By: Mike Ainsworth

Chinook retention has expired for the year in Puget Sound. Fortunately, there’s still plenty of coho around for anglers to target. I’m expecting this fishery to persist through September and am basing this around the number of coho still holding in the straits. Due to the lack of rain we’ve had reports pin large schools of coho up north. They haven’t migrated down into the Sound yet.

While our Puget Sound king run was above average the coho run seems to be in line with what we are used to. This means there’s plenty of opportunity for recreational anglers to catch salmon. I’m fishing Area 10, which is open to hatchery and wild retention. Nearby Area 9 is only open to hatchery retention. As always make sure to check current regulations prior to fishing. They do change often.

Usually this time of year we find larger coho stockpiled together, but we haven’t seen stable numbers of large coho yet. I think larger coho are on the way, but those fish haven’t migrated in mass numbers to the Sound. I think those bigger fish are in the ocean feeding and waiting for the rain. The salmon we are targeting now are running six-to-seven pounds on average. Our larger fish are pushing 10 to 12 pounds with a couple in the low to mid teens. There seems to be a few more large fish that have showed these last few days, so hopefully that is a good sign of things to come.

Silvers don’t hold to structure like the kings do so the tides aren’t as important. You can catch silvers in between the tides and on the tides. Catching them is straightforward. We are trolling Fire Brine herring, spoons tipped with strips of herring and or hoochies tipped with herring. As you can tell herring stimulates bites. I’ve been using all Natural Fire Brine herring. Bait is vital to success, but we are also trolling Silver Horde spoons coated with Liquid Krill.

Whereas tide doesn’t matter trolling speed and leader lengths play a big part in success. I’m trolling up to 3.5 mph and averaging 3 mph. Our leader lengths are as short as 30 inches and as long as 34 inches and I’m running behind a Pro Troll E-Chip flasher. I prefer a stiffer leader so you get more action out of the flasher. To achieve this I’m running 40-pound fluorocarbon.

Editor’s Note: Mike Ainsworth operates First Light Guide Service. For more info on his Puget Sound salmon trips please visit