BLACKMOUTH IN THE TEENS! That’s the big reason to be fishing the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu to Port Angeles.
With winter in full swing many salmon anglers have stowed their gear until spring, unaware that some of the best salmon fishing is underway right now.
Hands down for large winter blackmouth you need to be on the strait, lots of good water, plenty of bait can all lead to some fantastic blackmouth fishing. One of the most pleasurable things about this time of the year is lack of crowds. Many times I have fished Sekiu, to Port Angeles and had all the prime areas to fish with little or no angler pressure and plenty of hook ups. The fish are not giants like their summer Alaska returning brothers, but action can be fast and furious on blackmouth from just legal up into the teens.
Starting to the east in Sekiu you can find some very productive angling in close to Clallam Bay. You only need to go around the corner from the boat ramp and mooch out in front of the Caves to score on some nice fish. The fishing is all weather dependent here, there will be fish out there the locals hammer them all winter, you just want to check the weather before making the drive.
My personal favorite fishery here is to launch at Sekiu run east to Pillar Pt. and troll back with the outgoing tide. The area from Pillar Pt. to Cod Fish Bay has over the years been one of my top producers. Troll the 120-130 ft depth line and keep your gear just off bottom. There has been very few times in the winter that a green spatter back glow Gold Star squid tied with 40 inches of 50 pound leader behind a Pro-Troll flasher has not produced for me here. But if you haven’t scored yet there is plenty of prime water yet to fish. Move up and troll off the Coal Mine to Little Mussolini Rock. Here you want to fish the 130-150 ft. water.
Next stop on your Westerly troll is Big Mussolini Rock on Slip Pt. This is also a great mooching and jigging area Back across Clallam Bay the Caves just out front of Sekiu are of course one of the most famous spots to fish here. Many a big king and blackmouth has been taken here. The caves all the way down to the Sekiu River can provide top-notch blackmouth fishing. Both trolling and mooching are very productive here. Work the 120-ft depth one-hour before two hours after the tide change.
Tackle for trolling, don’t leave home without Pro-Troll flashers, hoochies in green and blue glow colors, Coho Killers and Kingfisher Spoons in UV glow colors. If you’re going to mooch or want to troll bait, bring it along it will be hard to find here.
Just west of Sekiu keep an eye near the kelp beds for feeding sea bass. When there on top of the water you can even throw flies or top water bass plugs with spinning rods to them. This is a real kick and great fun if you have any young anglers with you. Port Angeles has some great winter blackmouth opportunities and all the advantages of big town life. The spots I would recommend trying are off Ediz Hook in the 120-ft. water then out on the Humps and the Winter Hole for November blackmouth fishing.
The Hook can be great trolling from the east tip down past the Coast Guard station back to the boat ramp on the outside. It at times also provides good blackmouth fishing on the inside giving good protection all but from the east wind.
The Winter Hole is located north out in front of the Daishowa Mill, here water depth goes from 180 ft. to 60 ft. This has always been one of the top producers for winter salmon. The 1st. 2nd and 3rd Humps are located out farther and slightly west of the Winter Hole. If you want to fish them, get a chart and program you’re GPS or follow the other boats. The Winter Hole and the Humps are great spots to jig Pt. Wilson Darts in the candlefish pattern or the new Shimano Butterfly jigs. They can be deadly on these underwater hilltops, where hungry blackmouth hold and feed. Try smaller sized jigs; use just the size needed to maintain bottom contact. Smaller is better, this time of the year.
Farther to the west Freshwater Bay is another top winter producer. Troll the 120-ft. water from Observation Pt. down to Tongue Pt. Watch for a east wind when fishing here, it can be a rough ride back to Ediz Hook ramp when it blows. There is a boat ramp at Fresh Water Bay, it’s definitely a small boat show, and you need to back out on the beach in the water on a lower tide.
Go with Silver Horde spoons if you troll, green glow UV colors have always produced over the years, and purple & white colored hoochies are also good bet.
Fish the bottom, if you mark bait work your gear near it. Best fishing will be first light, and the tide changes.
Winter fishing is some of the best in my opinion; the fishing can be stupendous. Dress warm and pay attention to the weather and get out and enjoy some of it.
Capt. John Keizer