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I grew up in Anacortes. I seem to recall hearing off and on about folks catching Bull trout in the salt. I was reminded of this when reading Dec Hogan's book the other morning. He mentioned that he and Ed Ward hit it off when they ran into each other fishing dollies in the sound. He mentioned that it was near Mt. Vernon. So I've heard that the Swinomish Slough can be fished for bulls/dollies and I'm wondering if anyone here has done so and with any luck. I've searched here on the site and haven't found anything. I'd appreciate any info you may be willing to share. Thanks.

Brian
 

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Josh
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Hey Brian,

They are out there. I have only fished them once, and our launching point was La Conner. I wont give more info about the spot because it is a friends honey hole. We caught two nice fish which we sight cast to, I was stripping streamers and he was tossing a plastic bass lure that he would jig back across the surface. The fish would chase to the boat and it was alot like silver fishing.

I am sure that there are dollies out there now but the best time is in May. (At least for this spot and my limited experience)

One thing that will improve your chances is to concentrate your fishing on area's that would concentrate bait. We caught our fish in a couple feet of water at the inlet/outlet of a lagoon.

Good Luck
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Thanks Ringlee! I literally just started thinking about this. Really it was triggered by what I read in Dec's book. I hadn't even checked the regs yet.

Thanks too for the info on targeting SEA RUN CUTTS in the channel.

Cheers!

Brian
 

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Ringlee,
A friend of mine asked me this question a couple of years ago. After an extensive search of the regulations neither of us could find any specific rule making it illegal to target "Dolly Varden/bull trout" in saltwater. In the Statewide Freshwater Rules: " All FRESHWATER areas are CLOSED to fishing for ...DOLLY VARDEN/BULL TROUT... unless listed as open..." and the Statewide General Rules, under Harvest and Possession Rules, state only: "You may not retain wild Steelhead or Dolly Varden/Bull Trout except where specially authorized in the special rules.

In all of the designated Marine Areas, of course, all "trout" with the exception of hatchery steelhead must be released. One gray area lies in the definition of "trout" which, in the pamphlet, does not include Dolly Varden/bull trout. Is this just an oversight in our admittedly complicated regulations? I still see nothing specifically prohibiting "fishing for" (targeting) Dolly Varden/bull trout in salt water.
 

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Fly Guy Eat Pie
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page 30 of regulations says Dolly Varden/bull trout are closed to fishing, limited to a few selective fisheries.
so closed on all waters except where designated. not sure what it says about C&R though in salt...

but i agree, its all pretty confusing.
 

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Doesn't care how you fish Moderator
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I remember a few years ago, a gudie was discussing targeting them in the salt and WDFW was all over it.

The regulation that states that you can only target them in specific waters that are open (Skagit/ Sky) and closed everywhere else. Everywehere else IMO includes the salt.
Call WDFW
 

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Fly Guy Eat Pie
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I remember a few years ago, a gudie was discussing targeting them in the salt and WDFW was all over it.

The regulation that states that you can only target them in specific waters that are open (Skagit/ Sky) and closed everywhere else. Everywehere else IMO includes the salt.
Call WDFW
It gets confusing as preston stated as many people interpret and often include dolly's under standard trout regulation. I remember out at Carkeek, saw a guy come down with a bucket fishing for SRC's and he had interpretted that you can keep SRC's (under trout regulations) over a certain size. I let him know SRC's are protected in all marine areas but he didn't believe me...rang up WDFW and headed out.

As for dollies, I've seen people interpret them as trout as well. Not sure what waters are open for dolly retention. I just know of skagit/sauk and wallace i believe.
 

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There's definitely more SRC's and salmon in the Sound, so why not target them instead of the bull trout? Catching a bull trout in the salt sounds like a great novelty, but wouldn't you feel like a dick if it inhaled your streamer and bled all over the place?
 

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Seems like kind of a longshot targeting them in the salt anyway.
about 20 years ago, when Tulalip Bay was open, the spring bull trout fishing could get sick at times on incoming tides when the hatchery released the chum fry. I'd just wait until I saw a boil and aim a tiny fry pattern at the boil, give it a few strips.....POW. There are some spots along the coast north of there where the bulls would outnumber the cutts 5 to 1, so it really wasn't a longshot.......on days you could find fish, that is. All were released, even back then......and certainly anyone incidentally hitting one while c'nr fishing for cutts must put them back now!!!!!

They can be a great saltwater fish in certain places. I remember catching them practically every cast near the boat dock in Gustavus, Alaska........even had an eagle come down and help himself to a fat one I was taking back to the lodge for dinner (chef's request ;) ).
 

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Nom de trout, Ringlee
Page 30 (Statewide Freshwater Rules) says "All FRESHWATER areas are CLOSED to fishing for SALMON, DOLLY VARDEN... unless listed as open in Special Rules...", note that it says "All FRESHWATER areas".

I'm not addressing the ethical aspect of fishing for them in salt water, only the letter of the regulations. Admittedly, I do fish a couple of saltwater beaches at a time of the year when the likelihood of catching bull trout is greater than that of salmon or cutthroat. If there is sufficient concern, perhaps a change in the wording of the regulations is something that needs to be addressed during the next rule change cycle.
 

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Fly Guy Eat Pie
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Nom de trout, Ringlee
Page 30 (Statewide Freshwater Rules) says "All FRESHWATER areas are CLOSED to fishing for SALMON, DOLLY VARDEN... unless listed as open in Special Rules...", note that it says "All FRESHWATER areas".

I'm not addressing the ethical aspect of fishing for them in salt water, only the letter of the regulations. Admittedly, I do fish a couple of saltwater beaches at a time of the year when the likelihood of catching bull trout is greater than that of salmon or cutthroat. If there is sufficient concern, perhaps a change in the wording of the regulations is something that needs to be addressed during the next rule change cycle.
Preston, we are looking at different pages. I am looking at the specific page that compares Dolly's to Eastern's, as well as general statewide rules page.
In it, it states that Dolly harvest is limited to select few waters. Again, it doesn't say anything about C&R. So you may be right actually...I just went through and looked for anything that says closed to all marine areas. Looks like I'll give wdfw a call later and see what they say.
or maybe someone else could chime in with a clearer idea on this?
 

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Apparently never been to AK.... I've hit 20-30 fish in one tide in the salt there.
Alaska, yes, that's another story.

I know there are some places around where you can catch them with reasonable regularity. I have a buddy who has caught quite a few off Whidbey. Don't know that I would spend much time targeting them even if it was open though.
 
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