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From the water access site map, it appears that there are a few places on the very lower part of the Skagit. "North fork" and "Diking district #22" look interesting from the satellite photos. Would it be possible to catch SRC by wading in these type of areas? This type of fishing is all new to me and I'm just trying to do some homework to get a handle on the area. Thanks for any input or guidance, Jim
 

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From the water access site map, it appears that there are a few places on the very lower part of the Skagit. "North fork" and "Diking district #22" look interesting from the satellite photos. Would it be possible to catch SRC by wading in these type of areas? This type of fishing is all new to me and I'm just trying to do some homework to get a handle on the area. Thanks for any input or guidance, Jim
As stonefish posted the main issue will be if the river is open to fishing of any sort. Wading the lower river can be tricky. The bottom is mostly silt and can be a little soft. Cutts prefer cover in the form of woody debris, snags, sunken stumps, log jams, and the like. Which also make wading challenging and dangerous. Fishing from a boat is a better option if one is available. There are always cutts in the river but they won't come into the lower river in numbers until mid to late August at the earliest.
 

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I used to fish SRC in the lower Skagit, but always from a boat. As Kerry points out, the places where SRC hang out and the silty muddy river bottom are not conducive to wading.

And WDFW (aka Washington Department of Salmon) in its infinite wisdom decided to close the Skagit to all gamefishing opportunity this year from July 16 until December 16, basically voiding the entire SRC and bull trout seasons this year.
 

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Jim-

As others have pointed out the Skagit and especially the lower river for sea-run cutthroat it is best from a boat. Because of the volume of water and sheer size the Skagit is a tough river to dial in the fishing for its cutthroat and especially so for a newbie. While it is possible to do well on sea-runs on the lower Skagit from the bank the locations are limited and often not easily fished. To have any consistent success requires a sound foundation in the cutthroat game and reasonable knowledge of the river and its waters.

As Kerry points out consistent Skagit cutthroat usually begins in mid to late August. The onset of the good fishing (double digit days) is depending on having lower flows which in rare years can begin in late July but usually a month later. The early "season" fishing usually involves fishing in "dirty water" with visibility of a foot or less common thus making reading the water difficult. The best water to learn the river cutthroat game would be the Stillaguamish but unfortunately the main river is all ready closed and will remain so until next June! Apparently WDFW has decided with its co-managers that target game fish species on north Sound rivers is only appropriate when there are in-river salmon fisheries which are dependent on having harvestable surpluses.

As pointed out the Skagit is open for only 1 more week. If you want to explore for game fish this time of year and the expected water conditions I would shift your focus to the bull trout. The anadromous fish are not entering the river is spurts of fast traveling fish. Targeting them this time year is a tough game with high and often dirty water and inconsistent pods of fast moving fish. However the rewards can be big.

WW-
I'm planning on attending the early August commission meeting to express my did-satisfaction with this new management paradigm though based on WDFW decision makers responses to my questions during NOF this spring I will be on a fool's errand. I believe the current regulations maybe inconsistent to agency/commission stated policies and/or priorities.

I do encourage anyone interested in chasing game fish species during the summer/fall on the Skagit and Stillaguamish (and potentially other rivers) email those concerns to the WDFW commission. The closures on the Skagit and Stillaguamish this year will not put one additional wild coho on the spawning grounds. It appears that the co-managers have decided that the minimal salmon impacts for those of us targeting game fish are a low priority and better used to support tribal fisheries.

Curt
 

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"If they're going to pretend to manage the fish, I'll pretend to fish for them."
That statement is a perfect fit...once again.
Perhaps it is time for a court case...and I'll need a couple of fishery experts to testify on my behalf when I get ticketed for fishing with a pointless fly.
 

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I do encourage anyone interested in chasing game fish species during the summer/fall on the Skagit and Stillaguamish (and potentially other rivers) email those concerns to the WDFW commission. The closures on the Skagit and Stillaguamish this year will not put one additional wild coho on the spawning grounds. It appears that the co-managers have decided that the minimal salmon impacts for those of us targeting game fish are a low priority and better used to support tribal fisheries.
I'd be happy to run down to Olympia and say a piece.
As Steve pointed out, our impact would likely be in the neighborhood of 1.5 coho. It seems criminal that the state couldn't see fit to negotiate two fucking salmon away from the tribes and marine areas so we could have a trout season.
 
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