Salmon fishing action began its transition to Puget Sound rivers with today’s opening of the Puyallup.
Dylan Chlipala was among the anglers on the Pierce County river this morning, limiting by 7 a.m.
“Lots of pinks in the river already,” he told Northwest Sportsman‘s Jason Brooks, adding that he’d caught and released around 10 while beaching a hatchery Chinook and wild coho.
Use drift bobbers and enough weight to hold bottom in the silty currents of the glacial river.
“Drift fish bright, size 12 Corkies (red rocket red) with cerise or chartreuse yarn on a size 1 or 2 Gamakatsu octopus hook, soaked with Pro-Cure Bloody Tuna Super Gel, on a 12-pound Izorline XXX clear leader that is 36 to 48 inches long, with a 1/2- to 3/4-ounce cannonball or six-shot slinky, with 15-pound hi-viz yellow Izorline platinum mainline,” Brooks recommends.
The Puyallup is open from the 11th Street Bridge near the mouth upstream to the Carbon, with a daily bag of two adult salmon, release wild kings and chums.
This year’s forecast calls for just over 102,000 harvestable salmon to return to the river, though of course some of those are needed for broodstock and spawning escapement goals.
Night closure, anti-snagging and barbless hook rules are in effect.
Also note that the Puyallup is closed on Sundays through the end of August, then Sundays-Tuesdays in September and October to make room for tribal netting.
“Popular areas on the Puyallup include the K-Mart Hole, which as you might guess is across from the old discount store, now a farm supply store and a Planet Fitness. Access it from the North Levy Road, as you cannot cross the river from the parking lot. Try the banks along the shore near the ‘blue building,’ a large glass building on East Main Street, or under the 5th Street bridge,” Brooks reported for a 2017 issue of the magazine.
This isn’t to say that fishing on Puget Sound is over and you should winterize your boat already.
It’s not — it’s peak pink season throughout the inland sea, clipped Chinook are still biting in Areas 5, 6, 10, 11 and 13, and ocean-returning coho should be moving in soon in better numbers. Track the action through WDFW’s daily creel reports.
But the opening of the Puyallup today, Quilcene tomorrow, Duwamish next week, Nooksack, Skagit and Snohomish on Sept. 1 and Stillaguamish in mid-September add to the options.