Washington’s Snohomish Coho: Limited Season Opens Today

By: Todd Daniels

For the last year we’ve been hearing about expected historical low returns of coho in Puget Sound. However, the forecast was wrong and we’re seeing fishable numbers of these feisty silvers in many of our Puget Sound rivers. Fortunately for us living in the Central Puget Sound the decision was made yesterday to give us a limited opening on the Snohomish system. While it’s not clear if they will extend the opening, it’s still an opportunity to catch chrome, energetic coho in our backyard.

If indications from the rest of the state (where coho are open to retention) hold true on the Snohomish expect to see much larger coho than last year. The fish last year were starved. There was no feed in the ocean, but there’s an abundance of food out there and it’s showing on the fish. We’ve been seeing quality fish on nearby rivers.


Here’s what you need to know to catch silvers now.

At press time we are dealing with low and clear water conditions, which means stealth will be the key to getting these fish to bite. We are going to start off with bobber dogging or drifting bobbers and eggs in the deeper holes. You want to keep your boat away from the fish and if you’re on the bank stay away from the river’s edge. Longer casts are a must to get these fish to bite.


With that said fish are going to be in all the usual spots. This means the deeper holes and the frog water are going to be holding the most fish, which is why the bobber and eggs are so effective. The shallow tailouts won’t be holding salmon.


My starting lineup will be eggs. I’m going to bring a couple of different cures with me. I’ll bring both Pink and Red Fire Cure eggs and let the fish tell me which ones they want. For the last decade I’ve learned they’ll bite one of these two cures, and maybe both, everyday.


Right now I’m going to be using 8-pound Izorline leader while the water is still low and clear. However, if the rain we’re hearing about arrives this weekend I’ll bump up all my gear and likely switch to 10-pound leaders. I’ll use 10 or 12 pound as a mainline, usually Hi-Vis Izorline.

Editor’s Note: Todd Daniels operates Tall Tails Guide Service. For more information on his guided Puget Sound coho trips please visit http://talltailsguideservice.com.


Regulations from Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife:

*Effective dates and times: Night closure in effect (fishing is open one hour before sunrise to one hour before sunset). Open to coho fishing Thursday through Sunday, Sept. 29 through Oct. 2, and Thursday through Sunday, Oct. 6 through Oct. 9.


*Locations and rules: Snohomish River (Snohomish County) from the mouth (Burlington-Northern Railroad bridges) (including all channels, sloughs, and interconnected waterways, but excluding all tributaries) upstream to confluence of the Skykomish and Snoqualmie rivers.

*Anti-snagging rules apply.

*Salmon, minimum size 12 inches, daily limit 2 coho only.

*All species other than coho must be released.