After this weekend, the entire inland salmon fishing season opens up in Grays Harbor. Starting Oct. 1, the smaller rivers open to salmon fishing and as far as opportunities go, it doesn’t get any better.
The recent rains have caused fish to move somewhat. We still need to see some significant rain to move the entire fish population from the bay into our coastal rivers.
In the meantime, one can expect to see anglers working the Willapa and Chehalis fairly heavily. These two classifications are known as Marine Area 2-1 and Marine Area 2-2 respectively. Essentially, they are the bays which empty both of these river systems.
Until we have a decent amount of rain, the boat traffic will increase because salmon will begin to stack up awaiting their migration.
For the Grays Harbor crowd, anglers will position themselves along the banks of the lower Chehalis.
The locations that collect most of the anglers are behind Gateway Mall, the boat launch at South Aberdeen and any trail which leads to standing room at high tide. For the most, anglers in boats have an advantage since they are able to cover so much more fishing water.
Some anglers prefer to troll using a variety of terminal tackle. Others, choose to fish from a stationary boat and cast toward the shoreline. This later technique is especially productive when fishing for silvers.
While we are in this mode of fishing, the lower portions of the Wishkah and Hoquiam rivers will see some activity. Again, anglers will be seeking to intercept salmon awaiting rain holding in the estuary or tide water sections of these two streams.
There is no question that the Humptulips River will get its fair share of fishing pressure. This water is heavily guided and will attract many due to the Chinook and wild coho retention opportunity. Although only one king and one wild coho are allowed daily, this will be enough to get anglers pointed in its direction.
For this current window of opportunity (the month of October), our rivers are as open as they get in a fishing season. Anglers are able to pursue game and food fish with few restrictions.
A lot of attention is generated toward the Queets River and the adjacent Salmon River at this time.
One of the things that makes this area so attractive is the hatchery upstream on the Salmon River. These fish must travel the Queets before moving into the Salmon River. The Salmon River, although quite small, can be very productive when the water conditions are right.
Anglers have been doing quite well on silver jack salmon in recent weeks at the mouth of Salmon River on the Queets. If they are able to position themselves correctly, this can be a productive fishery while it lasts. Small bites of salmon roe will entice these jacks leading to their capture.
So, as far as salmon fishing goes, the focus is clearly in the lower sections of our rivers. When the rains come and they surely will, the fish spread out and anglers will do likewise.