Salmon fishing inland waters is becoming the topic of conversation with anglers as of late. The best news is yet to come with the opening of several of our local rivers in the near future.
The first in this regard is the Humptulips River. The Hump will open on Monday and will give those who have cleared Labor Day for fishing a chance to give it a try.
Generally speaking, those who are on their game have already got a good idea where to focus their efforts on this popular river.
Actually, the Humptulips will open completely to the confluence of the east and west forks. This fishery will give the angler a daily limit of six salmon and up to three adults may be retained. All kings and wild coho must be released which makes this an entirely hatchery coho fishery at this time.
Currently, there is a night closure and single-point barbless rule in effect.
Since Washington State is a day and night steelhead state, it is necessary to employ the night closure rule to protect salmon. Anglers would argue they are fishing for steelhead and thereby disrupt the salmon population which occupy the same waterways. This night closure will ensure the integrity of fishing by keeping all anglers off the river after dark.
The adjacent Stevens Creek will not be open to salmon fishing the entire year.
As a matter of fact, the water from the Fish &Wildlife hatchery outlet downstream 400 feet is listed as closed waters completely.
Whereas most of the fishers will be focusing upon the lower stretches of the Hump, some fish will undoubtedly make their way upstream and occupy river pockets.
One of the biggest hurdles for anglers this year will be to avoid the ever present kings. The best way to refrain from a king hook up would be to use hardware rather than bait.
On the other hand, it simplifies matters easily this year with the release of all Chinook rule, regardless of how or where these fish have been caught on the entire river.
Time is running out on the opportunity to retain a Chinook this year in available waters.
Marine Area 2-2 gives anglers until Sunday to retain a single Chinook. Area 2-1 (Willapa Bay) will permit the retention of hatchery kings until Jan. 31 or until the end of the season. Beyond these locations we are looking at largely a hatchery coho fishery for the balance of our season.
The sorting is not over entirely when it comes to silvers or coho salmon. Anglers will need to keep a close watch on existing adipose fins. The only inland river allowing wild coho retention would be the Chehalis River through November in the lower segment.
Throughout the month of September other rivers will be opening to salmon fishing until the full opening Oct. 1. At such time, all rivers that will be open to salmon fishing will get the green light and inland salmon fishing will be in full swing.