Tag Archives: kevin klein

Try Mimicking Dinner Time At Netpens For Atlantics


Who needs pink salmon when there are gobs of hungry Atlantics swimming around out there?!

Kevin Klein, a San Juan Islands salmon angler, reports a friend got into a whole pile of the net-pen escapees yesterday.


“The Atlantic Salmon that escaped form a net pen in the San Juan Islands are now spread across the area. Reports have come in of Atlantics caught as far South as Bush Point on Whidbey Island. Folks are out there catching them, and forty in a day is not uncommon. There is no limit, but current WDFW rules for other species must be followed while targeting them,” he reports.

Note that boat fishing is closed in Marine Area 9, Admiralty Inlet, due to low Coho returns to the Skagit and Stillaguamish Rivers, but the shorelines of Whidbey Island and the Kitsap Peninsula are open for bank fishing through September 4th.

“Once you find them on the troll, try casting spinners or Buzz Bombs to them while throwing pea gravel near the boat. Seriously, it mimics feeding time at net pens. These invasive fish need to be caught before they can spread disease, eat native smolts, or mix with natural Pacific stocks,” Klein reports.
The following is information from WDFW:

I do not have any more information on the details behind the escaped Atlantic Salmon.  However we do have quite a few folks heading north interested in catching these fish.  The common question is where and how.


Where is again primarily around the release site but don’t be surprised to see them spreading out (i.e., Bellingham Bay).


The how is still a bit of an unknown but from the most recent report I have is a few folks have had great success casting spinners.  Being these are pen raised fish, they are likely not strong swimmers and will orient themselves to the top of the water column looking for the easy meal.  Casting spinners into jumping/congregated fish near the surface has already worked for some anglers (and will avoid Chinook and coho).  I have also heard that flies often used for sea-run cutthroat trout has been known to work in the past for those who flyfish.  Our test fisher was out recently and saw plenty of fish near the site within Secret Bay.  Trolling does not appear to work.  However casting chrome-colored buzz bombs, rotators, and spinners had some success in shallow water (less than 3 feet and tight to shore).  Fish were seen finning and jumping near the shore and seem to be particularly attracted to eel grass beds.


Regulations are (again) for fishing in the saltwater:

  1. License plus salmon catch record card
  2. Open only where salmon is open
  3. Must stop fishing once the appropriate salmon daily limit is reached (Chinook, coho, pink)
  4. No limit on Atlantic Salmon or size limit
  5. Be prepared to be sampled at the boat ramp per our baseline creel sampling staff – and if you have tips on how to catch them, please share that information with staff

Break Out The Hatchery Pellet Spoon? Tips For Possibly Catching Atlantic Escapees

By Kevin Klein, Puget Sound Anglers

With the unintentional release of thousands of netopening of fishing for them with no limits by Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife…I know you’ve got one question. How do I catch them?

After talking to a couple folks who were around when this happened last in Puget Sound, I’ve come up with some saltwater tips and tactics.

For trolling in the Saltwater look for jumpers. These fish travel in huge schools. When you find them either by sight or bite, stay on them. Circle or figure eight through the school. Try depths from 20-80 feet and troll slow. They are net pen lazy and stupid.

For terminal tackle, try Silver Horde Mini Ace Hi Flies in purple or red 36″ behind a dodger. Silver Horde 2″ Kingfisher Spoons in Cookies and Cream should also work with a longer leader. We’re trying to match their feed, which is hatchery pellets. Silver Horde Salmon Scenter hatchery pellet bags clipped to your downrigger balls would also be an excellent idea.

As funny as it sounds, try throwing some gravel in the water. This will mimic the sound of  pellet feeding time at the pens. Also casting anything shiny to them once you find the fish may work.

These fish are around 10 lbs so our regular salmon rods and reels should should do the trick. It will be interesting to see how they fight.

Lets get out there and try to get these fish out of the water. Who knows what repercussions this release may have. It may be crucial to catch them before they hit the rivers.

When fishing for Atlantic Salmon make sure you do your research and inspect any fish well before you keep it. Proper identification will ensure you don’t keep a non legal species. The biggest give away that a fish in an Atlantic Salmon is the large black spots on it’s gill covers. This distinguishes it from all Pacific species. An Atlantic will also have black X shaped spots above the lateral line, a slender base of the tail and may or may not have spots on the tail. Study some good identification pictures and description before you go.


State salmon managers are encouraging anglers to fish for thousands of Atlantic salmon that escaped recently from a salmon farm near the San Juan Islands.

Cooke Aquaculture notified the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) of a net pen failure on Aug. 19 that caused the release of Atlantic salmon from the Cypress Island location. About 305,000 salmon were in the net pen at the time, though the company initially estimated that only 4,000-5,000 fish have escaped. Cypress Island lies along Rosario Strait between Guemes and Blakely islands

“Our first concern, of course, is to protect native fish species,” said Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s Fish Program. “So we’d like to see as many of these escaped fish caught as possible.”

Warren said there is no evidence that these fish pose a threat to native fish populations, either through disease or crossbreeding with Pacific salmon. To date, there is no record of Atlantic salmon successfully reproducing with Pacific salmon in Washington’s waters, he said.

“It will be some time before we know how many fish escaped the net pens,” Warren said. “That’s why we’ve authorized Cooke Aquaculture to fish with beach seine nets and we’re encouraging anglers to go out and harvest these fish.”

The escaped fish are estimated to be eight to 10 pounds in size and are safe to eat.

There is no size or catch limit on Atlantic salmon. However, anglers may only fish for Atlantic salmon in marine waters that are already open to fishing for Pacific salmon or freshwater areas open for trout fishing. Anglers also must stop fishing for Atlantic salmon once they’ve caught their daily limit of Pacific salmon.

To help anglers identify Atlantic salmon, WDFW has posted a salmon identification guide on its webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/atlantic.html

Anglers must have a current fishing license and must also observe gear regulations identified in the 2017-18 sport fishing rules pamphlet. Anglers do not have to report Atlantic salmon on their catch record cards.

WDFW shares management authority with the state Department of Agriculture for monitoring fish diseases. Other state departments, local governments and tribal governments have authority related to the siting of marine aquaculture and water quality.

San Juan Islands Fishing Report (7-3-17)


Salmon fishing in the San Juan Islands has been slow to good, depending on your location. Chinook are not everywhere in Marine Area 7, but if you land on them you should be able to put a couple in the box.

We’ve had the best luck in July using Silver Horde 3″ spoons, tied to 48″ of leader behind an 11″ flasher. The limit on Chinook is two hatchery clipped fish.

Sockeye can also be included in your two fish limit, plus two additional. Four Sockeye would be a good haul, but they’re hard to catch on sport tackle in the salt. They are schooling fish and krill eaters, so putting a lot of flash in the water and using small offerings can work.



George Harris landed this 26 lb hatchery marked King on the July 1st opener. Great way to start the Summer season in the San Juan Islands!