(Help) Getting Skunked around seattle and I don't have a boat

Hi Everyone,

I need some advice. I am from Montana and been here for 8 years and I have not been fly fishing because its a lot different out here. I have fly fished all my life and I am trying to get back into and and learn spin casting at the same time. The problem is I don't always have a ton of time to get far from seattle, I try and get some fishing before or after work. I don't have a boat, and I have been having lots of trouble finding spots to fish from a beach or pier. I have tried Carkeek Park, Seacrest pier, Alki beach, Queen Anne pier, (only an hour at Lincoln Park). I have done all the research for both fly fishing and spin casting and I just can't seem to find the fish. I am getting frustrated. Been skunked the last 12 times I have gone out. Tried everything from streamers, herring, buzz bombs you name it and I getting owned by these fish. Any suggestions? I have been hitting the tides right and all that jazz, don't know what to do.

Welcome to beach fishing for salmon. In my experience, it's a tough game and some of the guys who have it dialed have been at it for years. In general, I'd say if you are getting skunked, you're probably just missing the fish because if they are there they will usually bite. If you want to catch some fish, rig up your six weight, tie on a baitfish and head out looking for searun cutthroats...

I don't know where in Seattle you live, but I'd say keep on hitting Lincoln Park. That seems to be a pretty productive location even though it's really well known. I know I'd be there more often if I lived a bit closer.
Welcome to the sport!
It is definately a different game than the waters you are used to fishing.

Right now is "prime time" for sea-run cutthroat. When you find the right stretch of beach, you will see why so many love to fly-fish for these trout.
Try taking a ferry to Port Townsend, or other spots away from Seattle and make a day of it. You will get dialed in pretty quick.
These fish are VERY close to shore, so don't try casting a mile into the deep water.
If you are wading past your knees, you are spooking fish.
Get a map and look for beaches with public access and look for cobbled rock, oysters, and boulders. They tuck in like bass. They also like kelp. Points are good too.
Ditch the herring & buzz bombs...Stop by the fly-shop and grab some #8 clousers, then head for the beach with your fly rod.
Good luck !:thumb:

Craig Schulz

Midwest transplant, but taking root nicely....
You really need to get away from Seattle, not only to find the beachs but just for sanity. Kalamazoo / Seattle.
Skunked again// Saturday Lincoln park, Sunday Alki point and seacrest pier, Spokane Street pier. This is so frustrating. Not so much as even a bite
Rory, what were you fishing with (what flies, etc)? What time of day? What was the tide doing while you were out?

I agree with Luke and mitransplant. Ditch the buzz bombs/get out of Seattle...

Keep at it though. If I were you, I'd keep hitting Lincoln Park. There are fish there. Read up on past threads on this forum. Read anything posted by Roger Stephens (his post yesterday was great), miyawaki, Les Johnson and others. Buy Les's books on Fly Fishing for Coastal Cutthroat and Fly Fishing for Pacific Salmon. Put together a journal and systematically hit different beaches and different tides. Meet up with other forum members to go fish. Keep on getting out there and exploring. Eventually you will get into something.


Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater
I tend to disagree that you need to leave Seattle to catch salmon.
Lots of salmon were caught in Seattle this summer by shore bound anglers.......

wadin' boot

Donny, you're out of your element...
I was often skunked on foot in seattle. I dialed the fly size way down and started using very sparse clouser flies with movement and marabou instead of deer hair on an 8 or 10 hook. Alternatively sculpin patterns. Look for twilight, big tide changes, outflow creeks, moving tidal water and make sure you can cast well, or failing that read water well. Some low-tide trips help see beach holding structures not otherwise apparent. If time is money 12 trips skunked might be time to take a class or hire a guide. On the other hand nothing comes easy, even if Roger Stephens is posting consistently exactly what to look for...

Upton O

Blind hog fisherman
I took a class, bought the books indicated plus some others, started hitting beaches at different tides. Some days I caught fish, some days I got skunked. I always saw something that made the day unique. Maybe it was someone I met, maybe it was a new bird species I hadn't seen before. I'm not close to knowing what I'm doing but I just keep trying new stuff, new places, different tides, and researching this forum. I've had a blast for the past five months. I caught two pink salmon from the beach before the combat fishing started and that was fun. Keep at it. When you see someone fly fishing go up and talk with them. Every one I spoke with gave me a little more information that was helpful. I fish Lincoln Park and have hooked some decent SRC's there. It's easy fishing and close to the house.

If you're from Montana you won't find that quality of fishing here for the most part. But there is decent fishing here.

Good luck. If you see me at Lincoln Park or any other beach on the south end of the sound say hello and we'll chat.
Thanks for the input. I'll keep on trucking at Lincoln Park but gonna try the rivers first. Might see you soon.
Rory, Silvers are starting to show up in the rivers. It is slow still, but of course it's raining today so who knows what is coming. If you can, check out the Wallace river up near Sultan/Monroe. It's not that far really from Seattle.

Went to the river and got unskunked. Caught on 5 weight fly rod. I almost wonder if I need to get a 7 or a 9 weight. If there was a serious current where I caught this one I wouldn't be able to land him. Not the best shot sorry phone camera had to get it quick and release him.