Puget Sound, WA

Puget Sound, including Hood Canal and Possession Sound, is one of the largest estuaries in the United States. Starting at the north near Everett through Seattle and south to Olympia, the Sound accounts for approximately 2,000 miles of coastline out of 3,000 total miles in Washington State. All the species of pacific salmon, steelhead, sea-run cutthroat and dolly varden char are available off the beaches and/or from a boat with sea-run cutthroat, silver salmon and pink salmon (in odd years) being the primary targets for fly anglers from the beach. The Sound allows an angler instant access to fishing that is in many cases only minutes from the large metropolitan city of Seattle and its surrounding suburbs.

The fishing calendar in Puget Sound finds an angler pursuing sea-run cutthroat and resident silvers throughout the year. Springtime is the most variable as many fish are still upriver spawning so numbers are lower than at other times. As spring swings into summer, the expectation of the first adult silver salmon and pink salmon (in odd years) increases. Late July, August and September is salmon time and most anglers are consumed by thoughts of 4 to 8 pound fish chasing sand lance and herring imitations with abandon. Fall brings excellent cutthroat fishing and some late silver salmon action as well as chum salmon in Novermber. After the final chum salmon have returned to their native home, sea-runs and resident silvers take up an angler's time. Sea run cutthroat fishing in the winter has to be experienced to be appreciated. The short dark days of winter which are often cold and wet are met with the warmth of aggressive pulls from South Sound cutthroat which willing chase and slash at a variety of baitfish and attractor patterns. At the same time, resident silvers of 1 to 3 pounds sip tiny zooplankton and chase bait and fishing can be down right fanastic in the right locations.

For fishing purposes the Sound and surrounding areas can be divided as follows:

South Puget Sound - This area of the Sound from about downtown Seattle to Olympia is characterized by several narrow channels and fingers of water that reach up into bays that represent estuaries within an estuary. The Narrows and Colvos Passage are two of the best channels to fish and Henderson Bay, Hammersly Inlet and Case Inlet are but a few of the reaches that provide good tidal movement and good fishing. Sea-run cutthroat and both resident and adult silver salmon are the primary targets down in this section of the Sound.

Seattle Area Beaches - The shoreline to the north and south of Seattle provides some excellent beach access for those pursuing trout and salmon on the fly. Lincoln Park, Golden Gardens, Carkeek Park, Meadowdale Beach and Picnic Point are all within 30 minutes of downtown Seattle and one is likely to find any of the species in Puget Sound off of these beaches. These spots, which are all city or county parks, are meant to be fished for a few hours at a time and every year both trout and salmon are taken at these locations. These spots give an angler a chance to fish before or after work without a long drive.

Kitsap Peninsula/Whidbey Island - The Kitsap Peninsula which lies just north and west of Seattle and Whidbey Island which is further north and west also are excellent places to fish salmon as they migrate into the Sound from the strait of Juan de Fuca. The natural travel lanes for salmon cause them to intersect with the Kitsap/Whidbey beaches and the abundance of bait on the shoreline make these stretches a natural stopping point for a migrating salmon. Sea-run cutthroat are also available here and dolly varden char are also abundant on the east side of Whidbey Island in the spring in particular.