Tacoma Narrows resident coho

I have heard about good fishing for resident coho around the Narrows this time of the year. Has anybody ever tried that? I have access to a boat but don't know exactly where to go.... I don't even know where to launch it yet....? Any insights are greatly appreciated...
Remember to stay south of the Narrows Bridge. Area 11 is closed. Don't expect much for size, maybe a pound if you catch a big one.


Scott Willison
It has been a few years, but I used to fish the Narrows from the beach regularly in the winter. It seems that there have been progressively fewer and fewer fish the past several years, but then again, I may just not be looking as hard or often enough. You can launch at Wollochet Bay and motor north from there to fish the Narrows area. I've found fish out around Fox Island as well. During lowlight periods you will generally be able to see the fish working on top and where there is one there are often many. The fish are likely feeding on euphasids this time of year and a small euphasid pattern worked through a school can pay off. There are days, however, when they will seem to take anything, particularly after they've been released from the pens. If I'm not seeing or finding a lot of fish, I usually search with a small all white or gray/white clouser. As mentioned earlier, the resident coho aren't big (12" is about average for this time of year) but they're scrappy, jump a lot and are loads of fun on a 4 or 5 weight. If you go, you're not likely to see many other people and you might find an occasional cutthroat as well.

I highly recommend reading "Flyfishing for Pacific Salmon" by Ferguson/Johnson/Trotter. This is a great book and has a lot of information on fishing salmon in the salt, as well as rivers. You'll find a wealth of fly patterns and tips about fishing techniques for resident coho. For more recent reports on fishing Puget Sound, I also suggest viewing www.pugetsoundflyfishing.com.

Fishing for resident silvers in the Tacoma Narrows has been poor this winter and last winter when compared to the early to late 90's. Only an occassional fish has/could be landed. It seems like most of Marine Area 13 has had subpar fishing for the resident silvers the past two years. Have others experienced the same?


New Member
Yeah thats what happens when you cut hatchery production.
There are less fish. Unfortunatley they have all but quit doing the delayed release program for both kings and silvers thus very few resident fish and they have also cut hatchery production on fall fish. If they would quit producing so many pinks and chums they could put out more kings and silvers which in my opinion would be a better fishery. Don't get me wrong I will flyfish for chum and pinks but would rather catch a king or silver any day. It sure looks like they have focused on producing more fish on the columbia and less fish in southern puget sound to me. Just my .02 cents.

Thanks Boxcar. Your info is greatly appreciated.

R.Stephens. - I have been fishing alot for cutthroat in the deep south sound in recent years. And from what I hear, it has not been this good for cutthroat in many years. Maybe there is a competion between those two going on ..? The fewer resident coho, the better cutthroat fishing? They do inhabitat almost the same niche down here.

Fly 15- I thought they increased the delayed coho production out of Minter and Squaxin Island net pens ? They did shut down the McAllister and Deschutes delayed chinook program, but both programs were somewhat of a failure (ecologically and economically speaking).

I always thought that you really don't need a hatchery program IF you have strong wild runs anyways. Some smaller part of a run always decides to stay behind and hang out near their natal streams in wild fish. But most hatchery program are design to minimize that residualization.

I agree that chum and pink hatchery productions are ridiculus, UNLESS they are conservation programs, such as the hood canal summer chum programs.
The deep South Puget Sound is my home water for SRC as I live in Olympia but I'll fish much of Marine Area 13 year round for resident silvers. For the past two winters I have found very few resident silvers in the deep South Puget Sound. Most of the time it is a hunt and seek game for the resident silvers as they will hang around an area for a couple of weeks and then move on to another spot when the food supply changes or move out of the area.

The SRC fishing has been good in late winter through late Spring but tailed off in the summer for the last few years. My feeling is that there is not significant competition for food between the SRC and resident silvers since the SRC's preferred habitat is water less than 8-10 feet deep. The resident silvers will use that habitat but move into deeper water during bright light conditions as their light sensitive food moves there. Also, the resident silvers often be chasing krill, amphipods, and bait fish on the surface out in deeper water under low light conditions. From my experience the SRC's are not out there with the resident silvers.

Jerry Daschofsky

Staff member
Actually, they have almost COMPLETELY cut off production of chums and are focusing on king/silver production. I know the Minter Manager. Why they opened a big kill fishery on it (for chums only and staggered the opener to clear the kings/silvers). But chum are resilient. So chances are they'll have more of a chance to take hold and spawn. But I do know they are trying to up the well known fish. I know I haven't fished the residents much at all in the two years I've been in/out of L&I. Just haven't had the opportunity to go.


New Member
There used to be net pens on fox island where a lot of the resident silvers came from but now those are gone and there also used to be net pens in persival cove (sp)? that produced resident kings (blackmouth). There also used to be net pens by day island that produced silvers which is also no longer there. True, Minter creek is doing a delayed release program but they are not putting out vary many fish. All I konw is you used to be able to go out and catch blackmouth until your arms fell off but those days are long gone. There are also virtually no native kings or silvers left in south puget sound and just because they are not marked doesn't mean they are wild fish they are almost all hatchery fish. It is just so frusturating to see the way the state manages it's resources.

I have never seen so many coho return this fall in my life, schools of 100 fish clipped passing around manchester, know older people that have fished port orchord since the 60's and were all smiles. usually schools of 5 or 10. pnp was kicking out multiple fish hours last summer. so many wild silvers and chinooks returned to these small creeks around the KP it was amazing. what about all the chums

In a couple of books I have read where Bruce Ferguson speaks of 2 many resident fish for the food supply to where they have to go elsewhere, but all I know is how many silvers and srcs over 18 inches I caught last summer and fall.

the fishing is not coming to a end my friend just change your presentaion a little

blackmouth fishing being slow could have alot to do with the extensive netting for chum.

"Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon" is a book that should belong to every saltwater flyfisherman, excellent book:beer2
Thanks for the inspiration, and I'm gald you did so well, my biggest problem last year was not having enough time to fish. Anyways once duck hunting season is over I will have to go try for some resident silvers in the narrows.


Jay Allyn

The Poor-Student Fly Fisher
There arn't too many pinks that venture throught the Narrows. From what I know, there are some small returns of wild pinks but not many and not large numbers. The reason that there are more chums I believe is because they have a better survival rate and are less targeted by nets. I'll have to take up SRC/Silver fishing this summer in the South sound...
there were alot of pinks straying this year, seen them in a couple of small creeks, was thinking whether or not to snag them out of there but not my place and coulter creek hatchery got a mess of them back, seen them in the culvert on the hatchery side of the road, same with the skok, seen a couple of pinks there.

chums are more numourous because there reputation of spawning in the most polluted parts of a stream and they dont rear at all, like pinks so that means a small creek that only has a trickle of water in the summer, can spawn chums in the fall and they will be out to sea in the spring, then wont even be a creek with water in it all summer with a salmon stream sign across the culvert and people will think there are no salmon in here, there is no water.

from what I believe there is extensive netting for chums, there allowed alot of those, my buddy works on a seiner in puget sound and they have to release all coho/blackmouth but he says the load is so huge of blackmouth sometimes and there always pretty much done when they get dumped onto the deck for sorting.

if you guys are wondering about resident silvers call the herring netters especially puget sound herring out in longbranch. they net thru hale passage and around point richmond in purdy colvos passage side, my buddy had worked for them for about 4 years he says they average about 1 salmon killed to every 15 herring and with the westport and oregon charters going full speed the last couple of years they have been working overtime during the season to keep up with the demand. there are literaly buckets of baby salmon there when there sorting out label sizes and sometimes the holding nets have been so full of salmon that my buddy just released the whole thing. so of course with the extensive herring netting in the spring,summer and early fall since 2001 fishing for resident silvers in the same area is gonna be kind of slow next to nothing.

one day the WDFW will learn that herring and baby salmon of the same size hang out together in shallow water at night around the fox Island bridge where they are cleaned out and herring netting should be a thing of the past.

catch and release wild sculpins
For years I fished winter blackmouth in area 11 and at one time I was convinced the nets were destroying them. However what I believe happens is that these residents start migrating north about the first part of January and will seem to completely disappear by mid February. Those that remain seem to change their feeding habits as well. When the herring move into eel grass beds to spawn the salmon follow. And to add even more confusion the salmon will move into very deep water during the day light hours. Deep as in 200 feet plus and they will be near the bottom. There is a deep trench by Dumas Bay that I have caught both blackmouth and silvers in late Feb and March. These fish were litterally stuffed with small shrimp! The depth, nearly 275 feet!


Jay Allyn

The Poor-Student Fly Fisher
What I meant to say when I said "nets" was comercial fishermen out in the ocean. I know the indians devistate thousands of chum and leave them to rot on the shores while only taking the eggs. But remember, the Native Americans respect Mother Nature...:rolleyes