Will this winter's resident coho fisheries be a bust?

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by Roger Stephens, Dec 15, 2013.

  1. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    This winter's resident coho fisheries may be extremely poor. The first week in Nov. I fished a location that has always had resident coho present this time of year over the last + 20 years. Occasionally a fish(approx. 13 inches) would be seen jumping and only one 12 inch resident coho was hooked or landed. Many Bonaparte gulls were seen feeding on amphipods plus numerous amphipods could be seen spinning on the water surface. However, no schools of resident coho schools were seen feeding on amphipods which are an important winter food source.

    Last Wed. I went out to fish the same location noted above. The conditions were perfect with a great ebb tide, nice cloud cover, and no wind with a glassy water surface. After 1 1/2 hours of looking around no resident coho seen or any Bonaparte gulls or amphipods. Conclusion: no Bonaparte gulls = no amphipods = no resident coho. I didn't even string up my fly rod and was shocked at the lack of any fish. Every year at this time there has always been a lot of resident coho at this location.

    IMHO the absence of resident coho at this location is due to lack of a food source and maybe resulting from too early of release from Squaxin Island net pens or Minter Creek hatchery. Last summer I fished almost all of Marine Area 13 and much of the southern part of Marine Area 11 for sea-run cutthroat and pink salmon. During that period I never saw or hooked any small recently released resident coho.

    I would be interested to hear what other fly fishers have seen or observed concerning the winter resident coho fisheries during the past 4 to 5 months to present.

    Roger
  2. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
    Ratings: +1,263 / 1
    Roger,
    I won't write it off yet. As you are aware, they move around a lot based on available food sources. I hit one of my favorite beaches last winter and it was barren. A week later they showed up and stayed for about a month, then poof they were gone again. For about a five year period years ago they showed up off a popular Seattle beach. I haven't seen them there since.
    If they are anything, they are unpredictable. My guess is they are north of you at this time. For awhile now they've been concentrated later in the year in a specific area when MA 10 opens.
    If I hit it over the holidays I'll post if I'm able to find them.
    SF
  3. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Over the next month I am still going to try to find some resident coho. If it is a bust, I'll just switch over to fishing for sea-run cutthroat. The hunt and seek aspect of the winter resident coho is something that I always look forward to.

    I think that you are right that the resident coho have moved further north of Marine Area 13 and the southern part of Marine Area 11. Maybe you guys to the north will be having some good winter resident coho. I'll be envious. It will be interesting to hear if you find any resident coho to the north.

    Roger
  4. eyeonafly New Member

    Posts: 5
    University Place, wa
    Ratings: +2 / 0
    Hey Roger,
    I still definitely consider myself an amateur as I've only been attempting this fishery for the past couple of years, but this late summer I did fish a beach a few times where all I came across was lots of small what I presume were recently released coho.

    See picture:

    Attached Files:

  5. DimeBrite MA-9 Beach Stalker

    Posts: 912
    Marine Area 9
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    I'll report if I spot any resident coho later this winter in MA-13. Cabin fever should hit by February.

    eyeonafly: those may be schooled up herring (good salmon food)
  6. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 915
    Silverdale, WA
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    Roger, sorry to hear that things look pretty dry down in your neck of the woods.

    After being pretty housebound for nearly a month due to illness, I'm really jonesin' for some action on some KP beaches. There are opportunities available currently in both MA10 and 11!

    You usually fish out of your boat, right?

    I'm beach-bound (although thinkin' about a 15 to 17 foot Smokercraft or Duroboat!).

    If I'm able to get off my lazy arse, I'll keep ya posted! :)
  7. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    That would be great if you would post if you found any resident coho. Don't need a location but would be encouraging to just know that there are some out there in Marine Area 13. In the meantime if I find any resident coho in January, I'll post what I saw.

    Agree with you that the fish in photo are probably herring.

    Roger
  8. Dipnet aka Tim Hartman

    Posts: 915
    Silverdale, WA
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    +1
  9. yellowlab03 Member

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    Maybe the big flash in the top right is a coho?
  10. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    [quote="Dipnet: You usually fish out of your boat, right?
    I'm beach-bound (although thinkin' about a 15 to 17 foot Smokercraft or Duroboat!).
    If I'm able to get off my lazy arse, I'll keep ya posted! :)[/quote]

    I presently fish out of a 15 ft. Stinger Smokercraft boat which has an open floor plan and side console. I have had the Smokercraft for 13 years and it has been a great boat and will be the last boat for this 77 year old "fud". I had a 14 ft. Duroboat for 10 years. However, if I had to do it over again, I would have gotten another Duroboat because they are so seaworthy.

    That would be great to make a post if you find any resident coho.

    Roger
  11. Speyrod GB Member

    Posts: 50
    Tumwater, WA
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    I have never targeted resident silvers before. Maybe someone with experience can give my some idea what to look for. I have been fishing for SRC in the salt for a few years. I usually fish from a boat in MA 13. I am not asking for specific places, just the general conditions and types of beaches. I do enjoy the hunt. Thanks.
  12. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Winter resident coho fishing has been extremely poor down in your "neck of the woods" for the last 4 to 5 years. You need to go north. In the early 1990's through early 2000's winter/spring resident coho fishing was outstanding most years down your way.

    When resident coho are around, they usually can be found at similar locations as sea-run cuthroat. However, they will normally be found in deeper water(10 to 20 ft.) vs. shallow water(1 to 8 ft.) for sea-run cutthroat. important characteristics to key into are: nice tidal current (slow walking speed), food source(amphipods, sand lance, etc.), low light conditions(sunrise/sunset/ fog/cloud cover), and look for jumping/swirling/slashing fish activity. Bottom structure/type is important for sea-run cutthroat but not as important for resident coho.

    Roger
  13. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
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    Keep an eye out for fish dimpling or porpoising on the surface similar to trout feeding.
    Generally where you find one you'll find others.
    SF
  14. rotato Active Member

    Posts: 612
    home,wa
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    We caught a decent size school of resident coho in the narrows in August
    We were fishing for bait herring and set on what we thought was a nice pod
    The captain Iidentified them by the way they swam in the net and the fish were released unharmed
    So this group was already in the narrows in August
    Maybe the northern migration ?

    Still no rezzies for me this season
  15. Speyrod GB Member

    Posts: 50
    Tumwater, WA
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    Thanks for the info Roger and SF. I greatly appreciate it.
  16. Stonefish Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater

    Posts: 3,861
    Pipers Creek
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    One other thing I forgot to mention. If you enjoy eating fish, those resident hatchery coho are excellent tasting.
    SF
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  17. Cougar Zeke Member

    Posts: 85
    Bellevue, WA
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    Roger,

    I caught rezzi coho at two Gig Harbor area beaches on subsequent weeks- 1 & 2 weeks ago.

    Only one caught each time (~12 inches), but they were there. At the second beach I saw other coho jumping, but didn't hook up any other than the one.

    Andy
  18. Smalma Active Member

    Posts: 2,831
    Marysville, Washington
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    I enjoy fishing those resident coho during the summer (July/early August) in the central sound (mostly MA 10).

    After watching this site for a number of years I have found that there is little correlation between the winter south sound fishery and my success the following summer. Just illustrates how nomadic and unpredictable this neat and tasty fish are. Suspect that their unpredictable movements are a direct result of the movement and the timing of the that movement of their seasonal food sources. Would not be surprised that many of the coho you are expecting to find at this time of year are further to north and west.

    Curt
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  19. Roger Stephens Active Member

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    Appreciate your post which is encouraging! It sounds like there are some resident coho just north of Marine Area 13. Resident coho which I caught last month in Marine Area 13 were also in the 12 inch range.

    Roger