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Area 7 San Juan Islands Report



Coho Salmon
Herring Strips
Mostly Sunny

Right up front I’ll apologize for the late report. I’m retired and I have no idea why my spare time is so limited. Thursday, I had agreed to help a friend find and recover a kicker motor that had jumped off the back of his boat. I was meeting him at his dock later in the morning so I figured what the heck, I’ll launch early and fish for a few hours before I headed his direction.

Launching at Cornet Bay I had planned to fish Open Bay or Eagle Point on the west side of San Juan Island. After launching I found that a recent software upgrade and my Gen 3 were not getting along. Not good as I had planned to use my downscan and sidescan to help locate his motor. After messing with it for an hour or so I got it going and headed west. Knowing that time was limited I decided to skip Open Bay and set a course for Eagle Point.

Arriving at Eagle Point later than planned it was apparent that I wasn’t the only one with a similar plan, the flotilla was on station. Most people were running the first set of rips just east of the point so I decided to set up outside of the fleet and work the outer tide rips. After talking with Holiday Sports in Burlington earlier in the week I had learned that anchovies in a helmet were money with the regulars. I didn’t have anchovies on-board but did have an Olympic candlefish tube fly, herring strips and Smelly Jelly anchovy goo.

I setup a 11” Purple Haze flasher, the candlefish fly, and a herring strip slathered up with the anchovy goo and ran it down to chase meter marks. After running the gear down to a meter mark at about 46’ I had planned to organize the boat and suddenly WHAM O, the downrigger goes off. After 2 or 3 solid pumps the clip releases and it was game on. The fish was heavy and not fighting like a coho. It made a couple long runs and then settled in on the top a couple hundred feet away from the boat. Leaving the boat in gear I pulled the throttle back to idle and slowly brought the beast to the boat. Finally winning the battle I slip the net under a mid-20s chinook. Hook out and a quick release the fish flips his tail thank you and swims off. If that had been the only fish of the day it would have been an awesome day, but…

From that point on, every time I lowered the downrigger to a meter mark my rod would start dancing and it was fish on. In 2 to 3 hours I caught numerous shakers, 10-15 coho, an additional chinook and maybe 2 more. I had 2 fish become a big sea lion’s chew toy, not sure but one was fighting like chinook #3.

As mentioned I ran a 11” Purple Haze flasher followed by a candlefish fly on 32” of 40# Seaguar Blue Label and a herring strip slathered up with the anchovy goo. I was trolling 3.5-4.0 or as required to maintain about 50 to 60 degree cable angle. I hooked fish anywhere between 40 and 140’. Most of the shakers were at 65-80’ and chinook at 40-50’. Every fish was off a single meter mark and was released to swim another day. The morning although a short one was a trip for the books. Nonstop action, I don’t think I have ever caught so many salmon in such a short window.

The whole reason for splashing the boat Thursday morning was to help my friend find his motor. After hours of searching we found it in about 30’ of water. We were unable to recover it but marked it. I think that it is a gonner but since it was not running when it went for a swim he thinks there is hope. Recovery or not a great day on the water and a taste of the good old days out on the salt.


10/2/2018 8:11:31 PM
Great report, My neighbor went out to Eagle point on Sunday and had a double at 40' on the wire with both being 25lb kings. Then finished off with a 12Lb and 9 lb Coho's.
10/2/2018 8:49:18 PM
Always enjoy your reports Randy. Tight lines friend Alan
10/3/2018 2:30:05 PM
Great story Randy! Thanks for sharing. Hope your friend gets his motor back....30 feet...ouch.
10/3/2018 6:16:43 PM
Thanks for sharing. I remember days like this too. So far and few between, they are keeper stories to be sure. Congratulations.
(Seal chew toy....liked that!)
10/5/2018 2:09:13 PM
Sounds like an epic day! Thanks for sharing.
Happy Fishing!
10/6/2018 11:28:03 AM
30' is nothing ...

Are you looking to have it recovered? I may know a guy........ HAHAHAHAHAA
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Available Guide

Available Fishing Guide:
Website: Washington Guide Services

Phone: (509) 881-9052