As we move along in time during this fall salmon season, we can expect to incur a series of changes to happen regularly from here on. Our need to adapt and be flexible will require some homework and conformity. Most of these areas will be out of the control of the angler per se.
The first, and most obvious, will be the weather, of course. The amount of rain we get will dictate the conditions for fishing immensely. Hopefully, things will be favorable in terms of river water levels and color. Steady rain and showers will not be detrimental but can be quite helpful. A steady moderate rain keeps river levels up which attributes to the continual arrival of fresh fish.
Furthermore, the ground gets saturated, which results in clean water runoff into the rivers. This means river water color remains suitable for ideal fishing. Rivers will tend to run a bit swifter, which will put anglers on alert to safety measures and different fishing techniques.
Another matter this year will be the periodic changes in fishing regulations. It seems a monthly change will come in some form or another to our local rivers. I have heard many people say this is precisely why they do not fish anymore. While I do understand this frustration, it is possible to overcome this issue. It takes a little bit of pre-planning with regard to the river being targeted and also by getting the regulation low down.
I will agree, it does get a bit complicated if one desires to move around a lot on a river or even go from river to river in the course of a day. The answer to that situation would be to carry a copy of the Washington State Fishing Rules Pamphlet and be knowledgeable.
The things that have specifically changed as we entered November are the closures of several streams. This is largely so for game fish. The Chehalis River changed to a fishery which requires the release of all Chinook and of course, chum, but anglers will continue to retain two wild coho within the three fish limit. Sections of the Satsop River have a change regarding lifting the night closure and hook restriction rule. This can get a bit tricky since some portions of the same river system still employ the restraints.
In recent days, I have heard the plea “when will the rivers ever drop into shape?” more than once. It seems we have been hit with a blast of storms that have kept the rivers marginal in terms of fishing excellence.
On one of my outings last week, I was hoping for some good fishing water at one of my favorite rivers. When I arrived, I was greeted by a fast flowing muddy river. It was running high and for obvious reasons was not crowded. I struck up a conversation with a gentleman who had made the trip from Maple Valley.
As a number of us watched the water flow by us, any locals who had arrived simply turned away and went home. Non-locals chose to fish this high and muddy water, including my new found friend.
There are arguments to be made about fishing successfully in these conditions but the percentages of a legal hook up are low. I chose to go home that day.