Summer Starts with Seafood Smorgasbord
We can all agree that this is a great time to be out on the water, feeling alive and pursuing a passion! Whether that passion means a little or a lot of fishing is really secondary. Getting out there is what it’s all about. June is usually the month when many anglers head north to British Columbia and Alaska. Salmon, halibut, ling cod, and rockfish are all available for the taking. We’ll have some opportunities here in the Lower 48 as well. Let’s dig into what may not be the busiest fishing month, but still a good time to appreciate being on the water…hopefully in some good weather!
I’ll play Captain Obvious here and say there are many awesome destinations in British Columbia and Southeast Alaska. Whether you’re headed to the inside or outside of Northern Vancouver Island, Desolation Sound, Haida Gwaii, Prince of Wales Island, or up to Sitka and beyond, the fishing and scenery just keep getting better the more you explore. If you’ve got a week to spare, fly into one of the great lodges and fish with a guide. Some of these outfits also have smaller center console boats you can take out for the day and captain yourself. Or, if you have a couple weeks to a couple months, take your own vessel for a real (reel) adventure. Getting there and back is half the fun.
Right here in Washington, we’ll be able to do some salmon fishing towards the end of the month. Rockfish will also be open in several areas off the coast. It’s also a very good time to get out for some ling cod in the Northwest. Whether you’re inshore at places like the San Juan Islands, or offshore from Neah Bay to Westport, ling cod provides a long season to catch some delicious, white-fleshed fish.
Before seizing this great opportunity, make sure your vessel is ready for an offshore trip. Breakdowns can often be avoided by regularly inspecting and maintaining your boat. Losing power makes for a long day of waiting for a tow, or a very dangerous situation in the wrong circumstances.
In Oregon’s waters, there will be chances to fish for salmon and halibut in June. Check out the regulations at dfw.state.or.us. As with any body of water you intend to navigate and fish, check the weather reports. Swell, tides, and wind can make the difference between a safe, fun trip and a situation you don’t want to be in. The water off the Oregon coast is exposed, with river bars you must cross. Not much in the way of protected water there. Conditions dictate whether to go or not.
There is a chance that albacore tuna could show up in late June off the coasts of Oregon and Washington. These past few years it has been a bit later that the longfins show in good numbers. It mostly depends on the water temperature and if the warm current comes close enough for us to go get them. These pelagic predators swim very fast and can show up quickly when the conditions are right. I know a lot of offshore aficionados are just waiting for the first ping that “the tuna are here” from one of the adventurous souls who make that first prospect run when the SST (Satellite Surface Temperature) shots are correct. Then, “The boys are back in (tuna) town” and the chaos kicks off once again for the fleet of albacore-addicted anglers.
I love to go for a couple trips a year on one of the fast “six-pack” charters, or with friends who have boats moored at Westport or Ilwaco.
I haven’t caught the tuna bug near as bad as some, but it is a lot of fun and the fish are great eating any way you slice them. And, I do like to slice them thin when raw and drag them through a little soy sauce and wasabi. Fixing them fresh, no matter what method, is the best. Beats trolling for tuna through the canned goods aisle at the grocery store, hands down.
Prawns should still be available through June in Marine Area 7 West in the San Juan Islands. There have been many rule changes to this and other fisheries this year. Always make sure and check the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife website before you go—not only for regulations, but for emergency rule changes as well. Find them at wdfw.wa.gov. The rules aren’t that complicated for prawns, but it pays to know before you go.
That’s a wrap for June. Next month, salmon fishing kicks off in many parts of the Northwest. We’ll cover crabbing as well. Until then, make some time to get out on the water and go get some fish!