Skagit River with a longshaft outboard?


New Member
Hi Everyone,

Would appreciate a little advice about the Skagit between Mt. Vernon and Sedro Wooley.

I recently upgraded from my little jon boat to a 15' tri-hull with a 80HP on the back. I am thinking about making the drive from Blaine to the Skagit this week to try some new sockeye flies.

If I stay on the outside of the bends is that stretch deep enough for a larger outboard?


If you're running a prop, not worth the risk. Especially for the infinitesimally small chance of hooking a sockeye on the fly in the Skagit. (might have a slightly higher chance from a gravel bar, since they hug the bank in the really shallow water)


Active Member
The old Skagit anglers ran props in the Skagit all the way up to Rockport back in the late 60s under the right conditions and before jets were available. But they were locals, had lots of experience, and knew what they were doing. Folks now run the lower Skagit with props too. But I agree with Evan that the chance of hooking sockeye on the fly are pretty slim where you suggest.


Well-Known Member

It's all about local river knowledge. People still run prop drive boats on the lower Skagit, mainly dowstream of the Burlington RR bridge. Prop drive used to be common all the way to above Rockport to just above Barnaby Slough in winter steelhead season well into the 1980s. The river currently is higher than typical for winter steelhead fishing. I used to run a prop drive all over the river, including upstream of Rockport, but one day I broke two shear pins because the channel thalweg had move since the previous season. So even local knowledge has to be continuously updated.

And while the water on the outside of bends is usually deep, there are enough isolated cases where it isn't, you shouldn't make that assumption. Look at the water color as an indicator of depth, understanding that the ratio changes as river turbidity changes.

Your plan could be viable if you're careful and understand the principles of river boating. Like understanding that your boat dead in the water could be fatal if you don't know what you're doing.

You'll want to fish well inside of any main current seams in water where the velocity is not too slow and not too fast and 3-6' in depth. I've heard that the sockeye occasionally hit flies.



New Member
Thank you all for the advice,

I really cant afford to hurt the prop right before salmon/crab gets going. It just looks so much like the Snohomish (deep and channeled) when you see it from I-5. Will probably check out a few gravel bars before launching a boat then. Got high hopes for these flies.

Cheers & thanks again,




Active Member
Lots of stumps & logs in the lower river, which can be a bigger challenge than the shallow bars. Be very mindful of anything that looks like a current break. I run it from Sedro down in my boat with a prop, but I only run areas that I'm familiar with. Its a deceiving river. From a distance it looks fine, but the seemingly flat water you see is a maze of powerful currents and underwater obstacles. Nothing like the Snohomish.

During humpy season you see a lot of "inexperienced" boaters running props. Than again you also see a lot of guys with busted motors or beached on a sand bar during that time. I've had to bail people in both scenarios.

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