I've fished that C&R extension when it was in place and to your point have been the ONLY boat out there on a weekend. While most were pulling docks, Chris from Van Ripers let us have the big room and gave us personal attention for showing up. He couldn't understand why no one shows, nor could we. We even got some resident kings to grab the flies (10-12 # class) along with the plentiful silvers, again very few boats in sight and those may have been Canadians out in the lanes.
It's too bad really, such a great fishery and all. I think it's decades of conditioning that the fishery out there is all about meat, and if people can't get meat in return well then they aren't going all the way to Sekiu. Don't get me wrong, when there is a strong run I love to harvest my share of fresh coho, king, halibut, or whatever. But I'd go for good fishing and no retention any day, and if the runs are not strong I wouldn't want anything kept by me or anyone.
Maybe as we approach metropolis the situation changes... for instance most of the 12 years I lived out there Bush Pt. and much of the surrounding area was closed in October. This meant the action that I would consider "close enough" was shut down. The years it was open were incredible. As the pursuit of coho salmon from shore with flyrods intensifies, the availability of these areas closer to the population as C&R extended seasons could be very important to the nurturing saltchuck angling popularity as it grows in the pacific northwest over the next decade.
I would love to see a C&R no bait shore fishing extension in the premier fishing / readily accessible places around Puget Sound with the objective being that anglers could continue to C&R big late coho using lures and flies from shore. As the chum and winter run steelhead arrive, who knows what surprises one could have while casting flies into the shoreline rips.
Any thoughts on that?