Some anglers found Chinook, others mostly dogfish (er, guilty as charged) on today’s delayed Marine Area 9-10 hatchery Chinook opener on Puget Sound.
“Possession was decent,” reported Tom Nelson of The Outdoor Line on Seattle’s 710 ESPN early this afternoon. “Tin Shed, West Bar, East Bar.”
“No Point was pretty quiet,” he added.
So too was Midchannel Bank — usually a quota crusher for the Area 9 fishery — when Nelson was there very early in the morning.
He ran all the way to the famed Port Townsend salmon hole, despite advising other anglers on his show last Saturday that the tide wasn’t favorable there today.
“I couldn’t stand it,” he admitted. “It sucked, dude. I know of maybe five taken there.”
Ryley Fee reported going two for four on MCB fish to 10 pounds by 9 a.m.
“Was definitely slower, and no bait around,” he said.
That “no bait around” extended to Point No Point and Possession Bar, and that must’ve had the doggies starving for just about anything that jiggled past.
I was out on Area 9 with Mark Yuasa and Karsten McIntosh of the Northwest Marine Trade Association in the Northwest Salmon Derby Series grand raffle prize Weldcraft Rebel 202 Hardtop and we caught dogfish on cutplug herring, dogfish on whole herring, dogfish on fat spoons and dogfish on skinny spoons; found dogfish on bottom and caught suspended dogfish; and we brought ’em in straight and we reeled ’em in sideways.
“There was a lot of dogfish on Possession,” confirmed Nelson. “Run anything that smelled of bait, you caught one …”
For skipper Gary Krein of All Star Charters, the lack of bait all came down to the tidal movement, or relative lack of it, to help keep herring, etc., pinned against ledges or in eddies, which in turn draw Chinook, which draw anglers.
“You need at least a foot an hour” of movement, he says.
Today’s tides at Edmonds were a 2.61 low at 6:02 a.m. rising to a 7.31 high at 12:33 p.m. dropping barely to 5.36 at 5:20 p.m. — “My most displeasant tide there is to fish, just not enough movement,” said Krein.
Tomorrow’s tides don’t do much for him, but Saturday’s look “quite a bit better.”
Krein did note there was bait at Jeff Head, but where all the schools that were hanging out in the Tin Shed yesterday that Nelson screenshot is anybody’s guess.
We tried mooching at Point No Point and then trolling spoons and other gear on the edges of the bar, while others found Chinook success on plugs.
We heard of 10- and 20-pounders caught on Tomics, and John Martinis of John’s Sporting Goods in Everett posted that after starting the morning running flashers and spoons, he and his buddies switched out to 5-inchers in mother of pearl color combos (602 and 603) and nailed their limits.
Krein reported his operation’s four charter boats ran “mostly plugs and flashers and spoons to” put 21 kings in the box in both Area 9 and 10 this morning.
“Nice fish, nice fish,” he said, with the six caught aboard the boat he was on all running 13 to 17 pounds.
After the NMTAs boys kicked me out of the boat around 11:30 back at 10th Street, I headed over to the WDFW fish checker for an update.
“Pretty much everyone’s gotten their fish so far,” she told me and pointed to an eraser board with a score of 66 Chinook and eight coho to that point.
Maybe so, but the feeling is a bit different with others.
“We didn’t catch as many Chinook on this July 25 opener as (past years’) July 16 openers,” The Outdoor Line‘s Nelson noted.
So the questions become, how much damage did we actually do to the relatively low 3,500-fish Area 9 quota that led to the delayed start, and are we gonna get more time on the water after the four-day opener wraps up on SUNday?
Even with his boats’ success, Krein says “There are lots of people who didn’t get any,” and he expects there to be room after the numbers are crunched.
“My read is we’re going to get additional days,” Nelson also forecast.
Meanwhile, Area 10 is scheduled to stay open until its 3,057-king quota is caught, or Aug. 31. Anglers there may benefit from salmon that moved through Area 9 unmolested where in past years under the July 16 opener those fish might have been caught beforehand.
Editor’s note: An earlier version of this said that the Area 9 fishery wrapped up on Monday but in fact it ends after Sunday. Somebody can’t do math after being awake for so long.