Gear Up for Sekiu Summer Coho

Chasing silver in the Strait of Juan de Fuca


A hefty coho taken in front of Olsen’s Resort in the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Fish of this size are part of the standard drill in September, just before the end of the late summer season. (Photo by Nelson (Spud) Goodsell)


Catching silvers out of Sekiu, Washington can be about as good as it gets. Silvers jump, jerk, and run circles around the boat and best of all this looks like another banner year to catch them.

If you haven’t planned your time off just yet, promptly call for reservations and moorage at Sekiu as soon as you read this or you might be out of luck finding an open spot this fall. After all, where can you go in late September and catch & release 20-40 fish in a morning!

If it’s anything like what has happened in past years there will be lots of pressure, as these fish are easy to catch and plenty of fun on light tackle. It’s not unusual to see hundreds of boats out in front of the Sekiu Resort when the fishing is hot. This is low-tech, small boat fishing and you really don’t need an big boat to participate in this fishery.


Troll fast for silvers

Just remember to keep your speed up, as silvers are suckers for a fast moving bait. Try 2 & 3 ounces of lead with a herring early in the morning, as a lot of times they are right on the surface early in the day. Later in the day go deeper with either cut plug herring or a flasher/hoochie combo.

The fish will start getting bigger later in the month with a good chance of taking some fat hogs in late September before the closure at the end of the month. A few years back I landed a 17.5 pound silver up here in July, so you just never know when the bigger silvers are going to show up.


Where to find silvers

Begin by looking for a tide rip, which look like slick water and rough, choppy water in between. These areas almost look like a tea pot percolating and form when two currents come together one to three miles offshore. The bait gets trapped in these rips and that’s where you will find the most silvers. Other things to look for are diving birds, floating debris caught in the rips, and jumping silvers, which typically indicate a school near the surface. Fish the choppy side of the rips as the flat-water side of the tide rip will have all the grass and debris in it.

The time of day is more important than tides when it comes to coho fishing. Cut plugs are easier to fish when the coho are up shallower, so if you don’t have downriggers plan on being on the water at sunrise, as the morning bite is generally the best. No matter what of day your fishing, however, always remember to troll a little faster for these aggressive fish.


The early morning hours can produce some great action for silvers, which are very active on the surface during the low-light hours of the day.


Gearing up for Silvers

For rigging herring go with 3/0 to 4/0 Mustad fine wire hooks, as they tend to stick better trolling at faster speeds. The best spin on the bait is a fairly tight spin, almost like the herring is rotating on an axis.

Trolling almost everything works, including squids in green and blue, spoons with and without flashers, and of course herring. One of my favorite techniques is to run Pro Troll flashers off my downrigger weights and then fish a Sting King spoon on the release clip a few feet above it.

Doing this you get the attraction of the flasher, but can run ultra light rods to enhance your fishing fun. Fishing eight to ten pound test on a light action steelhead rod can provide hours of catch and release entertainment.


Flyfishing for silvers 

Fly rod action can also be great fun early in the morning or on overcast days when the bite continues on after sunup. The best approach is to take an eight-weight fly rod and let out 30-50 ft. of line into the prop wash behind the boat, waking the fly in the process. You want to go fast enough to see it form a “V” wake in the water. Flies tied in a bushy, bulky pattern with lots of pink, green, and blue seem to produce the best.


Pink Salmon

On odd number years the entire strait can be full of humpies (pink Salmon) and can provide some hot action for anglers. Small pink hootchies behind white Hot Spot flashers or small Dick Nite pink spoons work great for targeting these fish. When you catch them the flesh will be softer then other species of salmon so take care of these fish by bleeding them right away by slicing the gills. Gut them immediately and put them on ice right away and you will have some nice eating fish.


Book your space early

Sekiu has campgrounds, motel rooms, RV space, boat moorage launch ramps, charter information, and boat rentals. Call ahead to book rooms or moorage in Sekiu by contacting Olson’s Resort 1-360-963-2311.


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