Early Run Fall Coho 2001 - 1,036,500
Late Run Fall Coho 2001 - 491,800
Total Run= 1,528,300
Actual Early Coho Run 2000 - 378,000
Actual Late Coho Run 2000 - 260,100
Total Run= 638,100
Despite these increases, North of Falcon Ocean Season may not increase. The reason for this is that the estimated Wild Coho run for 2001 is 50,100 as compared to 69,000 in
2000. Its all about Wild Fish Mortality. Even though there are more fish, there are fewer Wild fish, and until we can recover the Wild Stocks, we will be restricted to how much
we can fish.
You know how to get someone PUMPED! Sounds good Andre.
Also, there are C&R seasons in certain areas for those willing to fish and release all coho they catch. Sekiu traditionally has an extended C&R season although talkin' to the guys at Olsen's and other resorts you'd think no one in Washington bothers with it.
My brother and I fished it a while back and they upgraded us to the best room in the resort for short money and there were plenty of fish. We caught kings (blackmouth ~8 pounds) and coho in full fall vigor on fly rods. We were the only ones out there, kinda spooky but talk about lots of room to play. Strange how no one seems to bother with that C&R fishery.
In addition, the Westport fishery often provides a late season for the biggest coho I have ever caught or seen for that matter. The Satsop strain runs in the teens consistently and when they open Gray's Harbor the fish are all over the place when the tide starts running. A bit less elegant is the boat basin fishery, but the little bay is packed with Satsop silvers released from pens.
The best way to fish this is with a boat, anything will do because you are in the marina area. I suggest two methods:
1) find the biggest commercial boat on the dock and anchor off it. This ensures that the dock fishermen are clear of a wide area of water. I think dock #6 was the most concentrated zone, and there is a huge commercial boat that docks there. The fishing can get insane with coho busting up the surface hitting everything in sight. Hooking is not the problem, but keeping a 17 pound hooknose out of the barnacle encrusted boat pilings is another story. If you choose a wide open area you will have no problems. 9wt minimum.
2) Drift around the anchovy pens. This is a huge area and the fish always roam around due to the smell of the chovy farm. Working this area will result in hookups and there is less for the fish to run your line into.
Already sounds like it makes Hoodsport look good, but believe me - tangling with such huge coho in confined quarters has it's challenges and is a blast. Use intermediate lines and let it sink, strip the fly teasingly and hang on. Tide changes get the fish excited. This is all salt water.
If the harbor (which is actually a giant bay) is open, the best fishing is on the north channel just inside the outlet to the pacific. The charter boats will be working cut plug herring and the action gets hot and heavy with an occasional late chinook of 40 plus pounds coming on board to oohs and ahhs.
Fishing a Teeny style line with a long shank herring pattern or a candlefish fly with clouser eyes (see deep eel, but use longer shank) in the current seams will result in some hellacious hooknoses. Thes fish are so big and bad they bust tippets and straighten hooks.
Probably the best SWFF shore spot for coho is Bush Pt, when they open it. The fish run so close to shore even when I had my boat most of the fish would come from the shoreline. If you do have a boat and they are running the launch, fish the outgoing rip that forms from the lighthouse to the clay banks. The fish line up in the rip to feed and we put 27 fish on the line between the three of us one early October afternoon. Not all were landed but it was an incredible outing.
I have a picture of my wife and kids holding fall coho we bucktailed on the surface one fall day. My oldest daughter lost one that looked like it went 15# right at the gunwhale. Dolphins were playing all around us and it was a crisp fall day. We had Ivars chowder and starbucks coffee on the ferry from Whidbey back to Mukilteo with the boat in tow. Hell of a day.
No spot compares to Swiftsure Bank, which I fished every year with the likes of my mentor Ken Morgan and his entourage of hardcore open seas fishermen. I have some video footage of Swiftsure that I'll convert to mpeg and put up for viewing here one of these days.
Long story short (too late for that I guess) the krill was as thick as a carpet, the herring were gorging on them, and the horse mackeral, dogfish and salmon (all types) were gorging on the herring and krill. I caught a king with a softball sized sphere of krill in it's gullet and nothing else. Anyway, the horse makeral would push the krill in a wave and when it got thick the coho would leap over the mack's backs to eat from the most dense part of the bait mass. You just had to cast in front of a wave and move it fast enough to keep it away from the macs and >bang< salmon on.
all indications i have heard from the first north of falcon meeting and talking with wdfw biologists is that the ocean quotas this summer will be higher than last summer's. the low wild runs off the oregon coast will be the main factor in how much larger the quotas will be, so we won't get as large of quotas as one would expect with the total washington coho runs of 2.5 million fish, but they surely will be a bit larger than last summer.
hopefully the quotas will be bigger so the ocean stays open past the last week of august, but with the number of fish returning this summer compared to last summer the fishing should be just plain outstanding. last year was incredible, and if the numbers are even close i agree with you that i can't wait for july to start fishing for cohos, especially with the pink bycatch along the northern coast and strait.
as for the coastal king quotas, i haven't heard anything definite yet... and hopefully the fishing is better for them this summer than last... where a 500 fish quota couldn't be taken (neah bay ocean quota). rumors say the number will be higher... should know within a week or two of at least the options for this summer's fishing.