Skagit River Sockeye

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Steelheadin360
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Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Steelheadin360 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 2:46 pm

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In this month's newsletter I am going to cover one of my favorite new fisheries, Skagit River Sockeye. Last year was my first time targeting these salt fresh fish, and I am now addicted to put it lightly. These Sockeye are hours from the salt water and really put up a tussle on Steelhead gear. Another awesome thing about this fishery is that it gives the shore bound angler a great chance to tangle with a Sockeye. There is some great bank access in the towns of Mount Vernon and Burlington, and although it may be crowded, there will be plenty of fish to catch.

The first point I want to make, something that was a learning curve for me, is that Sockeye are running up the river VERY close to shore. They are gonna be skirting their way up the river close to the bank in 2-4' of water. If you are anchored far from shore or casting into the middle of the channel, you are gonna miss your chance at a lot of fish. One of my top producing spots was on the inside of a turn in 3.5' of water. The bank had overhanging tree branches and bushes and most of my fish were caught within 5' of the shore. My most productive rod was on the one that was almost touching the trees on most days. When fishing from the bank keep this in mind, try to find bank that drop sharply into 3-5' of water and fish very close to the bank. When fishing from a boat I also like to create “The Wall Of Death.” What that means is to have multiple rods behind the boat at the same distance and make it very hard for fish to swim passed. Sockeye are highly curious and very aggressive and having multiple set ups in their faces can result in more then one fish on at a time.

Onto the business side of things. My ideal Sockeye rod is my 8-17 9' Medium Heavy casting rod built by Dave at NW Rods. This pole has enough backbone to deal with heavy lead and divers but has a soft enough tip to detect light bites and the forgiveness to boat soft mouth Sockeye. I pair this with a high quality casting reel with a good drag system, spooled with 30 pound braided line. Some may think this rod is a little over kill but a 10 pound Sockeye can really work you over in the river. Its also nice to have to power to quickly boat (and release) the incidental Summer Chinook or even a Sturgeon as well. I then rig a weight slider onto the end of my line with a 12” 10# mono dropper. At the end of the dropper I will run a 3-4oz weight, a Brads Mud Bug diver, Or a size 30 Jet Diver depending on river flows. I will normally run my inside back rods with lead and have my outside rods running a diver. The diver will give your gear a little extra action as well. I then attach a 6' leader of 20# Flourocarbon to the swivel at the end of my mainline. I run a double hook set up with a small Spin-Glo above 3 medium sized beads or a Macks Lure Shrimp RIg. Both add some floatation as well as some color to your presentation. On the hooks I like to run a whole small Sandshrimp. I run the back hook thru the top of the head and use the bait loop on the top hook to secure it to the belly. Also put one or two half-hitches on the tail to keep everything straight and keep it on the line. Before it hits the water I like to dip it into some Kokanee/Sockeye Super Dipping Sauce. Scent will help get the fish really honed into your gear as the come up behind the boat, and the Sandshrimp/Sauce combo proved to be a killer on the river for me last year. If you don't feel like messing with sandshrimp you can also buy some store bought white prawns and cure them up in some Borax-o-Fire.

Another thing I learned last year the help put fish in the boat was to really watch my rods. Sometimes these fish will really hammer your gear, other times they bite like a goldfish and will be there and gone before you know it. Many of the fish I boated were very lite biters, sometimes just barley pulling on the line or picking up the bait and swimming forward resulting in a slack line. I got to the point were if it looked like a fish I set the hook, and more times then not I was great with some headshakes at the end of the line.

Long story short- Fish shallow, keep things fresh, and watch your pole! I hope this information helps you guys out and I look forward to seeing some of you out there chasing these silver bullets!


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Larry3215
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Larry3215 » Mon Jun 01, 2015 5:05 pm

Great writeup! Thanks!

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spoonman
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by spoonman » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:07 pm

Thanks for the info. Hoping to be up there.

Salmon King
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Salmon King » Tue Jun 02, 2015 8:52 pm

I'll be shore bound but...I GOTTA TRY THIS!
Thanks for the terrific writeup!

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Bodofish
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Bodofish » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:15 am

Salmon King wrote:I'll be shore bound but...I GOTTA TRY THIS!
Thanks for the terrific writeup!
Easy to plunk. They run close to shore.
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Salmon King » Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:46 am

I'd like to try floating the lower river in my pontoon for them.
That would be a kick!

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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Bodofish » Wed Jun 03, 2015 11:57 am

Salmon King wrote:I'd like to try floating the lower river in my pontoon for them.
That would be a kick!
Be careful, lot O water moving.
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drysuperfly52
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by drysuperfly52 » Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:09 pm

i have never fished for sockeye, when do they start moving up the skagit?
Yes i am 6'8", NO i didn't play basketball in school

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Bodofish
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Bodofish » Wed Jun 03, 2015 3:41 pm

Season opens the 15th? need to read the regs, I haven't but it sticks in my mind..... maybe 16...
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Norm
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Norm » Wed Jun 03, 2015 5:15 pm

They have already started to come in. Opens the 16th. Floating the river sounds like a lot of work when all you really have to do is drop your line right along the bank. But with the real low water they might be a little farther off the bank in some spots. There is a lot less water right now and a lot less current. There will be a lot more bank access.
Whats the difference between Davy Crockett and Jack Daniels? Jack Daniels is still killing indians.

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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Salmon King » Wed Jun 03, 2015 7:56 pm

Only places I know of are the sand bars between I5 and 99 or the end of Gardiner Rd.
I haven't been on the S. Skagit hwy in many years...don't remember much access in the open area (536 bridge to gilligan creek).
Is fishing from the dikes is still considered tresspassing ?
Last edited by Salmon King on Thu Jun 04, 2015 6:36 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Norm
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Norm » Thu Jun 04, 2015 3:54 am

I have fished all over the dikes and never been told not to. Just find a big sandbar and jump in with everyone else
Whats the difference between Davy Crockett and Jack Daniels? Jack Daniels is still killing indians.

fishindude
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by fishindude » Thu Jun 04, 2015 8:00 am

I'm not even messing with a boat. I'm going to plant my butt on a nice sandy beach, sit in my lawn chair, and enjoy some cold ones. I don't know if I'll catch any fish but I'll catch a buzz and possibly a sun burn.

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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Salmon King » Thu Jun 04, 2015 9:03 am

fishindude wrote:I'm not even messing with a boat. I'm going to plant my butt on a nice sandy beach, sit in my lawn chair, and enjoy some cold ones. I don't know if I'll catch any fish but I'll catch a buzz and possibly a sun burn.
I see we are both from Oak Harbor....maybe we could meet up sometime and compare notes? Fish together...My boat always seems to have only me in it lately....

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Norm
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Norm » Thu Jun 04, 2015 1:11 pm

Fishindude thats how its done! Been doing it every weekend for the past 3 months and its been great
Whats the difference between Davy Crockett and Jack Daniels? Jack Daniels is still killing indians.

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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by fishindude » Fri Jun 05, 2015 8:31 am

Norm-I Need to run into you so you can show me how its done LOL. I don't do well on the rivers. I just don't get out there enough. Most of my fishing is done in the salt.

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Norm
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Norm » Fri Jun 05, 2015 10:20 am

The only thing you can count on catching on the river is a buzz. Maybe we can get together sometime on the rive and compare beers
Whats the difference between Davy Crockett and Jack Daniels? Jack Daniels is still killing indians.

JerryGarcia

Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by JerryGarcia » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:29 am

I read your post and went out and bought all the gear to plunk - even a new pole. I am going to take my kid and one or two of his friends. I have never plunked or fished the Skagit. I have looked at google maps to try and decide where to go. It is 1.5 hour drive from home so I can't just go and look around easily. does anyone have any input regarding locations where some beginners might give this a try? (especially with the low water levels) pm me if you want
any help would be appreciated

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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by Salmon King » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:01 am

There are 2 very large sandbars in the open area.
1. Just east downtown right along the freeway (actually it is just opposite thre freeway).
2. Just east of the bridge on burlington blvd.

Both areas are very popular and thus get tons of fishers.
I'm not sure how sucessful every one is there but they are popular.

There is also a popular area adjacent to the boat ramp at the end of gardiner rd. a little further upstream.
Last edited by Salmon King on Tue Jun 09, 2015 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

countryboy87
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Re: Skagit River Sockeye

Post by countryboy87 » Tue Jun 09, 2015 1:05 pm

One more week.. gonna be tough with the low water but I'm up for a challenge..

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