Lynnwood Angler Awarded NW Salmon Derby Series Grand Prize Boat


Trevor Everitt of Lynnwood was at home when his brother Keaton Everitt called him in the late evening hours of Sept. 22 after viewing the feed of the grand prize boat name drawing on Facebook from the Everett Coho Derby.

“My brother told me that I had won the derby boat and I was in disbelief,” Everitt said. “I told him I’m not getting excited until I hear from the derby folks that I had actually won.”


Little did the Kirkland native realize, but his name had been randomly drawn from almost 7,000 anglers following the conclusion of the 2019 Northwest Salmon Derby Series.

Mark Yuasa the director of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series tried calling him soon after Everitt’s name was drawn that he’d won a grand prize, fully equipped aluminum boat valued at around $75,000, but it went directly into voicemail.

The next morning Yuasa finally got in touch with Everitt to notify him and turned his disbelief into reality.

“(Yuasa) told me I won the boat and then I knew it was indeed for real,” said Everitt who entered the derby series drawing after fishing in Edmonds Coho Derby on Sept. 7.

“This was the first time I bought a ticket to the derby and that came after my brother had convinced us to enter,” he said. “We grew up doing all kinds of salmon fishing with our grandpa up in Bellingham, but then high school and college got in the way and we hadn’t been fishing for about 15 years.”

Everitt said his grandpa had passed away and left his family a small inheritance. At the end of the 2018 fishing season they decided to use that money to purchase a 19-foot Bayliner Trophy Boat.

“We fixed it up and this season was the first time we got it on the water,” Everitt said. “It was a great way to hang out with my dad (Bob Everitt) and brother and it brought our families closer together. My brother is a total gear head fisherman and he saw a poster for the Edmonds Coho Derby at the Edmonds Marina and talked my dad and I into entering. My brother caught a fish but that was the only one we hooked during the derby. My brother and I have young kids and are starting to get them out fishing. Now that we’ve got this new boat hopefully we can also get our wives to go out as well.”


The boat is the 16th grand prize boat, motor, and trailer package that has been given away since the Series was created in 2004. This year’s Weldcraft 202 Hardtop boat is powered by a 200-horsepower Yamaha and a 9.9-horsepower trolling motor, on an EZ Loader tandem axle trailer. The boat came fully equipped with Raymarine electronics, Scotty Downriggers, a WhoDat Tower, Burnewiin accessories and a Dual Electronics stereo.

“It was a joy to hear how excited he was and his plans to get their family out on the water,” said Yuasa. “This boat and motor package are top-of-the-line and will provide Trevor quality time on the water. He plans to get the boat out as soon as possible before the coho fishing winds down and looks forward to winter crabbing.”

The Northwest Salmon Derby Series is a fishing promotion program directed by the NMTA that encourages boating and fishing in the Northwest. In 2019, the series included 14 derbies in Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada. For each derby an angler competes in, they get one entry into the drawing for the grand prize boat held at the final derby in the Series.

For more information, visit www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

Pugetropolis Coho Derbies, Salmon Series Raffle Boat On Tap

As summer nears an end, a pair of big Puget Sound silver salmon derbies appear on the calendar, with one also providing the venue for the annual raffling off of a $75,000 boat package.

This Saturday, Sept. 7, sees the Edmonds Coho Derby while the Everett Coho Derby goes down Sept. 21-22.

At the latter somebody who’s entered one of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series’ many events across the region this year will have their name drawn for a Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop with Yamaha 200- and 9.9-horse motors, EZ-loader galvanized trailer and more.


For the past two years the package has been won by Idaho anglers who entered late July’s The Big One Derby on Lake Couer d’Alene, but who knows who will win the 2019 edition.

Anglers will be more focused on pulling the biggest coho out of local waters, but should note that while the southern portion of Marine Area 8-2 will be available for Edmonds event participants, it won’t be open during the Everett derby.

With federal fishery overseers classifying Snohomish coho as an “overfished” stock, state managers are trying to get as many wild and hatchery fish back to the system as they can.

Another saltwater option for both events is the Tulalip Bubble, which is open Saturdays and Sundays through September.

Recent WDFW catch reports do show silvers being caught inside Puget Sound, and more in the Straits.

The Edmonds Derby is put on by the Sno-King Chapter of the venerable Puget Sound Anglers organization, and features a $5,000 top prize for largest silver, $2,500 for second and $1,000 for third. Unlike the Everett derby, it is only held on saltwater. Last year’s winner was Bill Turner who weighed in a 10.1-pounder.

Today is your last day to buy tickets. For more, see edmondscohoderby.com.


AREA 8-2 IS WHERE 2018’s Everett Coho Derby winner caught his $10,000 fish in heaving seas, but you can bet that Michael Rian will just take his very specific strategy to nearby Area 9, Admiralty Inlet, the pipeline that will funnel hundreds of thousands of the bright salmon to Central, South and Deep South Sound streams.

He swears by 66 feet based on experiences in British Columbia and at last year’s derby.

“Our group … has caught a very high number of coho at that exact depth, and have tried to disprove the theory, and we keep losing!” he told me following last year’s win.

Rian used an orange-label herring in a Rhys Davis anchovy helmet in gold, green and chrome and tandem 2/O and 3/O barbless hooks on a 6-foot, 30-pound fluorocarbon leader behind an 11-inch flasher in gold green.


Last year was the first time the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club and Everett Steelhead & Salmon Club had been able to hold the derby since 2015 due to low returns and fishery closures. Over the past decade or so, Areas 8-2 and 9 have both produced three winning fish, Area 10 one and the Snohomish one (coincidentally also the largest, 18.16 pounds).

Proceeds benefit local fish projects, including the release of 80,000-plus coho fry annually.

To get ready for the event, check out John and Conner Martinis’s free “High Percentage Coho Fishing” seminar starting at 6 p.m., Weds., Sept. 19, at Everett Bayside Marine off of West Marine View Drive.

For more, see everettcohoderby.com.

From Salmon To Perch To Crab To Derbies, August Has Lotsa Ops: Yuasa

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

In the blink of an eye, summer has shifted past the midway point but that doesn’t necessarily mean anglers should throw shade on late-season fishing opportunities.

In fact, the horizon looks very bright in August when salmon fisheries come into play at Buoy 10 near the Columbia River mouth, Willapa Bay, inner- Elliott Bay, Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Freshwater fish seekers also can set their sights on abundant yellow perch in many statewide lakes!


First off, the pink – a salmon that returns mainly during odd-numbered years and often referred to as “humpies” for a distinct hump that grows on their back near spawning time – forecast is a paltry 608,388 which could be among the lowest runs on record dating back to 1959. Returns soared above 1 million in 2001 and peaked at more than 10 million in 2009. The strong pace continued when it hit 6-plus million in 2011, more than 8 million in 2013 and dipped to 4 million in 2015.

In 2015, the pinks went from bloom to gloom as they faced a monumental drought period and extremely warm water temperatures in rivers. Winter flooding followed leaving very few young pinks to make it out to the ocean where they eventually ran into “The Blob” a large mass of warm water that wreaked havoc on sea life.

That lead to a dismal 2017 with an actual return of around 511,000 (1.1 million was forecasted) pinks, which was less than 82 percent the historical 10-year average.

While the pink forecast is conservative – this summer’s unexpected strong return of chinook and coho – we just might see a late fourth quarter comeback for humpies too. In fact, some early pinks began showing up in catches back in July so don’t give up on them just yet.
“There have been a lot of pinks caught (at Neah Bay and La Push) and many of them are nice size fish,” said Wendy Beeghley, the WDFW coastal salmon manager.

An unexpected large return of pinks were also showing up in other places like Sekiu, outside of the Freshwater Bay closure zone and in open areas off Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca as well as the San Juan Islands (which closed Aug. 1 for salmon fishing).
The Puget Sound pink run usually peaks in mid-August, and in southern Puget Sound the last week of August and early September are best.

Pinks aren’t the only game and so far, the coho and hatchery king fisheries have been a pleasant surprise from the coast clear into open areas of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The party lights began flashing for coho in June when places like central Puget Sound (Area 10) reopened for off-the-charts good action on resident coho. Then good king action began happening last month in the San Juan Islands (now closed to fishing in August), Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Tulalip bubble fishery and south-central Puget Sound.

It was the same scenario in the ocean when catches ramped up in late June from Neah Bay south to Ilwaco and have remained good this past month. Most of this is likely related to a strong forecast of 1,009,600 coho to the Columbia River compared to a 2018 forecast of 349,000.

Look for coho success in open areas of Puget Sound and Strait to only get better in August and build to a crescendo in September. In Puget Sound the total coho return for 2019 is 670,159, which is up from last year’s 557,149.

There will be a short inner-Elliott Bay king fishery from Aug. 2-5 and additional days may occur if in-season data shows the run to be stronger than expected. That won’t be the only crowning moment as areas from Whidbey Island south to Olympia have seen an uptick in catches of hatchery kings and should see good fishing this month in places that remain open.

WDFW extended the hatchery king salmon fishery in northern Puget Sound (Area 9), which is open through Saturday (Aug. 3). Central Puget Sound (Area 10) also remains open for hatchery kings as does south central Puget Sound (Area 11). Look for the latter two to produce some stellar fishing heading into this month.

Lastly, before heading out the door, check the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/ for any possible emergency closures this month and also what marine and freshwater areas are open or closed for salmon.

Yellow perch options bloom in the summer heat

There’s nothing better than getting a first-time angler or youth hooked on fishing and yellow perch is one of those prime options.

Lake Washington – which is 20 miles long and covers more than 22,000 acres – is one of those places that comes alive in August for yellow perch.


Their population levels in this large urban lake is very robust and they continue to have yearly strong recruitment and survival rates that won’t make the slightest dent on production.

Most yellow perch average 7 to 10 inches along with some “jumbos” hitting the 11- to 12-inch range.

WDFW experts say it is only a matter of time before the official state record could come from Lake Washington. The current state record of 2.75 pounds was caught by Larry Benthien at Snelson’s Slough in Skagit County on June 22, 1969.

The reason behind this possibility is due in part to the ample feed and room for yellow perch to grow in Lake Washington, which is the second largest natural-bodied lake in Washington. Female perch are the largest and tend to grow much faster (usually maturing in three to four years) and can live if 8 to 10 years.

The best time of the year to fish for yellow perch begins around July when the water heats up, and peaks from August through October.

Look for schools of yellow perch in shallow water, 15 to 35 feet, and close to the shoreline. They will school up in shaded locations just outside the cover of weed beds, milfoil, aquatic weeds and lily pads or under docks, piers and overhanging trees and brush.

Yellow perch are active throughout the day and the only time they seek out covered areas is at night when predators are lurking.

Popular locations to fish are Seward Park; Kenmore log boom and pier; Juanita Bay; Magnuson Park shoreline; Andrews Bay; Newport area and slough; Yarrow Bay; Gene Coulon Park in Renton; Mercer Island near Luther Burbank Park; and off Leschi Park, Madison Park, Stan Sayres Pits and Mount Baker Park. Areas from the Montlake Cut into Lake Union are also good especially off Gasworks Park.

A light-to-medium-action trout fishing rod with a spinning reel attached to 4- to 6-pound test line works best. Use a worm and drop-shot (egg-style) weight attached to a three-way swivel or Sniper Lure Snubs – a colorful tiny 3-inch plastic worm. Live maggots, a skirted crappie jig work well. After you catch your first perch cut a small chunk of the meat or even a perch eyeball as bait.

Other good perch lakes are Sammamish near Issaquah; Kapowsin southeast of Puyallup; Beaver and Pine near Issaquah; Sawyer northwest of Black Diamond; Harts southeast of Yelm; Goodwin northwest of Marysville; Stevens east of Everett; American near Fort Lewis; Angle in Sea-Tac; Desire in Renton; and Meridian in Kent.

Dungeness crab fishing opportunities providing fairly decent catches

The Dungeness crab fishing success has been somewhat better than expected although many are having to still throw back some soft-shelled crabs.

Areas east of Bonilla-Tatoosh Island boundary line (Marine Catch Area 4), Sekiu (5), Port Angeles (6), east side of Whidbey Island (8-1 and 8-2) and northern Puget Sound (9) are open through Sept. 2 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week).

Central Puget Sound (10) is open through this Saturday, Aug. 3. The shorter season is due to an overage in last year’s crab catch.

Hood Canal (12) north of a line projected due east of Ayock Point is open through Sept. 2 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week). Areas south of Ayock Point are closed this summer to help rebuild crab populations.

The San Juan Islands (7 South) is open through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week). San Juan Islands (7 North) opens Aug. 15 through Sept. 30 (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays of each week).

South-central Puget Sound (11) and southern Puget Sound (13) are closed this summer to help rebuild crab populations.

NW Salmon Derby Series loaded with events in August

The derby series kicked into high gear with the Lake Coeur d’Alene Big One Fishing Derby on July 24-28 seeing a good number of anglers turn out despite the  tough fishing. Top angler in the adult division was Bret Hojem with a 13.54-pound chinook; and top youth angler was Cooper Malcolm with a 9.82 chinook.


Prior to that the Puget Sound Anglers Bellingham Salmon Derby was held July 12-14. A total of 392 adult tickets and 72 youth tickets were sold with 164 chinook weighed-in for the event, which was 10 more fish caught than last year.

Tom Hartley of Anacortes took the top prize of $7,500 with a 21.90-pound hatchery chinook; second was Chris Wilson with a 21.60 worth $2,500; and third was Adam Beardsley with a 20.62 worth $1,000.

Other derbies on the horizon are the South King County PSA Salmon Derby, Aug. 3; Brewster Salmon Derby on Aug. 1-4; Gig Harbor PSA Salmon Derby, Aug. 10; Vancouver, B.C. Chinook Classic, Aug. 17-18; and Edmonds PSA Coho Derby, Sept. 7. The Columbia River Fall Salmon Derby on Aug. 31 has been cancelled due to expected low salmon returns.

Drawing for the grand prize boat takes place at the conclusion of the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 21-22. New at the Everett Coho Derby is a second weigh-in station located at the Edmonds Marina.

The grand prize $75,000 Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop boat from Renaissance Marine Group in Clarkston will be making the rounds to each derby. The boat is powered with a Yamaha 200hp and 9.9hp trolling motor on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer.

The boat is rigged with Burnewiin accessories; Scotty downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; a custom WhoDat Tower; and a Dual Electronics stereo. Other sponsors include Silver Horde Lures; Master Marine and Tom-n-Jerry’s; Harbor Marine; Salmon & Steelhead Journal; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News; Sportco and Outdoor Emporium; and Prism Graphics. It is trailered with a 2019 Chevrolet Silverado – not part of the grand prize giveaway – courtesy of Northwest Chevrolet and Burien Chevrolet.
In other related news, anglers can also start looking at 2020 with dates finalized for Resurrection Salmon Derby on Feb. 1-2; Friday Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 6-8; and Roche Harbor Salmon Classic on Feb. 13-15.

Details: http://www.nwsalmonderbyseries.com/.

Summer is sneaking by quickly so it’s time for me to jump on the boat and get into the fishing action. I’ll see you on the water!

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Heart Of Derby Season Arrives In The Northwest

Move over summer, it’s derby season in the Northwest!

With two big events last weekend and a bunch more in the coming days and weeks, now through late September represents a great time to get on the water to try and catch a cash-winning trophy, win fishing gear, not to mention maybe score a boat package worth a whopping $75,000.


Indeed, after a four-month break, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series has roared back into town with recent stops in Bellingham and Coeur d’Alene and it hits Brewster and Tacoma this coming weekend.

Holding the annual Brewster Salmon Derby was a close call again, with Washington managers only last week greenlighting Chinook fishing to begin Aug. 1 on part of the Brewster Pool, thanks to enough fish expected back to support an opener.

Organizers say that registration is open through midnight, Wednesday, July 31. The competition runs Aug. 2-4.

To learn more, go to brewstersalmonderby.com or call (509) 945-5823.

This Saturday, Aug. 2, is also the South King County Chapter Puget Sound Anglers Derby.  Now in its 18th year, it offers a $3,500 top prize and it usually takes a Chinook approaching or just over the 20-pound mark to win it.

While Marine Areas 10, 11 and 13 are all fair game, it can be hard to beat the waters just off derby headquarters, Point Defiance Marina. Last year saw spoons dominate over hoochies.

For more, see pugetsoundanglers.net.


The marina is also home to the 24th Annual Gig Harbor Chapter Puget Sound Anglers Derby the following Saturday, Aug. 10, which features a $2,500 grand prize and raffle for a Lowrance fishfinder.

Open waters are Areas 11 and 13. Last year’s winner was a 15.63-pound king.

For more, see gigharborpsa.org.

The Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association’s 20th Annual Buoy 10 Salmon Challenge, with a top prize of $1,000 for largest fish, is Friday, Aug. 16, and includes a day’s worth of angling for Chinook and coho as the meat of this year’s million-plus salmon run comes across the bar.

There’s a captain’s meeting the evening before, and after the fishing comes a barbecue, silent auction, raffle and more at derby headquarters, the Clatsop County Fairgrounds, a short 5 miles from the East Mooring Basin ramp.

“No one leaves empty-handed from an NSIA derby,” organizers boast. “Stick around for the fantastic door prize giveaway at the end of the evening!”

For more, see nsiafishing.org.

The next day, Aug. 17, is the 2nd Annual Lipstick Salmon Slayers Tournament, the motto for which is “Leave the boys behind, this one’s for the ladies.”

Last year’s inaugural edition was won by Kelsey Van Dyke, who scored $4,000, which is the top prize again this year.

For more, see lipsticksalmonslayer.com.

This past weekend saw the 2019 Oregon Tuna Classic kick off in Ilwaco with the Deep Canyon Challenge, won by Team Meanwhile Charters, and the series now in its 15th year, culminates in Aug. 23-24 down the coast a ways in Garibaldi.

It raises money for and donates caught tuna to food banks, with both avenues having helped deliver more than 1 million pounds to the needy since 2005.

“The tournaments also bring much needed economic benefit to the communities visited by the armada of fishermen, volunteers and spectators,” OTC organizers add on their website. “Local businesses in Ilwaco and Garibaldi continue to see the benefits while also donating their time and services to the events. Garibaldi City Manager John O’Leary speculates the Oregon Tuna Classic might rival the annual Garibaldi Days in generating business.”

For more, see oregontunaclassic.org.

As active as August is, September’s no slouch either, as two Oregon Labor Day weekend shindigs wrap up and a pair of big silver derbies take place.

After a two-year hiatus, the Slam’n Salmon Derby returns to Brookings for the long holiday weekend at the end of summer. It features a grand prize of up to $5,000 for the largest king caught on the ocean during the three-day event.

Check out wcadventure.com for details.

Also held that weekend on Oregon’s South Coast, the 26th Annual Fall Salmon Derby out of Winchester Bay on the lower Umpqua River. It’s sponsored by the Gardiner-Reedsport-Winchester Bay Salmon Trout Enhancement Program.

Contact Rick Rockholt at (541) 613-0589 or umpqua.rock@charter.net.

And hard on their heels comes the Puget Sound Anglers Sno-King Chapter Edmonds Coho Derby, while its cousin just to the north, the Everett Coho Derby and its Northwest Salmon Derby Series boat giveaway, falls on the third weekend in September.

This year’s grand raffle prize is a Weldcraft 202 Rebel Hardtop with Yamaha 200- and 9.9-horse motors, EZ-loader galvanized trailer and more, a package worth $75,000. Entering any derby series event automatically puts your name in the running for the boat.

For more info on both events, see edmondscohoderby.com and everettcohoderby.com.

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‘That Ticket Was Totally Worth It’: Salmon Derby Series Raffle Boat Winner


Joshua Stokes of Post Falls, Idaho, was at home watching TV with his father Roy Stokes on Sept. 23 when his cell phone rang.


“I saw the 206 Seattle area code number, and hit ignore since I had no idea why someone from there would be calling me,” Joshua said with a chuckle. “Then I listened to the voicemail message. I told my dad wouldn’t it be “rad” if I won the boat. He was like yeah right and jokingly said I probably won a hat or t-shirt and they want your address.”

Little did the Post Falls native realize, but the call was coming from Mark Yuasa the director of the Northwest Salmon Derby Series. Mark had some great news: Joshua’s name had been randomly drawn at the Everett Coho Derby from almost 7,000 anglers following the conclusion of the 2018 Northwest Salmon Derby Series.

Yuasa left a voicemail although he didn’t tell the younger Stokes that he’d won a grand prize, fully-equipped aluminum boat valued at around $65,000.

Yuasa went back to cleaning up at Everett Coho Derby that drew more than 1,700 anglers when his cell phone rang about five minutes later.

“(Yuasa) told me I won the boat and I was super spaced out and fully didn’t realize what happened to me,” Joshua said. “It still doesn’t feel real and I’ll know for sure once I get the keys to boat.”

Joshua’s name was entered into the derby series drawing after fishing in The Big One Salmon Derby on Lake Coeur d’Alene in northern Idaho on July 25-29.

“This was the first year I bought a ticket to the Big One Derby since I was 15 years old, and that ticket was totally worth it now,” he said. “I’d been fishing with my dad since I was three years old, and caught my first fish a 28 pound chinook at Lake Coeur d’Alene soon after. I got so scared and wouldn’t go near the huge fish. In 1996, I caught a 22 pounder in the derby and took 17th place.”

Both have been longtime members of the Lake Coeur d’Alene Anglers Association and Joshua’s dad was the past president of the club.

The boat is the 15th grand prize boat, motor, and trailer package that has been given away since the Series was created in 2004. This year’s Kingfisher 2025 Series boat is powered by a 150-horsepower Honda and a 9.9-horsepower Honda trolling motor, on an EZ Loader tandem axle trailer. The boat came fully-equipped with Raymarine electronics, Scotty Downriggers, a WhoDat Tower, and a Dual Electronics stereo.

“How thrilling this was for me to hear the excitement in his voice and all the plans he has in store to take the boat out fishing,” said Yuasa. “This boat and motor package is top-of-the-line and will provide Joshua and his dad with more fishing memories to come. He said he can’t wait to take the boat out soon.”

The Northwest Salmon Derby Series is a fishing promotion program directed by the NMTA that encourages boating and fishing in the Northwest. In 2018, the Series included 14 derbies in Washington, Idaho and British Columbia, Canada. For each derby an angler competes in, they get one entry into the drawing for the grand prize boat held at the final derby in the Series.

For more information, visit NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

October’s Not Just For Hunting: Lots Of Salmon Fishing, Clamming Ops — Yuasa

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

Anglers who live in the Pacific Northwest have plenty of year-round fishing opportunities to rave about.

As an outdoor journalist this means my word count on stories never dwindles month-to-month and I’m constantly heading to the pencil sharpener to make sure the end of the No. 2 has enough lead to jot down my “slimy” scribbles on a notepad.


Now let’s keep this writing streak going as there’s still a “boatload” of time to hit your favorite fishing holes before the winter holidays roll around.

Fundamentally it’s all about decisions, decisions on where to go and what you want to catch!

On top of the autumn decision list is salmon in local marine waterways like central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 10) open through Nov. 15 for coho or chum or south-central Puget Sound (11) open through April 30 for a salmon trio of coho, chum and hatchery-marked chinook.

Last month an unexpected nice coho return streamed into Puget Sound creating a fishing frenzy and keep in mind the caboose on this “silver streak” is still sitting somewhere out in the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

This past winter, WDFW biologists predicted a coho return of 557,149 (249,174 wild and 307,975 hatchery), and the actual run size could be larger than what appeared in the crystal ball.
Add to the fishing equation in the coming weeks a hard-fighting fall chum – better known as dog salmon for their gnarly, toothy jaw line at spawning time – with an expected Puget Sound return of 1,216,031.

We rolled out the red carpet for the Puget Sound hatchery kings this past summer, and there’s no doubt the good times will keep on rolling for our next salmon royalty well into next month and beyond.

Look for coho and chum in Area 10 at Jefferson Head, West Point south of Shilshole Bay, Point Monroe, Allen Bank off Blake Island and Southworth.

Further south in Area 11 anglers can score a hat trick (a coho, chum and hatchery chinook) by hitting Colvos Passage, Point Dalco, the Clay Banks off Point Defiance Park, Redondo Beach and Three Tree Point.

As the days get shorter heading into winter be sure to watch the chum catch rates soar at estuaries off Kennedy Creek in Totten Inlet, Johns Creek in Oakland Bay, Hoodsport Hatchery in Hood Canal, Chico Creek in Dyes Inlet and Curly Creek near Southworth.

Other chum fishing holes are North Bay near Allyn, Perry Creek in Eld Inlet, Whatcom Creek in Bellingham, McLane Creek, Eagle Creek south of Potlatch State Park, and the public-access shores off Highway 101 from Eldon to Hoodsport.

Your other marine salmon options are Hood Canal (13) open now through April 30 and southern Puget Sound (13) open year-round.

Anglers will also begin targeting migrating salmon in local rivers like the Skagit and Snohomish river systems – closed in 2016 and 2017 for coho – as well as the Chehalis, Clearwater, Bogachiel, Calawah, Green, Humptulips, Hoh, Queets, Quinault, Sol Duc and Wynoochee. Anglers should consult the WDFW regulation pamphlet or app for what is open and what types of salmon species you can target in each river.

Winter Dungeness crab outlook

If you like to fish for winter Dungeness crab as much as I do, then pay close attention to a forthcoming announcement from WDFW in the weeks ahead about a possible winter crab fishing season.

“Hopefully we’ll have a preliminary estimate soon so we can make decisions on a winter crab season,” said Don Velasquez, a WDFW Puget Sound shellfish manager.

Fishing areas with crab remaining on their annual allocation, will re-open, seven days a week through the end of this year. However, if the entire annual sport catch quota was taken or if it was closed this past summer, then it’s game over this winter.

“Some said crabbing was fine and others were asking what’s wrong,” Velasquez said. “We had a mixed bag of reports from Area 7 (San Juan Islands) and 8-1 and 8-2 (east side of Whidbey Island) had an average year.”

Velasquez said sport anglers who got out during the July opener in Area 9 (northern Puget Sound) benefitted with good catches as the tribal fisheries didn’t get out until a couple weeks later. Preseason test fisheries conducted by WDFW in Area 10 (central Puget Sound) showed a low abundance of crab thus leading to poor success this past summer.

For more information, go to https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/.

Tentative dates set for first-half of coastal razor clam season

The tentative coastal razor clam digging dates have been set and Long Beach will see a very brief 2018-19 season although WDFW shellfish managers are hopeful it is just be a gap year.
WDFW attribute this decline of razor clams to low salinity levels from Columbia River freshwater run-off along the southern-most beaches.

There is no shortage of razor clams at Long Beach with about 330,000 clams available for harvest in 2018-19, but 80 percent of them are less than 2-inches long.

On the other-hand coastal beaches to the north look robust for the upcoming fall and winter digs.

Twin Harbors is in good shape, and Copalis and Mocrocks beaches razor clam populations are up over last year.

WDFW is working with Olympic National Park staff to assess possible digging dates on Kalaloch Beach.

Upcoming digs are reliant on testing for marine toxins known as domoic acid — a natural marine toxin produced by certain types of marine algae that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities.

Domoic acid levels remained well under the 20 parts-per-million cutoff ranging from 0.0 to 2.0.

Here are the proposed evening low tide digging dates, and final approval will be announced about one or two weeks before each series of digs:

Oct. 11, 13, 26 and 28 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Oct. 12, 25 and 27 at Twin Harbors and Copalis.

Nov. 8, 10, 23 and 25 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; Nov. 9, 11 and 22 at Twin Harbors and Copalis; and Nov. 24 at Twin Harbors, Copalis and Mocrocks.

Dec. 6, 8, 21 and 23 at Twin Harbors and Copalis; Dec. 7, 9 and 20 at Twin Harbors and Mocrocks; and Dec. 22 at Long Beach, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks.

For details, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclam.

NW Salmon Derby Series ends on high note and a look ahead to 2019

It has been an extremely busy 2018 season with the NW Chevy Dealer Silverado truck and fully-loaded KingFisher boat traveling across the Pacific Northwest!

In all we had 14 derbies including our newest – the Brewster Salmon Derby Aug. 2-5 on the Columbia River – and returnees after a two-year hiatus were the Edmonds PSA Coho Derby and the Everett Coho Derby with each drawing thousands of anglers.


We had a total of 6,585 anglers entered into the derby series, and the winner of the fully-loaded, grand-prize KingFisher 2025 Series boat powered with Honda motor on an EZ Loader Trailer.

Winner of the Everett Coho Derby – which lured 1,694 adult and 201 youth participants with 548 coho averaging 7.04 pounds on Oct. 22-23. Winner was Michael Rien with a 13.27-pound coho worth $10,000! Also congratulations to the youth winner Baron Kuehlwein with a 10.79-pound coho worth $300!

For the second year in a row the winner of the grand prize derby boat hails from the Big One Salmon Derby in Lake Coeur d’Alene, Idaho! Joshua Stokes who is an avid angler from Post Falls, Idaho, has fished the Big One Salmon Derby for as long as he can remember.

A huge “thank you” goes out to all our sponsors that also include Scotty Downriggers; Raymarine Electronics; WhoDat Tower; Dual Electronic Stereo; Tom-n-Jerry’s Marine; NW Sportsman Magazine; The Reel News PSA; Outdoor Emporium/Sportco; Harbor Marine; Silver Horde; Prism Graphics; and Salmon, Steelhead Journal.
We’ve got a lot of exciting news on the plate for the 2019 derby series and we’ll be making announcements very soon so stay tuned!

For details, go to www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.
In the meantime, the days may be getting shorter as we head into fall and winter, but there’s nothing like a feisty coho or chum salmon tugging on the end of the fishing line.

I’ll see you on the water!

13.27-pounder Wins Everett Coho Derby

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with more details on Michael Rian’s derby-winning catch.

A 13.27-pounder held on to win last weekend’s Everett Coho Derby, the first held in three Septembers due to fishery closures because of low forecasted returns.

And while the weather and salmon could have been more cooperative, organizers were still pleased to once again put on what is billed as the West Coast’s largest fishing derby.

“We got back to offering a coho derby, sold almost 1,700 tickets, weighed over 500 coho, and had a great event!” said organizer Mark Spada of the Snohomish Sportsmen’s Club, which along with the Everett Steelhead & Salmon Club puts it on.

It also marked a return to awarding the Northwest Salmon Derby Series grand-prize raffle boat in September, with Joshua Stokes of Post Falls, Idaho, scoring the fully loaded King Fisher 2025 Falcon package valued at $65,000.


MICHAEL RIAN OF North Bend was the lucky angler, catching his $10,000-derby-winning fish on Saturday morning, the bumpier but better of the two-day event.

A longtime fisherman who bought his first boat at 11 with money from lawn-mowing jobs, Rian said the North Sound is his home waters and that he has fished the Everett derby off and on over its 25 years.

For the 2018 edition, he and a fishing partner focused their efforts in the fishy southeastern corner of Marine Area 8-2, trolling from the Shipwreck north to Mukilteo. While their baits were down 50 to 90 feet, all the coho they hooked were at one precise depth, 66 feet.

“Our group of friends who fish each year in Canada has caught a very high number of coho at that exact depth, and have tried to disprove the theory, and we keep losing!” Rian noted.

On the business end was an orange-label herring in a Rhys Davis anchovy helmet in gold, green and chrome and tandem 2/O and 3/O barbless hooks on a 6-foot, 30-pound fluorocarbon leader behind 11-inch flashers in black moon jelly and gold green.

“With rain/heavy cloud cover, we chose dark-colored flashers and gear that would have better visibility given the low light conditions,” Rian said.

With the outgoing tide and strong southwesterly winds and wind waves, the crew decided to fish south to north.

“Everyone knows this about me, but I’m an o-dark thirty fisherman. You CAN’T leave early enough for me! We had gear in the water at 6:15 a.m.; the winning fish was netted at 06:44, and others followed shortly after,” said Rian, which only reinforced his theory that a solid percentage of salmon are caught at first light.

“We knew we had a good fish once it was hooked, but boating it proved challenging given the weather,” he recalled. “We were all business and focused, given the weather and the steady action in a short window of time. I did not realize the full size of the fish until we looked at it in the fish box a bit later. I have to say, both of our guesses were low! It was deceptively heavy.”

The plan for the weekend was to fish Saturday, then hit the Seahawks home opener against the Cowboys, but as Rian watched the online leaderboard that evening he decided to try and upgrade on Sunday. Fishing was a wash, in more ways than one, and Rian and his buddy came in to derby headquarters after hooking only one small silver.

“We waited – me nervously! – at the derby for the Sunday weigh-in cutoff to come, and really didn’t know I won until my name was announced. I’m still getting my head around it for sure, and it’s been an amazing experience,” he said.

When presented with an oversized check, Rian told MC John Martinis that he planned to use some of his winnings to buy new downriggers, music to the ears of Martinis, who runs an Everett tackle shop.

OTHER TOP FIVE finishers included Glen Velasquez of Everett, second,12.93 pounds, $5,000; Trevor Judson of Monroe, third, 12.81 pounds, $2,500; Roy White of Everett, fourth, 12.38 pounds, $1,000; and Brak Kelly of Redmond, fifth, 12.3 pounds, $500.

Of note, the top 16 fish were all bigger than 2015’s winning coho, an 11.31-pounder, while nine were larger than 2014’s, an 11.96.

The average size of the fish was also up, 7.04 pounds versus the anemic 4.54 pounds of three years ago. That season’s silvers were at sea during the height of The Blob and associated poor ocean conditions.

“The size (of this year’s coho) is consistent with major food sources becoming more plentiful,” noted North Sound state fisheries biologist Brett Barkdull. “Northern copepods were more plentiful, for instance.”

There have been good numbers of coho in Puget Sound and headed up the rivers, but the overall derby catch was just 548.

“The river fishing had been great all week, but on the weekend was very tough, for whatever reason,” Spada added. “I think this just proves what a lot of us already knew: Coho are a difficult fish to predict behavior. Weather changes seem to affect them more than any other fish. There were some very good fisherman who struggled, to say the least.”

This year’s derby had 1,694 adult and 201 youth participants.

In the kids division, it was literally neck and neck for first and second place.

Baron Kuehlwein and Alex Hotchkiss both came in with 10.79-pounders, but because Kuehlwein’s went on the scales two minutes before Hotchkiss’s he won $300 while Alex settled for second and $200.


Madison Vanzandt came in third with a 9.11, good for $100.

So many more prizes were also given out — largest fish caught on Silver Horde, Dick Nite and Gibbs-Delta gear; best father-son and mother-daughter catches; youngest and oldest anglers to weigh fish; biggest landed by active duty military; fishermen from the furthest away; and more.


Proceeds from the derby benefit local fishery enhancement projects, including the rearing and release of salmon, nutrient enrichment and triploid trout stocking, as well as youths.

September Central Sound Coho Derbies Return, And So Do The Fish!

For the first time in three years, a pair of popular central Puget Sound salmon derbies will be held on their home waters.

Both the Edmonds and Everett Coho Derbies return after saltwater closures led to the scrapping or altering of the 2016 and 2017 editions and 2015’s were marked by unusually small fish, likely due to The Blob.


Even better, Puget Sound is seeing some pretty dang good silver fishing lately, with boats coming back to King and Snohomish County docks with better than a fish a rod.

First up is the Edmonds Coho Derby this Saturday, Sept. 8. Put on by the Sno-King Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers, it is set for 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features a top prize of $5,000.

Tickets are $30 per angler and can be purchased at area tackle stores such as Outdoor Emporium, Ted’s Sports Center, Three Rivers Marine and elsewhere, as well as online.

For more details, go to edmondscohoderby.com.

Then comes the big one, the Sept. 22-23 Everett Coho Derby, and this year marks its 25th anniversary.

Indeed, the derby was born in similar times back in 1993, when low runs limited that year’s fishing to just the Snohomish River and the waters off its mouth. A local sporting goods store manager approached the Everett Steelhead and Salmon and Snohomish Sportsmen’s Clubs to put on a derby, and history was born.

Earlier this summer, organizer Rich Braun said that past years’ sponsors were really stepping up in 2018.

In addition to $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000 and $500 cash prizes for the top five coho, there’s a team competition, plus prizes for the largest caught on certain products; from two different river systems; by father-daughter, father-son, husband-wife and all-female teams; from shore and kayak; by an active military member. The list literally goes on and on, and includes a truck valued at $45,000 for whomever catches the mystery weight fish.


Open waters include Marine Areas 8-1, 8-2, 9 and 10 and open rivers and lakes in King, Skagit, and Snohomish Counties, but if the last three derbies are any indication, the winning fish will be caught somewhere off the southern end of Whidbey Island.

Those bit a purple haze squid/Ace Hi Fly combo behind a jelly crush flasher (11.31 pounds); purple haze flasher and hoochie combo (11.96 pounds); and a purple haze hoochie and Ace High Fly combo behind a purple flasher.

Sponsors include Silver Horde, Dick Nite, Scotty, Roy Robinson Chevrolet, Boat Insurance Agency and Everett Bayside Marine, among others.

For more info, see everettcohoderby.com.

And in another return to tradition, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series organizers will raffle off their grand prize boat – a fully loaded King Fisher 2025 Falcon package valued at $65,000 – at the Everett Coho Derby. Entering it or the Edmonds event automatically puts your name in the hat for a chance to win it.

For more, see nwsalmonderbyseries.com.

Yuasa: Silvers Are Gold In September

Editor’s note: The following is Mark Yuasa’s monthly fishing newsletter, Get Hooked on Reel Times With Mark, and is run with permission.

By Mark Yuasa, Director of Grow Boating Programs, Northwest Marine Trade Association

I wish there was a way to slow down how quickly summer comes and goes, especially with the memorable king salmon fishing we got to experience in some parts of Puget Sound.

And while we’re still relishing the “good old days” of the past few months, I can’t help but get geared up for silver being the gold medal winner in September and beyond!


Coho salmon – often referred to as “silvers” for their distinct brightly metal-colored body – appear to have crossed the bridge of dire straits from the warm “blob” that plagued the North Pacific Ocean, and the drought-like conditions and warm water temperatures in river spawning grounds that led to a huge decline in salmon survival in late 2013 to 2015.

Puget Sound anglers who haven’t seen a viable early-fall silver salmon fishery since 2014 will be giddy to know that we’ve turned the corner and opportunities should be decent from the Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into southern Puget Sound.

WDFW biologists are predicting a coho return of 557,149 (249,174 wild and 307,975 hatchery) this season, which is down slightly from 595,074 (294,360 and 300,713) in 2017, but well above 2016 when coho runs tanked faster than the financial crisis in 2008.

Forecasts for the five Puget Sound wild coho stocks in 2018 that make or break our sport salmon seasons – Strait, Skagit, Stillaguamish, Snohomish and Hood Canal – are all up big time from years past.

The Skagit wild coho return forecast of 59,196 is up a whopping 350 percent over 2017’s return of 13,235 and up 564 percent of 8,912 in 2016. The Stillaguamish forecast of 18,950 is up 149 percent from 2017’s return of 7,622 and up 584 percent of 2,770 in 2016. The Snohomish will also see a big bounce back with 65,925 up 294 percent from a return of 16,740 in 2016.

When the salmon seasons were signed, sealed and delivered last April, the sport coho fisheries set by WDFW increased dramatically. In all, 30 weeks of total fishing opportunity was closed the past two years to address conservation issues of wild Puget Sound coho stocks and will reopen based on the stronger 2018 forecasts.

Some early indicators leading to this “happy face emoji” was the great June resident silver fishery in central Puget Sound (Area 10) that carried on well into August, and some early migratory coho began to show up in catches during the late-summer hatchery chinook fishery. In the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Sekiu was also seeing some decent early hatchery coho action in late August.

Hatchery coho are fair game Sept. 1-30 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu to Port Angeles (Areas 5 and 6). It is a given at this time the “no vacancy” sign will be flashing at resorts in the Strait and marinas will be filled to the brim with boats as hordes of anglers pursue feisty, big ocean-run coho.

In the San Juan Islands (Area 7) anglers can keep all coho through Sept. 30. The northern section of Whidbey Island’s east side (Area 8-1) is open through Sept. 30 for all coho, and the popular southern portion (Area 8-2) – Ports Susan and Gardner – are open until Sept. 23. Popular fishing spots will be from the south part of Camano Island clear down to the Shipwreck and Possession Bait House areas.

Shore-bound anglers can also get in on the action at the Bait House where coho were present when it opened last month. Other “go to” locations from shore are west side of Whidbey Island at Bush and Lagoon points, Fort Casey, Point No Point, Marrowstone Island, Point Wilson near Port Townsend, and various piers, docks and shorelines from Edmonds to Seattle and as far south as Tacoma.
The two marine areas that will be glittering with silvers are northern (Area 9) and central (Area 10) Puget Sound. Hatchery coho salmon fishing will be open in Area 9 through Sept. 30, and in Area 10 anglers can keep all coho through Nov. 15.

South-central (Area 11) and southern (Area 13) Puget Sound and Hood Canal (Area 12) are all open for coho through Sept. 30, and then each location remains open beyond that date for salmon fishing. Anglers should consult the regulation pamphlet for what salmon species you can target in each area.

Marine locations like Sekiu in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca were good coming into the end of last month as was popular coho places like east side of Whidbey Island from Mukilteo south to Shipwreck; Possession Bar; west side of Whidbey Island from Bush Point to Fort Casey; Jefferson Head; Edmonds oil dock; and Meadow Point south to West Point near Shilshole Bay.

Lastly, anglers will also have a chance to fish certain sections of the Skagit and Snohomish river systems – closed in 2016 and 2017 – for coho salmon in September.

2018-19 coastal razor clam outlook is a mixed bag

This coming fall, winter and spring will see some highlights and lowlights for coastal razor clams depending on what beaches you choose to dig.

WDFW have finished summer razor clam population assessments and places like Copalis, Mocrocks and Twin Harbors while Long Beach looks somewhat dismal and Kalaloch is still in a rebuilding stage.


Expect this to be a gap year for Long Beach where a loss of juvenile razor clams and poor digging success in 2017-18 will lead to another season of struggles where abundance levels are the lowest seen in the past 25 years.

One theory in the population decline is poor salinity levels on a good portion of Long Beach and freshwater run-off from the Columbia River aren’t favorable for young clams to thrive in.

Preliminary postseason estimates coast-wide from 2017-18 for 27 digging days showed 257,004 digger trips produced 2,731,461 razor clams for 10.6 clam per person average – the first 15 clams is a daily limit regardless of size or condition.

The good news is a marine toxin known as domoic acid – a natural toxin produced by certain types of marine algae that can be harmful or even fatal if consumed in sufficient quantities – is very low.

The latest testing showed levels between 1 to 2 parts-per-million and the action level is 20 parts-per-million.

Fall and winter razor clam digs occur during evening low tides while spring-time digs occur during morning low tides.

Dates haven’t been determined by WDFW although looking at the calendar it appears the best low tides start date will occur on Oct. 26-29 and Nov. 8-10. Exactly how much digging time hinges on discussions between WDFW and tribal fishery co-managers.
State Fish and Wildlife plans to have the public comment review period should ready by the middle of September. For details, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

NW Salmon Derby Series culminates this month with boat raffle

It has been a very busy summer with the NW Chevy Dealer truck and KingFisher boat traveling across the Pacific Northwest!

Angler turnout and fishing success has been delightful in July and August at the Bellingham PSA Salmon Derby; Big One Salmon Derby at Lake Coeur d’Alene in Idaho; Brewster Salmon Derby; South King County PSA Derby; Gig Harbor PSA Derby; and Vancouver, B.C. Canada Chinook Classic.


Now it’s time to rev up the trolling motors for the PSA Edmonds Coho Derby on Sept. 8, and the biggest derby on West Coast – the Everett Coho Derby on Sept. 22-23.

We’ll be drawing the lucky name at Everett on Sept. 23 to win a grand-prize $65,000 KingFisher 2025 Falcon Series boat powered with Honda 150hp and 9.9hp motors on an EZ-loader galvanized trailer. It is fully rigged with Scotty downriggers, Raymarine electronics, a WhoDat Tower and a Dual Electronic Stereo. Details: www.NorthwestSalmonDerbySeries.com.

I’m just as stoked about the weeks ahead filling the cooler with silvers like I was back in June for kings in Area 11 off Tacoma. I’ll see you on the water with a few cut-plug herring spinning fast off the stern of my boat!