Puget Sound Conditions Forecasting

Osprey12

New Member
Hi Everyone, I'm new to fishing the puget sound and wanted to start doing so this summer but had a question on how to do it safely since I'm new to it. I'll be in a 18' nw style aluminum boat and wasn't sure how to determine when is a good day to go out and when is it best to stay home. I'll be fishing the narrows area and I've been over the narrows bridge before and seen white caps, and also been over it and seen it look like glass. My question is, what causes the change in the waves out there? Is it just wind? Is it tide change? Is it both? Is it something else completely? I have seen people say to check the forecast before going out but what should I be checking? For example, if I were to go out this Friday it looks like low wind conditions, does this guarantee that the waves won't be crazy or do I need to look at something other than the wind? Just trying to stay safe out there and try going out a few times before I take the kids out, thanks for the help!
 

Stonefish

Triploid, Humpy & Seaplane Hater....Know Grizzler
Waves can be caused by wind, tides or a combination of both.
Here is a good place to start looking for conditions.


There are other apps as well that can assist you such as Windy, Wind Alert etc.
SF
 

IHFISH

WFF Premium
Windy is great and deepzoom.com will give you tides and currents overlaid on a nautical chart. There is current velocity info for the Narrows and other locations available there. There was also a thread on small boat safety in the sound with a ton of great information. Your boat is larger than the primary one discussed in that thread but it still has a ton of useful safety information.
 

Bagman

Active Member
Stonefish hit it right on. In the Narrows the water runs northwest to south east the wind waves are going to be the worse running against the tide so a lot depends on where your launching from, it could be easy getting their and a bitch getting home. If it were me I would look for a spot where you could fish off the bank close to where your thing about fishing from your boat. Check the wind and the tides before you go and write down what you see the water doing. When you get home checking wind and waves. After doing this a few trips you will enjoy your time on the water, and hopefully not end up in the water.
 

JayB

Active Member
I go out on the sound in a 13' Whaler, and I use the "WindAlert" app, the most precise NOAA marine forecast I can get for shorter trips in-semi protected areas. If I'll be venturing/staying out longer, or plan on crossing a channel I 've started using the "Trip Planner" feature on DeepZoom.

There are lots of folks with way more experience than I've got that'll chime in with their insights, I'm sure, but I mostly focus on wind and tides, and pay particular attention to the times and places where it looks like the wind and tides will be moving in opposite directions. The longer the "fetch" (distance wind travels unobstructed over water) the more cautious I am about when/if I'll take my boat out on it.

I tend to avoid crossing significant channels or shipping lanes most of the time, but if the wind/tide forecast looks especially benign and it's just me on the boat I'll do so from time to time.

The other variable worth thinking about in a small boat is fog. Sometimes a fog-bank can sneak up on you and leave you completely enveloped, so it's worth coming up with a game plan for that situation.
 

thatguyryry

Active Member
I had a small 14 ft boat with a 25 up tiller that I ran in some pretty bad conditions around the narrows and point defiance area. The tools above are great resources. Generally I have felt pretty safe in even the bad conditions, it just may not be fun at all. go slow if the weather gets bad and take your time. have a plan.

Ill see you out there!
 

sroffe

Active Member
Friday will have a -4 low tide and 12 foot high tide. 16 foot difference. There will be a lot of water moving through the narrows 1/2 between the ebb and flood.

Lots of good advice. It just takes some time to develop the experience to know how wind and tides will interact in the area you plan on boating. Puget Sound is a very dynamic body of water. Wind and Tides will interact differently in different parts of the sound, and even differently when it seems everything is the same. It's fascinating to me. I fish a local point in West Seattle a lot, and even when I think I know what the currents should be doing at a given time, The Sound will tell me different.

Local knowledge and advice is valuable too, @Bagman feedback is great.
 

Jim Travers

Active Member
The approach many have taken to predicting the weather and related conditions is to avoid usin data. Just know. You either know or you don't. It is better to just know the prediction. No data. You should just know!
 

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