or wood on the bottom will be a prime habitat for winter time smallmouth. Some areas to focus your fishing on Lake Washington would be Coleman point, Pleasure Point, Webster Point, in between the three bays up in the Kirkland area, as well as the aquatic center on the south end of Mercer Island. In comparison to spring through fall the amount of wintertime smallmouth spots greatly diminish so on a nice day in the winter don’t be surprised if you are sharing some spots with others on the water. On Lake Sammamish it will be similar areas as Lake Washington around some of the main lake points as well as the sunken forest on the west side of the lake.
When it comes to fishing for wintertime smallmouth the gear needed to be successful is minimal. Like previously mentioned smallmouth feed predominantly in the winter on crawfish and sculpin and your presentations should reflect that. In the wintertime I like to fish either a football head jig or a drop shot or a tube jig. Let’s start with the football head, when fishing a football head, you can fish one with or without a skirt and weed guard. In the winter I tend to fish a football head just plain with no skirt or weed guard and some sort of crawfish or sculpin imitation plastic. Depending on how deep I am fishing and how windy it is I will fish anywhere between a ½-1oz football head. Some of my favorite plastics to put on the football head would include the Keitech fat Swing Impact 3.8 in Green Pumpkin to imitate sculpin. Another great bait to imitate sculpin and or baitfish would be the Fisher Brothers Skull Fish or the KGM TW Swimmer in the 375 and 475 sizes. When fishing the KGM TW swimmer in the 475 size I like to use a Revenge Swim bait head in ½-1oz size as well. If you are looking to imitate a crawfish some of the best options to do so would be a Yamamoto Hula Grub in color 176 or 221, Fisher Brothers Heart Throb in a smoke or cinnamon purple color. A couple other great baits would be a Reaction Innovations beaver in either the 3.5 or 4” size as well as the Fisher Brothers Donkey Chow in the same sizes. I like to stick to the natural colors such as the green pumpkin or watermelon in the winter time when fishing for smallmouth.
When fishing a football head if it’s windy I like to keep a slow retrieve dropping my bait a few feet behind the boat and free spooling it until it hits the bottom then engaging the reel and dragging the bottom using the trolling motor on a low speed to essentially troll along the bottom. This is effective on areas that are expansive deep-water flats. If you are fishing a smaller spot such as a rock pile I like to make a long cast past the structure and essentially bring it up and over the whole piece of structure on the bottom.
If you decide you want to dropshot I like to run a heavier dropshot weight such as a ½-3/4oz quikdrop drop shot weight with a size 2 gamakatsu split shot drop shot hook. For my bait selection I like to fish either a Fisher Brothers DS minnow, DS Hex, Yamamoto Shad Shape Worm or a Sniper Snub. I don’t like to impart a ton of action or shaking of the bait in the winter as the forage is more lethargic this time of year. I tend to pick up the dropshot when I notice fish on the graph suspended a few feet of the bottom otherwise I tend to fish the football head more. I like to fish the dropshot more vertical over a piece of structure or dropping my bait down to a fish I may see under the boat on the fish finder.
I like to run a green pumpkin tube with an internal tube jig head in a ½-3/4oz size to maintain bottom contact and reach the bottom quickly. I like to fish the tube jig the exact same way I like to fish my football head by either dragging or casting out and dragging the bottom whether it be an expansive hard bottom flat or a deep-water rock pile.
When you do hook into a Smallmouth in the deep water make sure you reel slow and steady to the surface as it will help reduce the expansion of the fish’s air bladder much like a rockfish or a diver getting the Benz. I always carry a hypodermic needle in the boat to fizz the fish to help it be able to swim back down. If the fishes air bladder expands and you do not help shrink it back down to size the fish will not be able to stay upright and will not be able to swim back down and will be floating on the surface. Most the time though if you reel the fish up slowly and unhook it quickly and put it back in the water the fish will be able to get itself back down deep.
Wintertime fishing can be slow, but you do have the potential on the good days to catch 15-20 smallmouth bass in the dead of winter. Hopefully this information will help you get out this winter and take advantage of another wintertime fishery in our own backyard!
This Tuesday in areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10.
It’s time to get some of the pound for pound best eating best fighting fish of the season.
This fishery has always been by far one of my favorites! Often overlooked with hunting seasons going on and the kids back in school this fishery tends to have plenty of uncrowded areas to fish.
We all know the general rule of find the bait find the fish. However the golden rule is keeping your gear in the mud! Staying on top of your downriggers and working that bait on the bottom is the key to success with these aggressive feeding fish.
Hot Spot flashers in the Purple Haze, Gremlin and the Gibbs Delta Highliner UV Moon Jelly/Red Stripe are some of my favorites. On the business end Silver Horde Kingfisher spoons in the 3.0 Herring aides, White lightning’s and Irish cream tied on with 48” 20lb Seguar Blue label leader are all killer combos along with Tomic plugs in the 4.0 Tubby series.
In areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10 it is a 1 fish limit of hatchery Chinook.
Remember to release wild Chinook and all Coho.
Don’t forget to bring your crab pots and a winter crab catch card. Winter crabbing is also open 7 days a week so you can throw out a couple pots and let em’ soak while fishing.That is a 5 star dinner in my book, fresh salmon and Dungeness is pretty tough to beat!
Stop by or give us a call for any reports or help setting up to get out fishing!
WDFW updated fishing and crabbing links.