Sun-splashed Sekiu is living up to its reputation as one of the best salmon spots in the state.
“It’s one of the best coho years in the last decade,” says Wayne Heinz who’s just returned from the Strait of Juan de Fuca to smoke a load of fish — and who’s heading back just as quickly. “It’s unbelievable.”
He describes being able to limit at will by sunrise, despite 7:1 to 9:1 ratios of natives to hatcheries, but holding back on filling the card to enjoy catch-and-release action and gorgeous weather in the afternoons with friends.
Most of the coho are running 5 to 9 pounds, he says, but the hooknoses now beginning to show are as much as 10 and 11 pounds.
“They were dinky when they arrived, but now they’re nice fish,” Heinz says.
It bodes well for fishing in Puget Sound which is already having a good season.
Heinz, who makes an annual pilgrimage to the snug port of Sekiu from his home in the Tri-Cities, launched out of Anacortes Aug. 22 and returned Sept. 11.
He reports that in the early morning hours herring strips and green, blue or cream hoochies run 20 to 35 feet down or UV 3.5 Coyote spoons with shrimp Smelly Jelly right in the wake were the ticket.
Other anglers were using different colors and having good success too, he says.
In late morning and early afternoon, he was dropping his gear 60 to 80 feet down and running a cutplug herring or glo-in-the-dark hoochies.
The hot spot, or more appropriately, hot line was the 550-foot contour about a mile north of Olson’s.
The south edge of the shipping channel was where the hooknoses were, he added.
WDFW creel checks for last weekend showed 608 Sekiu anglers in 251 boats bringing in 744 coho, an improvement over previous weekends and among the best late summers so far in the past few years.
“The fish checker I just talked to checked 40 boats and (on) 38 of the boats everyone had their limits,” Olson’s Resort blogged.
Heinz says the fishing for black and blue rockfish has also been “super” and that kids he’s been taking out have “had a ball” fishing for them.
If there’s a downer it’s that the gas dock at Olson’s hasn’t been in, forcing anglers to make a 28-mile float to Neah Bay’s facility.
“Burn 10 gallons just to get 80,” Heinz notes. “It’s a real pain without gas.”
The other alternative is to bring lots of 5-gallon jugs and have someone drive over.
Speaking of fuel, he says the Sekiu resorts report a dropoff in business that may be related to high late-summer gas prices.
A shame when the fishing’s this good — and about to get better.
Saturday sees native coho fair game here, daily limit two.
“That’s why we’re rushing right back out there,” says Heinz.