sound fishing for coho

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by dominic7471, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. Steve, see this thread The salt won't hurt your gear, just wash it down.

    Do a search on the site for sea run cutts or resident coho and you will find a ton of information on the type of beaches to look for. From my experience, the residents hang out around points or upwelling areas where the there is alot of circulation. I would hit up Lincoln park for resident chinook - there is another post somewhere about it. It is a good spot with alot of beach.
  2. gt

    gt Active Member

    coho which hang out only do well when there is an available food source. the delayed release program is another disaster perpetrated by WDFW. the ocean was a huge conveyor belt of feed for these fishes and that is why we used to see the coho return in the 10-15# range.

    any of your folks seen coho that size lately??? have you seen the shoals of herring down on the flats in the canal?? have you seen the shoals of herring around cherry point?? didn't think so as 'we' have guaranteed their demise. no feed, no weight, some refer to that as cause and effect.

    a good part of this was started simply because AK, WA, BC and OR could not or would not agree to harvest quotas. so brilliant mind in WA late released coho to screw the BC troll fleet. what has been produced is an inferior product, of minimal size and little market value.

    net pens were also a gleam in the eye of WDFW as a means of increasing harvest at terminal locations, read that river and estuary mouths. as we all have come to realize, net pens lead to all sorts of problems for the zillions of miniature fish that are crammed into such confined spaces. again WDFW, take a bow.

    now they don't know what fish are where??? typical of a mismanaged, philosophically stupid bunch of folks.
  3. dominic7471

    dominic7471 Member

    Steve A- Try some of the more southern beaches like towards the tacoma narrows. Trout gear will be fine.... try some little clousers and shock and awes and always look for jumping fish. Thats about it with the key point being look for jumping fish.. Just give your gear a thorough rinse and you will be good

    Best of luck:thumb:
  4. Salmon fisher

    Salmon fisher Member

    Beaches that have lots of rocks (any size, from pebbles to boulders) work best for me. I have never had great luck over sandy beaches

    Good luck
  5. Roger Stephens

    Roger Stephens Active Member


    Andy mentioned in a previous post that there used to be an excellent "wild" resident coho fisheries prior to the 1960's on Puget Sound during winter/spring/summer months. The delayed release "resident" coho program was started by WDFW in the 1970's to revive this popular fisheries. It has provided an outstanding fly fisheries on Puget Sound waters for several decades. These fish normally remain within Puget Sound/Strait of Juan De Fuca. This fisheries is not "another disaster prepetrated by WDFW."

    For the last couple of decades there have been adequate sand lance and anchovy populations in Puget Sound to usually "hold" the delayed release "resident" coho in Puget Sound. Herring are not as an important food source as sand lance, in particular, and anchovies for the delayed release coho. This past fall/winter Puget Sound appears to have a "bumper" crop of sand lance and anchovies.

    "Now they don't understand what fish are where??? Typical of a mismanaged, philosophically, stupid bunch of folks." Pretty harsh words without having knowledge or understanding of the delayed release coho fisheries program.

  6. snbrundage

    snbrundage Member


    Thanks, your and Roger's notes helped me a lot, especially to understand the history of the fishery.

    So, about two million (Squaxin 1.8 million, and Minter 250,000) were released in 06, and will be released again in 07. Very interesting and I can see why you want to hear about clipped fish. I think Roger mentioned your wanting information about clipped fish in a previous post, now that I think about it. I was told by a more knowledgeable fisherman than I that the late release program was discontinued some time ago. That threw me when I heard it a couple of months ago but I believed him and I ran with that info. Now I rather doubt that he actually said what I heard, or maybe that I heard what he said.

    Thanks again.

  7. gt

    gt Active Member

    my memory and history predate 1970. the resident coho of puget sound, as i have said, were here because their primary food source was also here, why swim a thousand miles when the feed is right here. that primary food source, herring, was the reason coho bulked up and we caught some beautiful fish.

    the midgets which are currently available are a simple reflection of two simple acts:

    1. the herring have all but become extinct in the sound (name your reason)
    2. with success of the early release program, already mentined, in the 50s, WDFW actively sought to keep 'our fish' at home. (see my point regarding the BC troll fleet) this is not conjecture, it is a fact, like it or not, the genetics of these fish was tinkered with for a political purpose.

    keeping fish in the sound even though their primary food source had collapsed then required a large influx of hatchery fishes. here we are talking about millions of genetically altered fishes released for two reasons: it sells licenses and boldt. and because there was little or nothing to eat, we see coho weighing in at 2-4#, cat food in the tribal nets.

    having an anomolous crop of sand lance is a good thing and it will certainly insure some bulking up of some of these fishes. what it does not do is address the historic issues which got all of us to this point in time.

    and, of course, that is the soap box i choose to stand on.
  8. Don Freeman

    Don Freeman Free Man


    What is this "genetic tinkering" you keep referring to? I'm aware that the source of some of the stock used in the past may not have been optimum, but have never heard about altering genetics. Are you saying these are some kind of mutant, triploid type of fish?

    From my own perspective, it's a kick in the pants to fish these coho over the winter. With the discouraging returns, growing crowds, and limited access, winter steelheading isn't what we enjoyed back in the '70s either, so I'm learning to be flexible, and enjoy what resources we do have. I sure as hell don't look as good as I did in the salad years, but fortunately, my wife still pays attention to me.

    I'd rather live in a perfect world too, but times have changed. I'd rather we encourage F&W to provide meaningful, long term improvements, as well as some entertainment for the present. They're a convenient target to kick in the shins, but I have to believe that the common good will be enhanced by cooperation.
  9. gt

    gt Active Member

    the 'resident' coho of puget sound made up a very small portion of the total escapement. there were, apparently, always some fish which would stick around for some reason, probably available food source. the rest of the crop would head to sea and be unavailable to you and me until they returned to spawn. of course if you choose to fish the blue water or some selected areas of the strait, you could actually catch some dandy coho during the summer and early fall months.

    that is how the anadramous fishery came to be genetically and historically. they spawned, they went to sea, they returned to spawn and die. the distribution of these returning fishes encompased several months during the fall and winter as nature had built in some variablity to account for water flows that might be too low or too high. natural genetics insured that some of these returns would spawn and their progney would successfully hatch and head down stream.

    now all of this was a seasonal show. everyone who fished knew that and timed their activities accordingly. the residents coho were few in number and an anomoly. in the 50s some WDFW bio figured out that he could replicate this by delaying the release of smolts.

    now we start the degrading of the sound waters, the collapse of the native food source and at the same time dump millions of delayed release fishes into the waters which could only historically support a limited few. the result is stunted fishes with almost zero commercial value.

    of course this was not a bad thing from the WDFW thinking. they used to rail on about overcapitalized fishing fleets, the declining runs and seemed take some joy in linking the two as opposed to examining just what sorts of programs they were promoting.

    when BC refused to discuss a blue water quota, the late release program went into full swing. ' gosh we'll show those guys, we'll just keep 'our' coho at home...' the sum of that is what we have today, far too many late release fish in waters without feed available.

    the behavior of these fish have been altered and they no longer head to sea or AK or the straits or anywhere else.

    of course from the WDFW perspective, licenses sales go up as has already been pointed out, '...why i can fish for coho year around...'.

    tinkering with native fish populations is a dangerous game. what is currently in place is the result of decades worth of this tinkering and the demise of ocean run coho.

    now if you think that promoting a 12 month program for runt fishing in the sound is worthy, then you will be happy to know your objective has been met. if on the other hand you believe that restoration of historic fisheries is worthy, then you won't be surprised to learn that WDFW is not interested.
  10. Roger,

    Thank you for responding to GT in an amicable way. Much better than I could do.

    GT, I unfortunately discredit anything you are writing on this subject because you hasve too many half truths and inconsistencies in your statements. All of these fish do not resdidualize in Puget Sound. The Squaxin fish are not all delayed release fish and do go to the ocean and return a high proportion of 10 pound fish unlike what you are saying. These programs are not "genetically altering" the populations. If you want some good information, go to Roger or Andy Appleby.

  11. Preston

    Preston Active Member

    Perhaps you don't have the historical perspective to make some of the statements you seem to embrace. Rather than "some fish", resident coho actually supported a pretty significant sport fishery up through the '60s. Usually referred to as "feeder silvers" at that time, they were caught on gear ranging from pop gear and worms to Pearl Wobblers and Candlefish spoons. At that time the limit was six fish under 18 inches and was heavily participated in from early spring right through summer until the ocean-going coho began to return. My father and I spent many productive days fishing the waters from Meadowdale across to Possession Point.
  12. gt

    gt Active Member

    choose to believe whatever sterling. the facts are out there and the history is clear if you choose to follow along. if not, thats ok with me as my only objective is to point out what has occurred over time.

    of course there are anomolies in all of this but the bottom line is we now have a runt fishery. if you can display evidence that the historic large coho are abundant and available, fire away.
  13. Djustham

    Djustham Sculpin are gross.

    It seems as if the thing that pains you most about the "runt" fish that are around now is that they are not commercially viable. However, as time has proven, the larger resident fish that used to be around didnt turn out to be commerically viable either. The point is, many of us would rather fish for smaller fish year round anyway. Besides that I would say that if the smaller fish keep commerial fishing out, the smaller the better!
  14. Josh Benjamin

    Josh Benjamin Member

    A truly enjoyable "runt" fishery available to a guy with a fly rod without a boat, from a beach that provides business for flyshops, guides and fun for us is a hell of a lot better than nothing at all. don't get me wrong...wild fish are wild fish and should be cherished, but...
    i'm not a scientist, just a flyfisherman who likes to catch fish.
  15. gt

    gt Active Member

    each of us views this situation through our own personal lense. one poster through the lense of memorable times with his dad, something to treasure. i view it through the lense of college friends and their parents, many of whom were scratching out a living troll fishing. that does not make my viewpoint correct and the other guys wrong or viceversa, its only a perspective.

    feeders were smolt who were capatalizing on a huge biomass of feed, herring. they stuck around as long as that food source remained, and indeed, provide excellent fishing for months in some years. some of those same fish hung around even longer failing to migrate into the blue water. why is anyones guess as no one really knows the answer.

    but, history is history. WDFW started tinkering first as a result of the failed negotiations with BC, later as a result of one of the worst judicial decisions in history, boldt. the net sum was flooding the biomass with delayed release smolt. this, after the collapse of the herring fishery. so now we have milllions of non migrating fishes competing with every thing else for their next meal.

    of course one of the prime rationales is exaclty what the previous two posters posted, catching coho year round. and that was the exact purpose for WDFW screwing around with nature, license sales.

    unfortunately, the chickens always come home to roost and they have and will continue to in this small example of bad public policy. you may have 'fun' with 2-4# fishes, but this has also put numerous familes, many of whom i know on a personal basis, out of business, killed a vital state industry, and jepordized the very lives of folks who used to fish for a living.

    those sorts of costs for being able to catch a runt year round is too heavy a price to pay in my mind. at the end of the day, i have come to recognize that WDFW is not an agency who is concerned with fish management, but instead, with bolstering the bottom line through increased license sales.
  16. Djustham

    Djustham Sculpin are gross.

    So you're saying that the late release/hatchery silver program is at fault for the collapse of the sound as a viable commercial fishing grounds? That is like saying that the introduction of invasive plant species, which compete for ground space, soil nutrients, sunlight etc, are at fault for the downfall of the logging industry of the state. Some industries, regardless of their deep traditions are just not long run options.
  17. gt

    gt Active Member

    when you overstuff the biomass with anything, there is always going to be a reaction, usually negative. the late release program on frankenho's is just one small piece of upsetting this natural equation. the point is simply that when anyone starts tinkering, there are going to be consequences down the road.

    this sort of tinkering is not what i consider to be scientifically based fish management practice. what we have going on, and have for decades, is an organization playing its own tune with little or no regard for long term and lasting consquences for fish, people, communities or businesses.

    puget sound is just one example of this sort of philosophy in action. we see the same thing on the columbia drainage, another failed mitigation program. there are many others that we could also point to, but lets not dilute the point any further.

    i simply think its time to call in the dogs and get some real management in place for all of our anadramous species wherever they happen to hang out and spawn. if that means that year round fishing for frankenho's ends, so be it.
  18. Les Johnson

    Les Johnson Les Johnson

    Puget Sound and British Columbia has a history of fishing over resident juvenile coho salmon documented back into the 1930s in Roderick Haig-Brown's writings. In Washington, Enos Bradner wrote at length about fishing for resident silvers. Late-release hatchery coho began in the 1970s as Roger stated. The program was developed to replace depleted native resident coho that were lost for various reasons, human and environmental.
    Resident coho salmon mature at a smaller body size than nortbern coho that come in from the Pacific Ocean in the fall. That too is historically documented. Our present resident hatchery coho mature at 3 to 5 pounds whereas big northern coho tip the scales at 8 to more than 14 pounds.
    I have photos in the new salmon book "saltwater history" of the late Roy Patrick showing liimits of resident wild coho taken in July and August.
    As for the resident program, all I want from the WDFW is to get it back to the quality of when it began. It was a great fishing opportunity for all of us.
    Good Fishing,
  19. Djustham

    Djustham Sculpin are gross.

    OK I'll buy that.:)
  20. Jeff Dodd

    Jeff Dodd Active Member

    I recall reading in Bradner's "Northwest Angling" that mature coho's, at the time of his writing (1969), averaged 4 - 8 pounds during late August in Puget Sound and the middle of September "Hook nose" salmon running 8, 12 to 16 and occasionally 20 pounds.

    These numbers are consistant with today's numbers and if anything, maybe the run timing has slid back a few weeks. Derby numbers I glace at here in the North Sound range from 3 pounds up to 18, and create a nice bell curve i imagine if graphed.

    I've seen 1 20-pound coho landed off the beach in the last 10 years, and I expect that's the way it should be. Those are special fish, and for Puget Sound, a 14-pound Coho is well above average and will turn heads for sure. I don't imagine Sequim to be much different. I also don't imagine Sequim has many resident silvers to target, am I wrong?