Exciting Fishing Adventures in Westport: Salmon Day and Halibut Fishing Extravaganza


Westport, a coastal gem in the Pacific Northwest, is a renowned destination for fishing enthusiasts seeking thrilling experiences and bountiful catches. In this article, we’ll dive into the excitement of opening salmon day on Saturday, June 24th, and the adventurous halibut fishing expedition that followed. From calm waters to challenging conditions, Westport offers a range of fishing opportunities for avid anglers. So, buckle up and get ready for an unforgettable fishing journey.

Opening Salmon Day: An Epic Start:

The stage was set for an incredible day of fishing as Saturday, June 24th, unfolded in Westport. The weather graced us with its benevolence, presenting a beautiful day with calm ocean waters—every angler’s dream. With high hopes and fishing gear at the ready, we embarked on our quest to land the mighty salmon.

We started our trolling adventure from 200 feet of water, working our way east to west. Our objective was to locate the fabled “salmon highway,” the channel where salmon migrate during this time. Determined to maximize our chances, we pressed on, gradually trolling deeper until we reached 320 feet of water.

As we began our return journey, trolling at a depth of 90 feet in approximately 250 feet of water, our efforts bore fruit. The line suddenly tightened, and we knew we had hooked something special. The king salmon fought valiantly, showcasing its strength and resilience. After a thrilling battle, we triumphantly brought in an impressive king salmon, tipping the scales at an upper teens weight range. While the coho we encountered were on the smaller side, the experience of catching multiple species added to the excitement of the day.

Halibut Fishing: Battling the Elements:

Eager to continue our fishing adventure, we set our sights on Sunday’s halibut fishing expedition. However, nature had different plans for us. We awoke to a stiff 15-knot wind and a choppy ocean, presenting us with a challenging fishing environment. Undeterred, we forged ahead, determined to test our skills against the elements.

After a challenging 1.5-hour journey, we reached the renowned Grays Canyon, a hotspot for halibut fishing. Back trolling became a test of patience and skill due to the swells and wind waves, but we persevered. Casting our lines into the depths, we patiently waited for the telltale signs of a strike.

Though the halibut may have been elusive at times, we were rewarded with a memorable catch—a magnificent 25-pound halibut. The battle against the elements and the thrill of reeling in this impressive fish left us with a sense of triumph and accomplishment. Along the way, we also managed to hook a bocaccio and several canary rockfish, adding variety to our day’s catch.

As the weather began to worsen, we made the prudent decision to conclude our adventure and head back to port. Safety should always remain paramount, and it was time to bid farewell to the unpredictable elements.


Westport, with its opening salmon day and exhilarating halibut fishing at Grays Canyon, delivers an unmatched fishing experience. From the calm waters of the opening day, where we landed a remarkable king salmon, to the challenging conditions during the halibut fishing expedition, Westport showcases the thrill and unpredictability of fishing. So, fellow anglers, gear up, embrace the adventure, and remember to “Hook ’em Deep!” in Westport’s abundant waters.


Well, this year I decided to try Neah Bay for halibut and bottom fish and overall the trip turned out great!

Instead of heading to the Garbage Dump, the ocean was relatively flat, so we headed straight out to Table Rock. If you are not familiar with Table Rock, it is a seamount about 12 miles offshore with plenty of long drifts. This seamount comes up from about 1000 feet on the edges to about 400 feet on the top.

On the first halibut day we ended up with a couple chickens in the 20 lb range. Good eating, but nothing to get too excited about. We ended the day though by stopping by Seal and Sail rocks and cleaning up on lingcod and bottom fish. So overall we ended up with plenty for the freezer.

On Saturday, after catching another small we decided to change it up. Instead of running out further (which we heard there was GREAT fishing at 72 Square another 25 miles out) we decided to take a chance on an area you are probably familiar with from the Neah Bay Fish-N-Map near and just south of the twin humps.

We drifted around the edges of the pinnacle just like the map says to do and managed to hook a whopper.

Neah Bay Halibut

Neah Bay Halibut near Twin Humps

We did not have a scale with us, but this fish was 50.5 inches so we know by the chart that it weighed 60+ pounds.

The fillets on this fish were fat.

Neah Bay Halibut

Apparently 72 Square was even better. We spoke to a fellow fisherman where his group caught a 39, 2-45 pounders, and a 75 pounder. And apparently they could not keep the big lingcod (25 pounders) off their line either.

We ended the trip by catching two very nice lingcod and more rockfish as we slowly drifted back in the mushroom rock area.

All and all a great trip!!

Hook ’em deep!


Over the years I have tried out just about every new-fangled fishing or marine product in an effort to optimize my fishing experience…..and I would have to say that normally new technology disappoints.

Like the time I tried out new bottom tracking down riggers that seemed to have a mind of their own. Only to go back to my good ‘ol Scotties.

Or the time I tried out the remote-control unit(s) for my trolling motor. They worked great for a while until the saltwater got to them. I didn’t give up on the first unit, but after the same thing happened to the second unit, I decided to go back to the tried and true steering rod.

Sometimes a new product line simply needs time to mature and getting the first version is not a good idea. Or sometimes new products are just a bad idea or poorly made.

So you can imagine my angst when I decided to try out the brand new Sionyx Nightwave camera. This camera is a game changer!! Now I can navigate the Puget Sound or Straights very early in the morning or late at night. And be totally confident I wont smash my boat into a deadhead.

The Sionyx NightWave camera is a low-light, high-definition camera designed for night-time and low-light conditions. It features a large 1-inch sensor and utilizes proprietary ultra-low-light CMOS technology to capture color video and images in near-darkness. The camera is also equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, allowing for remote control and sharing of content. But the thing that makes this camera awesome for your average boater or fisherman is the cost.

The cost of the cheapest FLIR marine fixed mount thermal camera is about $3500. That is more than double what the Sionyx NightWave camera goes for. I paid $1495.

Here are two photos I took with my phone when heading out of Sekiu in March. The photo on the right is straight out the helm window. The photo on the left is on my Garmin 1042xsv.

This was the first time I used the camera and I was amazed. Technology finally did not disappoint.

When considering a new camera, it’s important to thoroughly research and compare different features, specifications, and customer reviews to make an informed decision based on your specific needs and requirements. Additionally, considering factors such as price, durability, and customer support can also be important when evaluating a new camera or any other product. It’s always a good idea to read professional reviews, seek recommendations from trusted sources, and carefully evaluate the pros and cons of any new product before making a purchase. Overall, the Sionyx NightWave camera may be worth considering for those who require high-quality low-light performance for their fishing needs.

I will write again if it turns out this camera breaks or otherwise disappoints.

Hook ‘Em Deep!


I recently stumbled upon a 1977 report called “Recreationally Important Marine Fishes of Puget Sound, Washington”. The report covers all types of Cod, Perch, Rockfish, Sablefish, Greenling Sculpin, and Flounders. It covers the fish’s habitat, distribution, size, eating quality, and bait. More importantly it shows maps of the different specie’s locations and distributions.

If you are anything like me you like to explore new fishing spots…..or in this case, should I say old fishing spots. I have already tried one of the fishing spots and was able to catch Starry Flounder……a fish I haven’t caught since I was a kid.

Give it a read……….

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If you are new to fishing or the Pacific Northwest, you may be wondering, what are the types of Pacific salmon? What are their behaviors? Where do Pacific salmon migrate to and from? All you need to know is answered below!

Pacific Salmon Habitats and Behaviors

As you may know, Pacific salmon begin their lives in freshwater lakes, rivers, and stream habitats, making them what is called anadromous (fish that travel up to a fresh water source like a river from the sea to spawn). Eventually, they migrate to the North Pacific Ocean to feed for several years. Pacific salmon are referred to as smolts when they reach the age of ocean migration. Pacific salmon can be found along the west coast of North America, stretching as far as Alaska to California. Popular freshwater habitats are found commonly around Alaska, Washington State, Oregon, and even Idaho.

Once salmon become smolts, they travel to saltwater before they spend one to seven years (depending on the type of Pacific salmon) maturing and then spawn. Pacific salmon migrate and travel in schools; with some research suggesting they make migration decisions as a group. And as a result of the demanding journey back to spawn, Pacific salmon die after spawning – fertilizing the growing grounds. A female salmon can lay as many as 2,500 to 7,000 eggs in what is called a redd (nest) which is a shallow depression in the stream bottom. The male salmon will come along and fertilize the eggs and protect the redd by pushing gravel over the eggs.

Types of Pacific Salmon

If you have lived in the Pacific Northwest for any time, you are likely familiar with the different types of salmon we see in this region. There are Chinook (King) salmon, Sockeye (Red) salmon, Coho (Silver) salmon, Pink (Humpback) salmon, and Chum (Dog) salmon. And If you have lived in the Pacific Northwest for any time, at the very least you are familiar with King and Silver salmon as you have likely seen it served in local restaurants.

Graphics below show wild salmon in their adult phase, before the kelt (spawning) phase. Wild salmon can be identified by the adipose fin (small fin near the tail). Hatchery fish will have the adipose fin clipped so that anglers and wildlife agents know which fish are wild and which are hatchery fish.

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I’m always on the lookout for cool fishing gear. And since it is the holiday season, I thought I would write a post on some of my favorite fishing gear. I hope you enjoy!

    SKB Tackle Boxes

    I’ve had a lot of different tackle boxes over the years, but by far, the SKB box is one cool tackle box. Is great for salmon especially. It is super durable and offers plenty of room for all your tackle including:

    • and a plexiglass case area for whatever you want to put in it
    • room for 4 tackle trays
    • a jig hanger area for up to 40 jigs
    • top section to allow for terminal equipment
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    Every year after Thanksgiving Day, I joke to my wife that it is Blackmouth Friday. And as the shopper’s flock to the stores, I get away from it all by going fishing…..blackmouth fishing!

    Winter black mouth fishing isn’t for the slight of heart. When you’re winter black mouth fishing you have to bear bad weather, rain, fog, wind, and sometimes you even have to find a point to hide behind in order to fish. Often times you have to put in many hours just to get one or two fish that are keepers. But winter black mouth fishing can be very rewarding if you put in the time to figure out the different techniques and holes that hold fish.

    Blackmouth Techniques

    Often times blackmouth will be down on the bottom rooting out candlefish (also called sand lance). This means you need to look for angled fish marks on your sonar right on the bottom (see graphic above)).

    No matter what blackmouth hole you’re fishing you want to be sure, like the old saying says, in the mud and match the hatch. This means right on the bottom even bumping the bottom sometimes and fishing with a lure that matches the hatch. If you catch a fish you can get the fish to see what’s in its stomach. This will give you clues for matching the hatch. Bumping the bottom with your downrigger ball is good as it can attract a strike from these very hungry and aggressive fish.

    Good Blackmouth Spots – Marine Area 11

    For Marina 11, there are lots of options. One of my favorite places for black mouth fishing in this Marine area is Quartermaster Harbor. In quartermaster Harbor I like to fish along the southern shelf. Here you can fish between 60 and 130 feet of water deep.

    Marine Area 11 Blackmouth Fishing Spot
    Marine Area 11 Blackmouth Fishing Spot

    If you don’t see much bait don’t give up. Keep an eye open for small clouds of bait attached to the bottom and angled marks on your sonar. This will likely be candlefish that the blackmouth are rooting out of the bottom (see graphic below).

    Blackmouth Fishing - Look for Candlefish
    Blackmouth Fishing – Look for Candlefish
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    Once the chinook and coho are all up the rivers us Washington anglers have limited salmon choices in the salt. However, one option besides black mouth salmon fishing is Puget Sound chum salmon. Now, some anglers won’t bother with chum salmon as they think it is less tasty than other species and is fed to dogs in Alaska (aka ‘dog salmon’). Not true! The chum salmon got its nickname ‘dog salmon’ not because it’s fed to dogs, but because of the big, canine-like teeth that chum salmon produce as the spawn.

    Dog Food or Good Eating?

    When caught in the salt, chum salmon is actually perfectly good table fare. Of course chum salmon does need a bit more care. You need to bleed and gut the fish right away in the field and then take it home to cook and eat right away. Or, another great option for chum is to smoke it. If you find that you don’t like that way chum eats as normal table fare, then smoke it and I guarantee you will be satisfied with smoked chum.

    Where to Fish for Chum Salmon in the Puget Sound

    You may be wondering where to fish for chum in the Puget Sound. There is good chum fishing basically all over the Puget Sound. You can look for chum near Kennedy Creek, Johns Creek, Chico Creek, Curly Creek, Perry Creek, Whatcom Creek, McLane Creek, Eagle Creek and of course the Hoodsport Hatchery in Hood Canal.

    The map below shows where there are documented spawning for fall chum. You can also see my previous article (DO YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHICH STREAMS AND RIVERS HAVE: CHINOOK, COHO, PINK, AND CHUM FOR EACH SEASON (SPRING, SUMMER, FALL, WINTER) and use the Salmonscape tool to zoom in and take a closer look.

    Chum Streams South Puget Sound
    Chum Streams – South Puget Sound
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    I fish in the saltwater 95% of the time, but on occasion I will fish fresh water if there is a nice game fish to go after. Lake Washington Coho is one of those exceptions. But they are also tricky to catch, which makes it a fun challenge.

    Another bonus to Lake Wa Coho is that the limit is four fish (check your regulations), making it even more of a challenge to limit out.

    I took me fishing this fishery three times before I finally dialed it in. Here are a few things to know if you want to go after Lake Wa Coho:

    Fish at the right time

    I usually like to begin fishing about the second week of October (on or around Oct 10th). By this time of the year, all of the Coho that we saw in the North Puget Sound (around West Point, Jeff Head, and Edmond’s) have migrated through the locks and are pooling up in Lake Washington, preparing to spawn.

    Fish the right area

    I tried all the different areas, but did not have any luck until I fished the Yarrow Point area (shown below). You can also try along the beach in front of Kirkland and also up by Kenmore, or along the beach in front of Saint Edward State Park. Note: these fish will actually head toward Kenmore and into the Sammamish River to their spawning destination.

    Fish with the right gear

    Because these fish are transitioning to fresh water, they tend to get “lock jaw” and some of the normal coho setups might not work. You will have to use a setup that triggers the fishes natrual instinct and makes them react. Like pulling a string from a cat, they will pounce on it every single time because they are instinctual wired that way.

    We used a small chrome dodger and a Mack’s Lure 40550 Pee Wee Wiggle Hoochie Hot Pink Glow (shown below) It is the wiggle fin which gave the hoochie extra action and allowed us to catch the “lock jaw” coho. I’ve also seen people have success with a Rapala Wiggle Wart. The movement and rattle inside the Wiggle Wart are” designed for targeting finicky fish”.

    Lake Washington Coho Setup
    Lake Washington Coho Setup



    Take a close look at Point Defiance and Dalco Passage fishing spots you will know why it is considered one of the best places for salmon fishing in the South Puget Sound.

    Current & Back Eddy

    The rough, shallow waterway, called a sill is a remnant from the long ago glacial process. This is where water is squeezed through the narrow passage of the Tacoma Narrows waterway. The current speeds up as water is exchanged between southern basin and the Eastern Passage. These extremely fast currents cause a large back eddy. As they reach Point Defiance the currents reverse direction and push bait fish in and against the Clay Banks and Owens Beach.

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    Did you ever wonder how much revenue WDFW makes from fines or licenses? I decided to see if I could find this information. After all, it should be public information, right? It turns out that I had to estimate what the Washington public spends on fine and forfeitures using several sources, I simply could not find this anywhere. As for the licenses, the WDFW tells us how much we spend.

    Let’s get started ….

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    If you like deep sea fishing (or I should say, fishing the sea deep) you will love the deep water lingcod experience. It would be a mistake to think of a deep water lingcod trip as an ordinary outing for lingcod, like in the Puget Sound. Catching a 20 pound lingcod is common, with some anglers catching 30+ pounders daily. Come prepared with at least a two-speed reel….. or better yet an electric. Otherwise checking your bait becomes a real chore.

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    If you are like me, you have many saltwater rods that serve different purposes. For example, I have my salmon rods, my halibut rods, bottom fishing rods, and tuna rods. Finding a place to store all these rods in an orderly fashion is often a challenge for us anglers. I am going to explain how you can build a cheap, easy, awesome, DIY Fishing rod holder.

    You can buy expensive rod holder systems, rod holders that are flimsy, or rod holders that don’t hold that many rods at all. But I have a cheap, easy rod holder system that only takes about an hour to install.

    Tools Needed

    • cordless screwdriver
    • bolt cutters
    • level
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    I don’t know if you have seen Bubba Blade’s electric knife, but it is awesome! I bought me one and cleaning fish hasn’t been the same.

    The knife comes with 2 electric lithium ion batteries, 4 sets of blades, and a charger. It all comes in a red padded foam case knife motor, blades, batteries, and charger.

    Bubba’s electric knife blades are ultra sharp and quiet. There is a 7 inch and 9 inch Flex blades for filleting and a 9 inch and 12 inch stiff blades also for filleting large fish or for steaking. My go to blade is the 9 inch Flex blade for filleting a salmon in a flash. I can literally fillet a salmon in just a minute.

    The knife fits your hand great, which makes filleting a snap. Check out the video below of me filleting a coho salmon fast!

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    Successful halibut fishing depends on many things, but a core element is the techniques and how well they are performed. A fantastic method for one halibut area may not be effective for another.

    In previous posts I discuss halibut hot spots, setups, attractants, and even the migration of pacific halibut. Today I want to talk about halibut fishing techniques. Some popular, practical strategies for Pacific halibut are anchoring, drifting, and trolling.

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    Most of us read the WDFW fishing pamphlet, and for the most part, do not exactly understand WDFW authority. Fishermen who have been fishing for years have most likely encountered wildlife officers by means of a boat boarding. And if you have had your boat boarded you probably wonder exactly what authority do wildlife officers have. In this series, TITLE 77 RCW, I will be exploring different subjects as they relate to Title 77. I am hoping this series will help fishermen gain a solid understanding of the laws of WDFW and the authority of wildlife officers.

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    As you may have read in a recent post, the WDFW announced additional halibut fishing days. So I wanted to write a post on Pacific halibut migration. And how the migration lines up to the the WDFW seasons. So here we go……

    Alaska’s Right-eye Flounder

    Pacific halibut is a popular fish for eating and fishing. Halibut meat is lean and finely textured, versatile for various cooking methods. Their considerable size makes them an attractive target for sports anglers. There’s nothing like it when a big flatty hits the deck!

    With various restrictions and regulations in place for fishing Pacific halibut, determined anglers need to be knowledgeable about specific elements of Pacific halibut like traits and migration routes.

    For successful fishing, these anglers must first equip their knowledge with an understanding of their prey’s nature. 

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    Snatelum Point

    My absolute favorite place to crab is actually Puget Sound Crabbing Marine Area 8-1, which is off of Whidbey Island near Coupeville, called Snatelum Point. You can literally toss your crab pots out among many other crab pots but still you will be assured your crab pots will be full after only a couple hours of soaking. I’m not sure what it is about this place but the Dungeness crab are thick. I usually only get up to area Marine area 8-1 about once as I am boating up to the Whidbey Island Arts Festival to meet friends. If you’re located in this area that is a great crabbing spot you will limit out for sure. Look for Snatelum Point on your GPS.

    Puget Sound Crabbing - Area 8-1 Snatelum Point
    Puget Sound Crabbing – Area 8-1 Snatelum Point
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    Additional halibut days, woo-hoo! WDFW announces additional halibut fishing days.

    “Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) areas will open to all-depth halibut fishing for three additional days in August and three days in September including the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day weekend. Open dates are:  Friday, Aug. 19; Thursday, Aug. 25; Sunday, Aug. 28; Saturday, Sept. 3; Sunday, Sept. 4 and Friday, Sept. 23.   

    Additional halibut days for the Neah Bay and La Push (Marine Areas 3 and 4) will open on Thursday, August 11, five days per week, Thursday through Monday. Starting Sept. 6, the Neah Bay and La Push will be open seven days per week. 

    Puget Sound (Marine Areas 5 – 10) will reopen on Thursday, Aug. 11, seven days per week. Halibut is quota-managed and the season runs through Sept. 30 or when the quota is taken.”

    Be sure to check your WDFW regulations and emergency rules for any updates.

    Hook em’ deep!

    Additional halibut days in August and September


    When is the best time to fish? When you have a day off, right?  For most of us that is reality, but you may also want to take into consideration some factors that will help you catch more fish. Let’s say for example you have 3 days off and you plan to fish one of those days? Which day should you go to have the best chance at landing some nice fish?

    I like to look at the factors in order, starting with weather and the swell (if applicable), because if you have 30 knot winds and an 8 foot swell all the other factors really don’t matter.

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    How does the moon effect fishing?

    About 100 years ago a man named John Alden Knight experimented with a theory as he researched variables that were believed to affect the behavior and feeding habits of animals, including fish. He started with 33 different variables that affect fish and game and by the time he was done eliminating the variables, there were only three left: the sun, the moon, and the tides. These 3 variables showed strong correlation to the behavior of fish and game.

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    One of my favorite places to fish (that is not saltwater) is Lake Washington for cutthroat trout in the winter. It took me a little while to figure out how to catch these fish, but once I did I can now consistently catch them.

    Set Ups

    he secret to catching Lake Washington Cutthroat is not tackle. Most trout anglers know that small dodgers and spoons work well. However, my go-to set up for Lake Washington cutthroats is a Mack’s Sling Blade Dodger (usually green) and a Brad’s Mini Cut Plug (usually the MCP-14 or MCP-37). However, you can also run a dodger and small spoon or Wedding Ring. A good spoon that I have had luck with is the Fire Tiger or the Krocodile, but I’m sure any good small spoon would work.

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    Being a detail-oriented fisherman can certainly have its benefits. Paying attention to the little things can make the difference between catching fish and not catching fish. As ‘they’ say “preparation is separation” and nothing could be truer. If you are unprepared and having to tie up tackle, sharpen hooks, or mess around with putting line on your reel, then you likely do not have your line in the water fishing. Spend some time, write a list, or do whatever you have to do to be prepared. Think of all the things you need to ahead of your fishing trip that will keep your line in the water.

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    If you’re like me, you like to take multi-day fishing trips and camp on your boat. Those are some of the funnest trips. Or sometimes you find yourself with no moorage available and you need to anchor. This has happened to me before salmon fishing at Neah Bay and Sekiu. Part of staying on your boat also means having fish in possession. Maybe you clean your fish for the day and put it in the cooler. Then after multiple days of fishing, you seal and freeze your fish when you get home. If you do this, you should be aware that the rule book (WDFW Annual Fishing Pamphlet or Sport Fishing Rules) is confusing and contradictory on this subject……no surprise, right?

    In the Washington State Sport Fishing Rules (Effective July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023) you will find two different rules for possessing fish that you need to be aware of.

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    I don’t know about you but one of my favorite places to fish for big Chinook in the Puget Sound is Marine Area 9 Possession Bar. Marine area 9 is opening this Thursday, July 14 and includes Possession Bar and a lot of other hot spots around Whidbey Island. Over the years I have caught some of my biggest Puget Sound kings trolling Possession Bar, with the East and West banks, the Tin Shed, and the Bait Box. My last big king I actually caught in the middle of possession bar which can also hold fish.

    On the East and West sides of Possession Bar are deep drop offs where you will find Salmon hanging around the edges to ambush bait. Along the West side I like to start all the way back by the end of Whidbey Island and troll down about 100 to 200 feet deep all the way to the end of the bar. Of course you want to troll with the tide, north to south.

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    Albacore Trip? Here’s 4 Good Plans for You and Your Friends to Help You Prepare for Tuna Catching Scenarios.

    Preparation is separation….as they say. Be ready for a wide open bite. Be ready to turn your troll into filling your boat full of tuna. 

    As captain of your vessel you need to prepare your team of friends and turn them into a tuna catching machine.

    Check out our 1-page tuna catching tip sheets. You and your friends read these ahead of time and and you will all be prepared.

    Tuna Trolling

    Tuna Scenarios

    Tuna Chumming

    Tuna Casting/ Jigging


    Well, I’m about to tell you! With help from our friends at WDFW.

    I stumbled on to this great map called Salmon Scape. Check it out! I may help with your Puget Sound saltwater fishing trips.

    Salmon Scape is an interactive map that shows all streams and rivers with salmon spawning, rearing, or a presence (depending on which map controls you select).

    Start by clicking on and expanding “fish distribution” to see:

    • Summer Chinook Streams
    • Fall Chinook Streams
    • Coho Streams
    • Summer Chum Streams
    • Fall Chum Streams
    • Winter Chum Stream
    • Sockeye Streams
    • Pink Salmon (Even Year) Streams
    • Pink Salmon (Odd Year) Streams
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    Finally! Its starting to feel like summer. As of this writing we had two straight days of gorgeous sunshine. It’s time to fish (more).

    Be sure to check your WDFW regulations and emergency rules for any updates

    Marine Area 1 – Ilwaco will be open daily from June 25

    Marine Area 2 – Westport opens on July 2

    Marine Area 3 & 4 – La Push / Neah Bay open daily for salmon retention beginning June 18

    Marine area 5 and 6 – opens July 1

    Marine area 8-2 – Tulalip Bubble open Fridays to Mondays effective May 27th

    Marine area 9 – opens July 16

    Marine area 10 – Central Puget Sound around Seattle and Bremerton opens June 16th

    Marine are 11 – opens July 1 through September 30

    Marine Area 13 – open year-round for salmon

    Be sure to check your WDFW regulations and emergency rules for any updates


    Marine Area 13 receives two chinook returns. The spring Chinook (king) salmon run arrive in June and July in the south sound making their way to return to Minter Creek hatchery. The fall chinook (king) salmon run arrives about a month after the spring chinook, also destined for Minter.

    Similar to the Area 13 black mouth fishery, you can find the AREA 13 spring and fall chinook returns in all the obvious places, including: the shoreline by Tacoma Narrow Park, Point Fosdick, Fox Point, the shoreline between Fox Point and Gibson Point, and of course Gibson Point.

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    Knowing exactly what you are seeing on our fish finder is sort of an art. You have to know how your sonar works. You need to know how your sonar is configured. You need to know what kind of fish and bait are in the environment and how those fish and bait interact in the environment. Lastly, you need to know what your sonar looks like while your boat is stopped or moving.

    Understand how your sonar works

    Read the manual, watch manufacture videos, and do a bit of research on your sonar unit. Know what kind of cones your unit uses and how to control the contrast and sensitivity and generally configure your sonar. As an example, know how your units white marker works. This is a feature that let’s you select one color on the color palette and turn it bright white. You can use the white marker to turn the bottom and background bright white so any bait, fish, or other targets are very easy to see.

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    If you bottom fish in the Puget Sound, straits, or in the ocean, you need to know how to set up for bottom fishing. Below are five great bottom fishing setups that are versatile for whatever type of bottom fishing you are doing.

    The spreader setup is good at keeping your baits separated and line from tangling up with your baits.

    The 3-way drop setup is great for drift fishing.

    The knocker setup is best to get live bait down while let it move around.

    The sliding sinker setup is also good for live baiting.

    The mooching setup is good for running herring or anchovies when targeting bottom fish ( and also salmon).

    bottom fish setups - sliding sinker rig and spreader rig
    bottom fish setups - 3 way drop rig and knocker rig
    bottom fish setups-mooching rig


    One of the best spots in Puget Sound marine area for black mouth is Marine area 5; Sekiu. Here I like to fish in 50 to 150’ of water all the way from Slip Point down to pillar Point. Here you will find plenty of opportunity for great black mouth action. In Sekiu you will find even bigger black mouth then other areas in the Puget Sound. I like to fish with green flasher and a larger green spoon usually 3 1/2 inches and troll near the bottom unless I see suspended bait and then I will troll at whatever level I’m seeing the fish and the bait. You can also troll back-and-forth in front of the caves which are always good for summer fish but also winter fish.


    Favorite Spot

    My favorite spot for Area 10 black mouth fishing is Kingston‘s Apple Tree Cove. Apple Tree Cove is just north of the ferries and south of the marina area 10/9 borderline. Here I like to work for Apple cove trolling east to west. Trolling east to west lets you work the entire area without worrying about which way the tide is going and which way you have to troll. In Apple Cove I limited many times, even with some larger fish in the mix. At this location I like to fish black, both a black flasher and black spoon. Remember black doesn’t change color the deeper you go…..it stays black. Other colors will change and then eventually disappear the deeper you fish ‘em. Remember at this location stay alert and be cautious of the ferries.

    trolling Kingston Apple Cove Map
    Kingston, WA Apple Tree Cove Salmon Fishing
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    Marine Area 11

    For Marina 11, there are lots of options. One of my favorite places for black mouth fishing and Marine area 11 is Quartermaster Harbor.

    In quartermaster Harbor I like to fish along the southern shelf. Here you can fish between 60 and 130 feet of water deep. Again, if you don’t see much bait don’t give up. Keep an eye open for those angled marks on your sonar that are right on the bottom.

    Continue reading


    Winter black mouth fishing isn’t for the slight of heart. When you’re winter black mouth fishing you’re bearing bad weather, rain, fog, wind, and you have to find a Point to hide behind in order to fish. Often times you have to put in many hours just to get one or two fish that are keepers. But winter black mouth fishing can be very rewarding if you put in the time to figure out the different holes that hold fish.

    There are many areas in the Puget Sound which have good black mouth fishing. Starting further south, area 13 offers great black mouth fishing around Point Fosdick and, Fox Point, and Gibson Point.

    Fishing Point Fosdick you will want to do this when the tides and currents lighter the day you are fishing. However, the night before you want to look for a good heavy tide pushing the bait into the area.

    You can troll this area from anywhere from 50 to 100 feet deep along the shoreline and around the corner of Point Fosdick.  Always try to troll with the tide or across the tide if you can.

    Continue reading


    About 20 miles from the Ilwaco jetty is a great halibut spot. Not only can you catch halibut, but also big canary rockfish and lingcod.

    This Ilwaco halibut spot is on the south side of Astoria Canyon. And even though you can catch halibut nearby, you want to be right on the spot with all the boats clustered together in order to get the best action. You will see other boats and charter boats close together and there is a reason why. Halibut like sand, gravel, and also shale. If you notice the chart below, you will see markings for sand “S” and also markings for shale (normally “SH”, but this chart spells out “shale”. But there’s another factor here to pay attention to. It is the cluster of boats and therefore the cluster of baits and scents that will attract the halibut and other game fish into a concentrated area. So, if you are fishing this area with a few boats, you can spread out and fish the shale and sand next to the edge. But if there are a lot of boats, you may want to join them. As 20 or 30 boats and their baits will bring the halibut into a small area and away from the outlier boats.


    A gangion setup for halibut fishing offers two baits, two hooks and gives you a chance for a double hookup. Also, with two baits the gangion setup will put twice as much scent into the water.

    You can use tuna cord or heavy monofilament for your gangion rig. Shown below is a monofilament gangion.

    You will need heavy monofilament (150lb+), heavy corkscrew and barrel swivels, crimpers and a crimping kit.

    Continue reading


    The splitter bar setup is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fish for halibut. I like to rig a splitter bar set up and fish a large horse herring with a large halibut hoochie on top of it. See splitter bar setup below.

    It’s not shown in the picture below, but I like to take a couple old spoons and attached them to the swivel right above the lead ball. This is an extra rattling noise that may attract a halibut.

    Below is a typical set I would run off of a splitter bar. I tie my own circle hooks and then put a spin glow on top for extra action.

    There’s a reason why commercial fisherman use circle hooks. Millions of pounds of halibut are caught every year and it is the circle hook that is used. Don’t get me wrong there are times where you should use a j-hook with halibut, and sometimes a combination of both a circle hook and a j hook.


    For a good salmon setup lot of anglers prefer to use the cannonball sinker setup when fishing Columbia River’s Buoy 10. Below is a typical setup I like to run. I put a slider with a snap swivel for my cannonball, then I will run a 24″ heavy mono line to an Shortbus inline flasher. Then from the flasher back to the lure I will run 36″ heavy mono; 30-40lb. See actual photo of setup and sketch below.

    Instead of the Shortbus inline flasher you can use an 11 inch traditional flasher; I prefer Pro Troll flashers for my Buoy 10 salmon cannonball setup. And instead of using the Brads Killerfish you can use a Brads Cutplug.

    I prefer to stuff the lure full of oil packed tuna or something similar (garlic tuna) to get the fishes attention. The oil in the tuna will release the tuna scent slowly and disperse throughout the water column.

    This has proven to be a killer Buoy 10 salmon setup that no salmon can resist!!

    picture of buoy 10 cannonball setup

    picture of buoy 10 cannonball setup


    Are you looking for a place to bottom fish in the south Puget Sound, then try KVI tower. Located within Tramp Harbor and just off the KVI tower there is a reef. The KVI tower reef is popular with divers so be careful if you see dive boats with the dive flag out. And if you’re fishing this area be sure to get there early in the season especially before the two week dive spearing season is open. KVI tower bottom fishing has lots to offer, you can catch lingcod, greenling, rockfish, and an occasional cabezon.

    Consult Washington Fish and Game for more information on bottom fishing species and seasons to see which fish you can legally retain.

    Warning: As of this writing using barbed hooks for bottom fish was illegal due to protections on rockfish. Be sure consult Washington Fish and Game to determine which types of hooks to use.

    Also, be sure to properly release bottom fish with a salt water descending device.

    kvi tower bottom fishing map


    Alki Reef is another great place in the central Puget Sound for lingcod and bottom fishing. I’ve seen lingcod come out of this hole that were bigger than the max keeper size. Again you have to be careful when drifting the structure or you will get hung up. The last time I fished Alki Reef I caught a very large black rockfish. Of course I could not keep it, but it was great to see that those black rock fish are starting to show up in the Puget Sound after all these years of rockfish being shut down.

    Also, be sure to properly release bottom fish with a salt water descending device.

    Alki reef bottom fish map


    There are two great spots for bottom fish in the central Puget Sound but you have to get there early as the lingcod tend to get fished out. The first spot is fishing the structures on the south side of Blake Island. If the drift is right in the current isn’t too strong you can do a nice drift from east to west over the structure here. I was once told that the structure is a sunken floating Bridge but never could confirm that. Nonetheless if you drift this do it with herring, a swim bait, or any other lures you know a lingcod would go after. I’ve heard of some people also fishing live hearing or live Sandabs, but check your regulations before you do something with live bait. Slack Tide is probably the best time to fish this area has the currents that whip around Blake island begin to calm down. As a rule thumb you want to be fishing in an hour before and an hour after Slack Tide. Keep in mind rockfish in this area are not open and you’ll need to to properly release bottom fish with a salt water descending device.

    blake island bottom fish map


    Bottom fishing in Neah Bay is by far some of the best bottom fishing you will find in the northwest. My favorite spot is right off of Mushrooms Rock in about 50 to 90 foot of water. There are lots of pinnacles where you will find rockfish, lingcod, Cabazon, and Many other varieties of bottom fish. I like to drift over the pinnacles using a herring, swim baits, or Berkeley saltwater gulp swim baits. If you were concentrating just on Rockfish you can also use A double fly set up and pull up to the time.

    If you want to head south out of Neah Bay for good bottom fishing, one of the best spots is just outside of Neah Bay. Starting around Dtokah Point and drifting east towards Sail and Seal rock you’ll pick up some nice rockfish and lingcod. Just passed the big rock there is a wreck which is partially exposed so you need to be careful especially in low Tide. Here you can pick up big lingcod but again be careful of your surroundings and keep an eye on the sonar as the sunken ships mast is only 10 or 15 feet below the waterline on low tides. Also there is an abundance of kelp hung off this rack so you’ll have to be careful not to lose your gear in the calf or on the shipwreck itself. In this spot I have caught ocean sized lingcod and really nice big black rockfish. Again, here you can use herring swim baits or gulp.

    Also, be sure to properly release bottom fish with a salt water descending device.


    If you are unable to make it offshore for rockfish, don’t worry. You can fish for rockfish inside the river on the south and north jetties.

    My favorite spot is the south jetty. It is about half way up the south jetty and there is a large hump. It can be great fishing, but be careful to have someone stay on the help at the controls in case you get too close to the rocks. Also, be careful traveling to the spot. There is a large sandbar in front of it and you will need to drive down the river then back up to avoid the sandbar (see graphic).

    The other spot I like to fish for rockfish is on jetty A. Some will call it the north jetty. You have to be careful here as well as there are exposed rocks from the sunken jetty.

    Also, be sure to properly release bottom fish with a salt water descending device.

    ilwaco rockfish


    I’ve had a lot of different tackle boxes over the years, but by far, the SKB box is one cool tackle box. Is great for salmon especially…….Check it out!

    This box is made of very strong molded plastic and has:

    • room for 4 tackle trays
    • a jig hanger area for up to 40 jigs
    • top section to allow for terminal equipment
    • and a plexiglass case area for whatever you want to put in it

    The box has a lifetime warranty….way cool!

    Hook ’em Deep!

    cool tackle boxes
    skb tackle box
    Holds a lot of Jigs


    One of the funnest fishes to catch and on many people’s bucket list is a Sturgeon. Fishing for Columbia River sturgeon is fairly simple, but you must have the right set up and also go to the right spot(s).

    • Setting up for Sturgeon
      • Rod – power should be heavy and I prefer an action medium/fast. I use a Trevala because it is a lite rod that is very strong. But many anglers like an ugly stick,
      • Reel – should have a heavy drag and holds lots of line. If you hook a large sturgeon be ready for a big fight and you will need the drag and line to fight the fish.
      • Line – some anglers prefer mono (e.g. 60-80 lb), but I prefer using braid with a mono or flouro top-shot.
      • Set up –
        • off my braid (or mono) mainline I put a slider with a bead to protect the my swivel knot.
        • I use a triangle weight, but you can also use a round weight (depends on the bottom which you are fishing)
        • you can use a 7/0-9/0 hook with a 24″ leader for a sandy bottom. Longer if you are fishing on rocks or need your bait to float up away from the weight further.

    Bait – you can use anchovy, herring, salmon eggs, squid, etc. No matter what bait I use I like soaking it or injecting it with Pro Cure Sturgeon Cocktail for best results.


    It’s a big ocean. That’s what you’re up against when you’re trying to find albacore tuna. You likely have to travel vast distances which cut your fishing window down. The trick is to identify where the tuna are before you even leave the dock.

    There’s multiple ways to do this. One of them is to have good solid reports or a network of friends to tell you where the tuner are. Another way to do this is to sign up for a website that will give you chlorophyll and sea surface temperature readings (e.g. Terrafin.com). Then what you do is look for brakes in the sea surface temperature usually when the temperature gets up to about 65° and climbs a couple degrees all at once then this could be an area where you would find tuna. This give you a place to start trolling. Then as you troll, you watch the sea surface temperature on your sonar unit for breaks. Also, you can watch for birds and jumpers. Or leverage the technology in most newer radars (called bird mode) and watch for birds with your electronics.


    At Robinson point in September there are two areas I like to fish. The first area is parallel to the shoreline east and west but out deeper in about 200 ft of water. I have found that for some reason The coho don’t seem to come in as close to the shoreline in this area. The second spot I like to troll is going north to South across the tides and current right at the point where the shoreline starts to open up into tramp Bay. I have found this very effective for catching coho while using a flasher a short leader and your favorite hoochie. For these fisheries I like to troll a white flasher and white hoochie  40 to 60 ft deep and move at a fast trolling speed about 3 mph.


    If I am running a splitter bar with a herring/hoochie (one of my go-to rigs) I like to add a bit of extra attractants to the setup.

    1. I add inline scent chambers that I like to stuff full of Butt Juice Gel or a dough bait (e.g. Fire Bait)
    2. I like to add some rattle by adding spoons that clip on with my lead and that will rattle against the lead underwater

    Halibut and Scent Trails

    When fishing for halibut a good scent trail is underwater is key. There are many different ways to put off a good scent trail.

    Scent Chambers

    One of the most basic ways to put off a scent trail on or around your bait is to use a scent chamber. This is a small device usually a tube that is installed in line with your fishing line or hooks or can be attached elsewhere on your halibut setup. Scent Chambers can be filled full of halibut nectar, Butt Juice, or even stuffed full of dough bait, which makes for a long lasting scent trail.

    Chum Bags

    If you are anchoring for halibut one of the best ways to set off a nice scent trail is to stuff a porous chum/bait bag or scent canister chamber full of bait or ground up bait, such as mackerel, herring, octopus, squid, salmon bellies, tuna bellies, etc. You can also pre-soak the bait in different mixtures of attractants (liquids or gels) to give the bait an extra punch.

    Make Your Own Scent

    Lots of folks like to make their own halibut scents and this can really pay off. For instance you can use a blender (one that your wife doesn’t also use, lol) and grind up all sorts of oily scent ingredients, e.g. salmon bellies, salmon eggs, etc to get a real good oily substance.

    Another option is to add mineral oil to salmon eggs and cook down the salmon eggs (on very low heat) into an oily consistency. Then strain off the chunks.

    Both these options are cheap and a good way to use up leftover baits and eggs from other fishing trips.


    Scenario #1 – Trolling

    • Trolling speed 4-8 knots. Adjust speed for best presentation
    • Some days the direction you are trolling will make a difference. If you are trolling north to sounth and it doesn’t work, try east to west
    • Put jigs farther back when deploying stern rods, keeping the side or outrigger rods in closer
    • Jigs can be as close as 25 feet back with the longest jigs back as far as 65 feet.  Keep them close and tight; 15 feet apart
    • Do not let jigs skip through the water
    • Keep eye out and fish by commercial fleet
    • Clean water coming off back of boat when trolling — Raise trim tabs all the way and put motors down all the way
    • Harmonics (engines running same rpm)

    When a Fish Strikes


    • If you have a fish hit a trolling rod, keep the boat moving for another 7 to 10 seconds for a chance at a 2nd or 3rd fish
    • Use a drop back rig with swimbait or iron — you have about 3 to 5 seconds to cast it in the exact direction of the fish that is hooked trolling

    Converting to Wide Open Bite


    • FISH ON!! Reel is Singing    within first 30 seconds↓↓
    • Person 1 (skipper)- throttles into neutral and then into reverse, keeps you closer to school
      • Person 2 throw chum — dip the bait net, scoop a handful of bait, then smack their hand against the back of the net to stun the bait and send them over the rail
    • Person 3 throw a drop back rig — using swim bait or iron — if they do not hook up, immediately put the rod in the rod holder and deploy live bait
    • Person 4 throw a drop back rig — using swim bait or iron — if they do not hook up, immediately put the rod in the rod holder and deploy live bait
    • Person 1– start loading live baits –
      • Loading a live bait — Hook bait through lower jaw and go up through their nose to help keep the mouth from opening when reeling back to the boat
    • Once you are hooked up with a live bait–
      • gather on the rail with wind at their face — boat should drift away from live bait
      •  spread out
      •  rod tip pointed toward swimming live bait
      •  FISH ON!! line is peeling fast — Count 5 seconds then slowly ease the lever drag to strike position (should be about halfway)
      • if fish goes under boat, back drag off completely and wait 30 seconds, when they swim back, run the drag back up
      • Follow the fish and try to keep line straight up and down
      • Tell the guy to your left or right that you are coming, go under or over him;keeping the lines from tangling
      • If you cross another’s line, pick up your rod and his rod and uncross the lines

    Scenario #2 – See Tuna on the Surface as the Boat is Moving

    • Tell the skipper to stop
    • Cast jig or swim-bait toward tuna
    • If jig, let it flutter free, let it drop to 45 degree angle—-reel it back as fast as you can
    • If swim-bait, let it drop and reel back slowly
    • Someone throw chum

    Scenario #3 –Seeing Tuna on the Fish Finder Below Surface

    • Drop jig, let it flutter free, let it drop to 45 degree angle—-reel it back as fast as you can


    Crabbing area 11

    Crabbing area 11 for Dungeness crab can be a little tricky. You have to get out early right when the season opens to get a hold of good Dungeness crab. After some time the Dungeness crab will be fished out this is due usually to a native American season that opens before the regular recreational season opens. If you don’t get out there early you will find mostly Red Rock crab in your pots.

    Good areas for Dungeness crabbing are quartermaster harbor, just north of dash point, and Tramp harbor. Don’t get me wrong there are other spots with good crabbing, you just have to find them. When I’m setting in tramp harbor I like to set right off the shoreline of the house with the big front yard on a hill.. you can’t miss it you will see this house. Not too many people crab tramp harbor even though it’s good, compared to other spots like quartermaster. Quartermaster harbor gets very busy with hundreds of pots but again if you get there early in the season you will get some good crab. Along the shoreline north of dash point all the way up until Des Moines Marina there are good crabbing areas. The key to finding a good crab area is to look for eel grass on the shoreline. Dungeness crab don’t usually go very deep you could set your pots from 30 to 100 feet deep. If you want to attract Dungeness crab rather than red rock crab avoid baits that have fish and use raw chicken. For some reason, unknown to me, really like the raw chicken.


    Catching albacore tuna off Washington’s coast is easy once you find the fish. Finding the fish in a big ocean is the hard part.

    One of the best ways to learn about catching albacore is from the Tuna Dog himself, Del Stephens.

    If you are just getting into Tuna fishing, The Dark Side by Del Stephens is a must read.

    I read the book twice. Once before I even ever hit the tuna grounds and then a second time to sharpen my skills.

    This book covers it all to help anglers get basic knowledge of fishing for albacore including: tuna gear, setting up tackle, how to find the fish, where to start fishing, how to troll, how to drop irons, how to live-bait.


    One of my favorite ways to prepare salmon is also the easiest.

    After a salmon is filleted I cut the salmon into steaks about 3-4 inches wide, depending on the thickness of the fish.

    Next, I will pull the steaks out of the fridge, place on a cutting board and skin the fish steaks.

    After skinning the fish, simply season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a little bit of dill. You can also use garlic salt instead of salt and garlic.

    Next, I will heat up a frying pan with olive oil to medium heat. If there is a layer of fat on the fish from skinning, you can use less oil as the fish will actually create its own oil in the pan from the fat layer.

    Then I simply cook fish, watching it closely from the side to see that it is cooking all the way through. Be careful not to over cook.

    This method of cooking salmon makes the fish taste like salmon in a nice restaurant.



    If you fish a lot you know how important it is to have a good sealer. A good sealer will help your fish last up to 2+ years in the freezer.

    Chamber Sealers

    There are many different brands of sealers, all having their pros and cons. But if you can afford the investment, a chamber sealer might be the way to go. Chamber sealers have been used in commercial kitchens for years and are by far the best sealers.

    Instead of pulling the air out of the bag a chamber sealer pulls the air out of the entire chamber.

    One of the best chamber sealers on the market is the VacMaster. However, these sealers are not cheap. But over time they will pay off as you can buy 1000 4-mil bags for about $50.

    Cheaper Chamber Sealers

    If you don’t want to spend $1000+ for a sealer there are plenty of alternatives to the VacMaster ranging from $300 on up. But do your research before buying.

    Here’s my sealer. It’s the knock-off version of Vacmaster. I paid about $300 dollars and as you can see it seals fish nicely just like the Vacmaster.


    I love to smoke salmon! And it is easy to do if you have a decent smoker.


    I use Char-Broil 17202004 Digital Electric Smoker, Deluxe, Silver because it is compact, easy to use, and has double wall construction. Overall, it makes for a pretty good smoker for the price range. No matter which smoker you use, smoking salmon is very simple. The method I use is a dry rub with salt and brown sugar.

    Types of Salmon

    I like to smoke winter black mouth salmon because usually they are smaller and are great smoker size. Next I would smoke Pink salmon and Chum salmon and save the Coho and Chinook for table fare.

    Simple Smoking Method

    1. Make sure your fish is dry. Pat it dry with paper towels if needed.
    2. Mix 4 cups brown sugar with 1 cup kosher salt. Make sure it is mixed well.
    3. Put your fish, skin side down, in glass casserole dishes (1.5-2 in deep).
    4. Completely coat the top (meat side) of the fish with the sugar/salt mixture.
    5. Cover the fish tightly with plastic wrap,
    6. Refrigerate. Depending on how salty (or not salty) you want your fish determines how long you will leave your fish in the refrigerator. If you want you smoked salmon less salty, about two hours in the refrigerator. Medium saltiness, 4 hours. Very salty (if you are making smoked fish dip), overnight.
    7. After you remove your fish from the refrigerator, you will want to rinse the sugar/salt mixture off every piece really well with cold water.
    8. Next lay your fish out on racks. I use the racks from my smoker to lay all the fish out.
    9. Next place a fan so it blows on all the fish. You will want the fan to blow on the fish for at least 2 hours until the fish has a tacky texture.
    10. Smoke. With a preheated smoker, smoke the fish for 2 hours. Read the manual of your smoker to know how long to exactly smoke your fish.
    Beautiful! This is my salmon right before it goes into the smoker.