An idea of what fishes over the year

Discussion in 'Saltwater' started by daveypetey, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. Hey all-

    So after reading through a lot of posts I am wondering where I can find an idea of what fishes when? I understand that may be a ridiculous question, but it seems like SRC go through the fall, steelhead are kind of bi phasic, and I have no idea what to make of the various salmon seasons. Even just really rough ranges of what I should be reading up on ahead of time, or tying/buying for would be really helpful.

  2. Kind of a tall order. Sea-run cutthroat are spring spawners though some of them will begin to enter their natal rivers as early as July. This depends a lot on what rivers we're talking about; in the small south Sound and Hood Canal streams the migration period occurs much later, most of the fish not returning to the rivers until late fall or even winter and the saltwater fishery becmes an almost-year-round show. Larger rivers, like the Stillaguamish, will receive the bulk of returning fish in the late summer and fall but will have cutthroat trickling into them through February or even March.

    Steelhead (also spring spawners) may return to the river during almost any month of the year with two major peaks: summer and winter. Winter fish will spawn soon after entering the river, commonly in the very early spring. Summer fish will lie up in the deeper holes through much of the summer and fall and will usually spawn only a month or so earlier than the winter runs.

    All salmon are fall spawners though spring and summer chinook will enter the rivers much earlier than their late-summer/fall brethren. Again, these early-returning chinook will lay up through the summer and only spawn in the fall on a schedule not too different from that of the later-arriving fall chinook. Coho, generally speaking, arrive and spawn later than chinook though they probably have a wider range of arrival and spawning times than any other salmon; some moving into the rivers anywhere from July through December. Most, however arrive around October and November.

    Pinks (humpies) return in their largest numbers in odd-numbered years and usually begin turning up in August and September. Chums are generally the latest-running salmon, usually in late fall. As I mentioned above, cutthroat are available in salt water (somewhere) almost year-round and resident coho are too. Resident coho (coho who choose not to leave the waters of Puget Sound for the oceanic tour), once an abundant natural component of the regular coho runs are now largely supported by artificial propagation and support a truly year-round saltwater fishery. Blackmouth, the chinook equivalent of the resident coho, are also available any month of the year.

    Keep in mind that what I've said is painted in only the broadest of brushstrokes and that there are more exceptions than I could possibly cover here. A very fine book that would give you a great deal of background information is Dr. Robert Behnke's Salmon and Trout of North America.
    ryfly, daveypetey, Tacoma Red and 7 others like this.
  3. Good post Preston.
  4. This has been one of my biggest questions as a newbie. Thanks for the nice and succinct overview, Preston!
  5. Preston, you are too kind!!!
  6. Here on Case Inlet I fish for Cutties from
    April to Thanksgiving with the best months
    being July till November. Preston said it best
    about all the exceptions. Puget Sound is huge
    with many many variations on when is the best
    and what works best. If you stick with the basic
    salt water patterns (clousers) you will have results.
    Learn a beach, talk to others that are fishing (gear
    guys too), and make some notes on the weather
    and the tides. Soon enough I'll be asking you for pointers.

  7. AWESOME. This forum rules.
    Patrick Gould likes this.
  8. There are non anadromous trout here too. The general season for rivers and streams is from the First Saturday in June to Oct 31. The Yakima and Rocky Ford Creek and some others are open all year, some have different season to protect anadromous fish. Read the regs carefully. There's some great small trout fishing in some beautiful spots on the western slope of the Cascades. It's just a matter of getting up high and finding a fishing looking stream. If you're into that kind of thing some light rods would make a great addition to the arsenal.

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