In the estuaries anyway.
One friend who lives south of me has caught five kings so far, four on anchovies and one on a fly. Another friend sent me the photo above on August 16th from a river to my north. This gentleman got his fish on shrimp under a bobber. A look at the historical catch records shows that the kings should be seeping into our estuaries by now, with numbers picking up in October for sure. Odds of hooking a fish now are slim, but so is the competition in many locations. I netted a 27 pound king for an 80 yr old angler one recent day – a fish he caught on a spinner.
Check the regulations and make sure it is legal to retain a chinook wherever you wish to fish, and remember that all wild coho must be released.
But for the angler seeking to refresh the skills, or build new skills fly fishing for King salmon, this is a great time to fish alone and still have a chance to get close to the chinooks.
Where to fish? A few chinook are filtering into all of the coastal rivers now, and issues like avoiding excessive wind and finding rolling fish are more important than picking any particular river over another. Just go fishing. Look around and see if anyone else is fishing for salmon in your destination river. Chances are that there are a few such king hunters in all of the coastal rivers already. Maybe not on every tide, but just take a look and see what you can see. The fellow pictured above was the only one casting gear from the sandbar when he hooked the 16 pound salmon. Fifteen minutes later, the wind drove him off the water, but he left happy.
If you have king salmon on the brain, now’s the time to get your gear ready and wet if you are so inclined.
Jay Nicholas, August 17th 2017