Anglers will have a host of fishing opportunities this Labor Day weekend on Grays Harbor. Anytime we get a long weekend, it can translate into meaningful fishing for some anglers.
For starters, the ocean fishery is still attracting anglers. Given the boat traffic through the Aberdeen corridor, one would have to conclude that interest has not waned one bit.
Sea-run cutthroat fishing has picked up tremendously over the last few weeks. Anglers are picking up fish locally amid their efforts to hook summer run steelhead. Actually, many of our local rivers are hosting this popular game fish. Some nice-sized chunky fish have come from the Wynooche River. The Clearwater River is producing the volumes of this species. Anglers, who have chosen to make the trip, have not been disappointed with their efforts and time spent.
Steelhead fishing has been yet another story. The low water conditions in conjunction with the protective instincts of this fish have made hook ups difficult. I have talked with seasoned anglers who have told me they have yet to touch a fish. This is not the case because the fish are not present. They are visible in the clear water. Again, it is a truth that if you have seen the fish, it has probably seen you first. Whatever the case, getting them to take a lure of any fashion has been quite a challenge.
Anglers can expect the yearly late push of summer steelhead at the end of August or early September. One can start watching for this run in the lower section of the Wynooche River. While the numbers may not be large, this late run gives anglers an opportunity for a fresh fish. Maybe these will not be as river wise as their earlier counterparts.
I would expect the weekend to draw anglers to Willapa Bay. This fishery boasts of three adult salmon with the release of wild Chinook and chum. An added part is the new rule on this water of the Two-Pale endorsement. So, as far as inland salmon fishing goes, this fishery is the best option so far.
If boating is out of the question, anglers can resort to the boat basin at either Ocean Shores or Westport. At these locations, four adult salmon maybe retained, however, it is mandatory to release all wild Chinook.
Many folk are awaiting the up-coming Grays Harbor Bay fishery. For a short window of time (Sept. 16- 22) anglers will be granted a daily limit of three salmon of which one may be a Chinook. I know many people who are gearing up for this opportunity. These Chinooks should be bright and fresh fish.
After this time frame, the daily catch limit will remain at three fish but all kings must be released. The other options that await anglers over the weekend include: high mountain lakes, lower lakes, and ocean surf fishing.
There should be no shortage of things to do in terms of fishing. The greatest concern, however would have to be water safety. Accidents can easily occur, so when it comes to water activity, everyone needs to exercise extra caution.