Early Fall Chinook & Coho Salmon: (September - November)
The early fall Chinook and Coho salmon runs are some of the most robust our coastline has to offer. They are the biggest, too, with some tipping the scales of over 40 pounds. The salmon flood in with the tides and hangout in our estuaries until the rains come. We like to target these fresh fish with small flies and 8-10 weight fly rods. If fly fishing doesn’t appeal to you, we also use standard gear. The ability to be diverse in our techniques is crucial to our success.
Late Fall Chinook & Coho Salmon: (October - December)
Once the first big rains come, usually by mid to late October, the fish swim out of the estuaries and into the rivers they were born in. To fish these guys, we primarily use more of conventional tactics: bobbers, back bouncing, plugs, etc. Floating down these small streams amongst hundreds of salmon as they make their way up river, is quite an exhilarating experience. This can be a lengthy season, as some of our fisheries will produce fresh fish into December.
Winter Steelhead: (December - April)
Winter Steelhead is one of my favorite fisheries to guide. With every rise and fall of the river, Steelhead seem to magically appear in force. The fish begin to run these rivers in December, with a general peak in January - March. They are one of the sportiest fish to go after, as they tend to put on acrobatic shows and serious line peeling runs. When the water is right, we are also able to float higher up on our systems, where breathtaking backdrops take the stage. This season is fast paced; two separate floats in a day is common. Side-drifting or bobber fishing is my preferred method of choice. Whether we are using a spin rod or a fly rod, multiple hook-ups a day is often the norm. Did I mention a chance for a world class fish of over 20 pounds?
Spring Chinook: (May - July)
Though our spring Chinook run isn't as robust as our fall, they make up for it in other categories. This fishery kicks off in May in our tributaries, and will last into July; meaning much more pleasant weather. These fish are also some of the most highly desired Salmon for table fare, where market price often exceeds $40-$50 a pound. They are filled with fatty Omega 3's because, unlike their counterpart in the fall, they don't enter freshwater sexually mature. Instead, these fish won't spawn until the fall, so they need all the reserves they can to last through summer.
The spring Chinook are often referred to as a "unicorn" because of their finicky and elusive behaviors. So even on a tough day, when you may only get one, you’ll feel like you hit a grand slam in the world series. These fish will respond to a fly in the estuary, or similar tactics we employ on our fall fish upriver.
Summer Steelhead: (April - October)
The summer run Steelhead are highly sought after by anglers in the Northwest. Mimicking the timing of spring Chinook Salmon, you can catch these as early as April and into the fall.
These fish are apt to bite a wide array of offerings from a jig, bait, hardware, swung flies, and anything else under the sun. That is, if you can approach them with enough stealth. The water is often low and clear when we target them, making the angling very rewarding. These are the most acrobatic fish that I target, often spending more time out of the water than not. These fish come in sexually immature, so they are loaded with fat and are highly desirable on the plate. Most of these fish are of hatchery origin, so if you catch one, there is a high chance of preparing a meal for your family and friends.