No salmon in Puget Sound? Fish Lake Wenatchee. This is the year that all sport fishing anglers in the Pacific Northwest need to change their schedules. For years you could catch silvers, kings, and pinks everyday off popular fishing spots in Puget Sound like Dolphin Point, Point No Point, and Port Townsend.
No salmon in Puget Sound
Due to government bureaucracy communication, or lack of, the common angler will not be fishing Puget Sound in 2016. Crazy! Want to fish Puget Sound for something else….shrimping just happened Saturday for one day…..for six hours…..that is it. Halibut perhaps…that is a small quota that will only last a few weeks itself. What are we supposed to do?
Fish the North Central Cascades
In order to fish for salmon you have a few alternatives; the Washington Coast where the quota will be very small, Alaska where the fish totals for the past ten years have caused rivers to shut down entirely (see Kenai River), or come to the North Central Cascades where fishing for salmon (Silvers, Kings, and Sockeye) have been great the past five years. See Dave Graybill’s site, The Fishin’ Magician, for some great video and updates.
Lake Wenatchee has had one of the largest returning Sockeye fisheries for the past five years in the state. Only needing around 30,000 escapement, fish have returned in the 100’s of thousands! Yes, you read that correctly. Last year, because of low water levels it was a short season, but this year is looking great again. How great? How about back to the six fish limit PER ROD! This fishery starts around the third week of July and can extend through August.
Spring Chinook are currently open for fishing in the Icicle River and it appears that the quota will be around 2000. That is quite a bit of escapement for a small hatchery and river fishery. Make sure to check the current regulations on this fishery as it does change.
There are some great lakes for trout, perch, and other species as well. Fish Lake, located about two miles from Lake Wenatchee, has always been a great lake for trout and perch fishing. This lake stays productive throughout the winter, with or without ice. The Cove Resort at Fish Lake is a great spot to launch from and Scott can help you with some tips.
Just a short note about a Nason Creek. Nason is closed for the majority of the creek because of Bull Trout. A DFW truck pulled in my driveway a couple of weeks ago and said they were tracking tagged steelhead through Nason Creek. They had done a lot of work (millions of dollars!) up Highway 2 towards Stevens Pass for habitat restoration the last couple of years to help these fish. This year he was tracking thirty fish and had seen ten in that restoration portion of the creek and had four more somewhere behind my property. That is half of the tagged population which is a great return. Maybe, at some point, we will see a steelhead fishery on Nason Creek before I grow to old to fish!
Pine River Ranch is a great jump off point for all of these fisheries. With enough land to park your boat trailer on site, an early take-out breakfast if needed, and a comfortable suite to relax in after your successful day of fishing, this should be your destination of choice. No salmon in Puget Sound. Fish Lake Wenatchee… no worries.