Coho Season 2018/East Coast Report

Peter Kovah

Active Member
Hey all!

Been a member for a few years but haven't posted anything because I've been out living in NYC.

PART 1: A Question

I have two, maybe three weeks off in September, and I was thinking about flying back home (family is in Anacortes). My favourite fishing has always been from the beaches of Fidalgo and Whidbey for Pinks and Coho. I haven't been home in years, but I've heard/read some dreadful stats on salmon returns. It's a damn shame too. I even heard a couple of years ago that recreational fishing was basically shutdown in most Marine Areas/Rivers. I'll leave politics out of it, but we can all agree it's just sad.

My question: if catching Coho is the primary goal, is it even worth heading back to WA? I'm boat-less, and will just be fishing the popular beaches around MA 7 and 8.1. It has never been my priority to catch TONS of fish (I consider one fish per day to be an extremely succesful outing). But based on the WDFW reports, it looks pretty bleak. Which is a shame, as I'm the proud owner of a new 8wt rigged for saltwater and would love to try it out in WA.

Second question: If it is in fact worth it, is there a specific two/three week period that one might recommend? I've been out of the Salmon game for awhile so I forget lots about the Coho migration. As memory serves, they start heading in to the Sound now-ish, with the peak in maybe mid-September, and by October most are in the rivers (in my case, the Skagit)?

Basically any advice would be appreciated. It's that, or I head out to Long Island for some Striper fishing, which brings me to part II.

PT II: East Coast Report

When I moved out to New York for work, I thought my fly fishing days were over. That has not been the case. At all. This Spring, I took a 2.5 month long camping/fishing trip with my girlfriend through upstate New York and all the way in to Maine. First two months were all about trout in the Catskills and Adirondacks, and then I went to Southern Maine where I hooked up with some guys I met from a Maine fly forum and caught my first Striper from the beach. And then caught many, many more. Mostly schoolies but some big ones as well. All catch and release.

It was arguably the most fun I've ever had fishing. The nature in upstate New York obviously isn't as spectacular as out West, but it's pretty damn beautiful and you can catch big huge browns as well as tiny beautiful wild brookies on the 2wt from tiny, crystal clear streams.

My point being, if you ever find yourself in New York City, there is more to do than cocaine and broadway musicals. There is excellent fishing 2 hours West in the Catskills, and 2 hours East in Montauk is probably the best Striper fishing on planet Earth. There were many great moments and great fish on this trip, but here are two random pics. First on a beach on a cold rainy day in Maine, second a nice brown caught on a dry in the Catskills.



IMG_4547.jpeg IMG_4637.jpeg
 

Kfish

WFF Supporter
Sorry I'm not experienced with those Marine Areas but would love to try fishing for those stripers someday!
 

Jakob B

Washington Native and college age angler
I would disagree in saying coho returns are bleak... it would be hard to be worse than 2016. From everything I've heard the fishing has been average to good for this time of year in the Puget Sound which is great considering the little rain we have gotten so far, fish are entering the sound and getting their last meals before heading up the rivers. I have had decent luck in MA 7 from beaches that intercept traveling fish well from the last week of august through first week of October. An intermediate line and coho flat wing flies or clousers in pink/chartruse/ or olive/blue with white and flash incorporated into either will work well, they tend not to be picky. I like the first hour of a flood tide fishing through slack and into the first hour of run off, usually gives you a good shot at a fish or two. I hope this helps you make up your mind or point you in the right direction, I'll be out there and at them this weekend.,
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
I don’t know where you were fishing in 2016, but coho fishing was great.
6 lb coho don’t happen all that often in July.
The problem with 2016 is the season closed about mid August, so we missed out on the best fishing.
Closing it early in 2016 was a total over reaction to what happened in 2015.

Fishing for coho was so poor for coho in 2016 that after the salt closed early, more fish showed up then expected so they opened the Skagit and Snohomish to wild retention.
That makes perfect sense.....

If we had been able to fish through Sept in 2016, coho fishing would have been stellar in my opinion.

2017 would likely have been good as well, but MA 9 closed on Labor Day.
Right after that , MA 10 went off.

To the OP, every year is different. You just have to take your chance if you make the trip and fish hard.
SF
 
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Jakob B

Washington Native and college age angler
I don’t know where you were fishing in 2016, but coho fishing was great.
6 lb coho don’t happen all that often in July.
The problem with 2016 is the season closed about mid August, so we missed out on the best fishing.
Closing it early in 2016 was a total over reaction to what happened in 2015.

Right, to my point. MA 7 was sub par in August compared to the rest of the sound and I never got the opportunity to fish for them when the peak time was because it was closed so for the particular area mentioned I wouldn’t know since it was closed. The fish that run past my cabin up there all return to the Nooksack, a river that has suffered lot lately from netting. You are correct but I’m only going off the marine area I got to fish that year since I had school to focus on too.

The intent of my post was to help provide some direction for this man I’m glad you could do the same...
 

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