I see that there are sockeye crossing the bonneville dam. I checked the ODFW special regulations. Open between tongue point to I5 bridge May 16 - July 31 and I5 to bonneville June 16 - July 31. But I never hear anybody talking about catching sockeye. :shrug:
with numbers being so low, I won't consider targeting them. Neat to know there are still some around though, that's encouraging. Lake Washington near seattle is the place to check out, when they open it. Can be a blast!
From what I have read about sockeye, especially in the Columbia, they are notoriously poor biters. Perhaps you could do okay down in the estuary trolling, but I have only heard of a few incidentally caught. Those that are picked up are usually by steelhead anglers up near Bonneville. As I recall most of these fish are headed toward the Wenatchee and one other reservoir in Washington. (Sockeye spawn in lakes) And of course the 60-100 Idaho fish that are trying to propogate the species.
I guess the fishery in the spawning lakes can be pretty good.
And yes, Lake Washington can be hot if it opens. One of the popular methods for sockeye on Lake Wasington is trolling a flasher/dodger with about a 12" leader and a BARE red or pink hook off downriggers. The apparent logic is that it looks like a 'shrimp'. Lake Washington doesn't open until they have achieved their escapement goal of around 300,000 fish. If that number isn't reached, they don't open the fishery. WDFW has some pretty good info on it and usually has a "fish cam" watching the fish coming through Ballard Locks (i think that is where it is.) :wink:
I have been fishing the Lake Washington Sockeye for many years. My dad used to take me out when I was a Teen over 20 years ago. We would use big orange flatfish with about 8 big treble hooks on them. Talk about net tanglers. We had some very good days and some very slow days. I now fish the lake when open for sockeye using two 4/0 red gamakatsu hooks tied about and inch apart on 50 pound leader. All this about 14 inches behind a dodger. A flasher has to much action. You need the heavy test because the fish roll over and over and will break the line on the edge of the dodger. We caught 14 sockeye last year in three days spending maybe 5 hours on the water each day. Troll as slow as you can alot of times we would just drift with the wind.
You think Bouy 10 is a zoo, come on up to Lake WA sometime for the sockeye opener. :shocked: :shocked:
Couple buddies of mine did it once. They said it's such a mad house trying to get into the water they're not going back.
These same guys hit the Hood Canal shrimp season and the bouy 10 opener every year without a gripe.
Erich, I can't believe you didn't mention the gillnetters!
The gillnetters are the only ones I know who catch sockeye in the Columbia. Some years they give them a very brief opener for "bluebacks". A guy I know got about 100 of them last year (probably wiped out the Idaho run) and they were all very small - 3-5 lbs max. Great eating fish though.
You're much better off to buy that Copper River Sockeye for $15 a lb. at Freddy's because it's the "best eating salmon in the world" according to that old cracker on their radio ads.... :hoboy:
Go up to Bonnie dam and plunk spin go with sand shrimp. Most people do that are fishing for steelhead but seem to pick up an "ok" amount of reds.
I was up there steelheading a few years ago and seen 3 or 4 reds picked up by the bankies.
Just my 2 cents tho, I think you should leave them fish a lone. Go up North if you want to fish them reds.