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”.