San Juan Islands Rockfish Help...

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by dmoocher, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. I'm making my first trip ever to Lopez Island this weekend. I'll be staying on the south end of the island and would like to bring my 9' pontoon and try for rockfish off the kelp...less than 100 feet from this suicide or can it be done? Some photos I've seen of the area show the water to be fairly calm on the south end of the Island in the coves, good kayaking water, I know the straights between the islands can be wicked.

    I've been asking for help everywhere, some say I'll be fine, some say I'm an idiot...I want to be a fine idiot who played 3 dozen black rockfish on a sunny weekend.

    Any advice, help or warnings will be greatly appreciated.
  2. Idiot or not, I have fished from my 10' Osprey II pontoon all over Puget Sound. I was out on Elliott Bay for 7 hours early on Sunday trying to get my quick descent line down for Kings. Most of my fishing has been close to shore or in estuaries. I have had lots of fun and caught a lot of fish from my boat. Be very mindful of the tides and the wind. Rowing against a strong tide and head wind can be tough. I always wear my PFD.
    One caution, last year while fishing from a north sound beach, a fly fisherman in a pontoon trolling about 100 feet off the beach was being followed by a sea lion that must have been 12' long. It didn't actually bother him but I wouldn't want to fight one for a fish. Good luck. Steve
  3. Black rockfish aren't found much in the San Juans anymore. There are a few quillbacks around and that's what you are most likely to catch. Possibly a few greenlings or lingcod as well. I've never been out in the San Juans in anything smaller than a 12' aluminum boat with oars. . .just know when the tides are going to change and about how strong they are predicted to be. And listen to the marine forcast. You should be fine.

  4. I assume we are talking about the open water area off the extreme South end of Lopez Island? While there may be some nice days out on the south side Lopez, be aware that this is one of the roughest areas in all of Puget Sound. (It's not really Puget Sound but you know what I mean) There are few places to land and there are currents to contend with. Couple that with exposed rocks and an inflatable craft and you have a dangerous situation indeed.

    I would avoid it in all but the calmest conditions and if south winds or big tide changes are predicted, I would consider staying in inside waters.

    Other than that it should be ideal rockfish habitat. Not sure about black rockfish (I've never caught one), but if you fish gear or have a reliable way of getting a fly down past 30' and just off the bottom you shoud do fine.

    According to the regs the daily limit is the first legal rockfish caught. Not sure what this means but it doesn't seem to have the catch and release fisherman in mind. I do know that dragging a rockfish up from the depths causes certain death because they have no swim bladder. You might be Ok at only 30-40' down but I was on a charter boat once that brought some under-sized fish up from 200' and they were ready to expode from the pressure change. We had to release them because they were undersize but they just floated on the surface like baloons waiting for pelicans to come.

  5. Thanks guys...I may just stay on the rocks with my 10year old and toss bass jigs ...One of my co-workers has a cabin up there so I'm sure it won't be my last trip.

    Chris, as an FYI you can puncture the swim bladder membrane as it protrudes in their mouth and they'll swim right back down to the'll heal in no time...I also have to check the fish limit...I thought it was 5.

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