Kevin's Catch - Atlantics

Looking for The Atlantics!

Kevin Klein Kevin's Catch

The changing of the seasons is one of the best parts about living in the Northwest, and October is one of my favorite months. From the beginning of the crisp, cool air to the spooky, homespun Halloween finale, it’s a time when everything can feel small-town simple and old-school special. Although fishing in the fall is more a transition to rivers than the salt, there’s still a lot of boating and fishing opportunities to be had. I haven’t winterized a boat of mine in years and don’t plan on starting now. We’re just getting to the good stuff, ghouls and buoys…don’t let the end of summer scare ya off the water!

Speaking of trick or treat, by now everyone has heard about the accidental release of hundreds of thousands of farm-raised Atlantic salmon into our waters. When this first happened, catches of 40 or more salmon around the broken net pens near Washington’s Cypress Island were not uncommon. Soon after that the fish scattered and became very wary. Incidental catches were recorded from Tacoma to Neah Bay to parts of Vancouver Island and Southwestern British Columbia. While these salmon were first caught by casting spinners or jigs to schools, now they are mostly caught while trolling for other species such as coho. If you happen to catch one or see fish jumping on the surface, this could mean there’s a school of Atlantics in the area. Slow down and troll in a figure eight or circle around where you last encountered one.

Be ready to change your gear to something small such as a Silver Horde Mini Ace Hi Fly or Kingfisher 2” spoon. There is no limit on these salmon; and the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife requests that you keep all Atlantics caught. As always, check the regulation for any area you will be fishing and doublecheck the presiding agency’s website for emergency closures and rule changes.

The fact that these fish were farmed in their non-native waters is a topic that will have to be dealt with going forward. Will this release have any detrimental effects on the ecosystem? It’s happened before with less publicity and no real impact that we know about. However, whether you decide these fish are acceptable table fare or just good crab bait, they really should be taken out of the water.

Kevin's Catch - Atlantics

If you’re fishing for salmon in the Northwest in October you may catch an Atlantic or forty.

 

The fact that these fish were farmed in their non-native waters is a topic that will have to be dealt with going forward. Will this release have any detrimental effects on the ecosystem? It’s happened before with less publicity and no real impact that we know about. However, whether you decide these fish are acceptable table fare or just good crab bait, they really should be taken out of the water.

Coho and chum salmon provide some opportunities in the saltwater this time of year, as well as resident Chinook, aka blackmouth. Some areas from Puget Sound to British Columbia can provide open seasons and good fishing. Do your research and plan a trip to chase fish in local waters or some place a bit farther.

Many marinas have discounted rates for the so-called shoulder season that starts in October. Fish in the morning and be back in time to warm up and catch the kickoff of the Hawks, Huskies, or Cougs at the local watering hole. Believe it or not, albacore tuna fishing can still be productive off the coast when the weather allows. Throw some longfins in the mix during canning season for a real treat!

Kevin’s Pick
Scotty DownriggersScotty fishing products of British Columbia have made life better for the salmon fisherman since 1952. They have improved and perfected a tough, simple, and reliable downrigger. From the old standby model 1106 to the high-speed digital 2106, Scotty downriggers are the Northwest’s workhorses. Easy to maintain and find parts for, you’ll see them on fishing boats from Northern California to Alaska and beyond. Scotty also carries a large assortment of rod holders and other complementary products. Check out the full fishy line up at scotty.com.
 

Dressing up like a pirate was the Halloween costume du jour of a few year ago. From someone who has always innately been a bit pirate-ish, I can tell you that “Coho-ho and the Battle of Chum” has been my call to go fish the Northwest’s rivers in years past. Still bright and fresh silvers can provide an absolute blast when river fishing. Twitching jigs have become the go-to method for many anglers. Simply put, this means casting out and retrieving a jig while twitching it up and down. It’s fun and productive! Chum salmon are usually willing biters and always hard fighters in the river. After a morning of catching and releasing “dogs,” your arms will almost be too tired to hoist that lunch time beverage. Almost.

And don’t forget Chinook salmon fishing on the Columbia River. October is the time places like the Hanford Reach really heat up. The Fraser River in B.C. can be good for sturgeon in the fall and provide something different. If you don’t have a river boat or have never plied the big streams, going with a guide is a great way to spend the day and learn how.

So that’s a wrap for opportunities in awesome October. The crowds have thinned and the pace has slowed. The weather can still be phenomenal during the day and a heater on the boat can warm those mornings. Until next time, get the frost off the pumpkin and go get some!

Kevin Klein

Written by

A lifelong resident of Washington, Kevin Klein has been on the rivers, lakes, and salt waters of the Pacific Northwest since conception. Kevin can be found promoting sport fishing and giving seminars on boating and fishing techniques. On any given day you may find Kevin and his wife Vicki, also an accomplished angler, plying the waters of the Northwest, spreading the word of the benefits of the boating and fishing lifestyle.

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