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Thread: PNW Winter Fishing

  1. #1
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    Default PNW Winter Fishing

    Anyone here do much of that? Iím not a fisherman but wouldnít mind learning a bit about some that would fit my circumstances. I have a boat for which I would like to find more reasons to use in the winter. Itís easy for me to take the boat out into Shilshole bay on a winter morning, but I usually just make a cup of coffee out in the middle and then return. Seems like I should be fishing. But I know very little about the rules and techniques, and I donít want to add a bunch of equipment to the boat like downriggers and such. And I have NO desire to just torture fish for my entertainment by catch and release. If I catch something, I want to take it home and eat it.

    And my boat doesnít troll well as itís idle speed is about 3-1/2 knots, unless I put it in and out of gear constantly. So it seems like a form of jigging(?) would work? Would it work? Would it be legal on any winter morning? Should I look for a different hobby?

  2. #2
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    I'll be interested to see what advice you get. I used to surfcast in the winter. Mostly from the Columbia south jetty, or the beaches of Clatsop Spit further south.

    Mostly caught surfperch. With the occasional rockfish, small flounder or lingcod.

    My first thought would be to go after lingcod. Great eating, and in your situation, I'd rig a line so I could drift a bit and bounce bait along the bottom. Look up 'fishing for lingcod' for more.

    Don't know if WA has any sort of winter salmon or sturgeon season.
    David G
    Harbor Woodworks
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    "It was a Sunday morning and Goddard gave thanks that there were still places where one could worship in temples not made by human hands." -- L. F. Herreshoff (The Compleat Cruiser)

  3. #3
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    Get the book: https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations

    Then, Google Buzz Bombs.

    Not that I’ve had any luck, but I’ve witnessed people catching actual salmon in Puget Sound off Vashon.
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

  4. #4
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    What about winter crabbing?

    Now that I am retired, I think I will start taking advantage of the winter crab openings.

    In my case, it will likely work like this: take the boat out and drop a pot or two south of Hat Island, putt around the island (no point in running at cruising speed, 1600 rpm is a good speed and reduces the fuel consumption) pull the pots and head back to the dock.
    Last edited by Bobcat; 11-26-2022 at 12:59 PM.
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  5. #5
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    toss crab pots.

    putz around, drink coffee, relax.

    pull crab pots.

    repeat as desired.

    eta:yes, what about winter crabbing?

  6. #6
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    jigging for rockfish and lingcod is a refreshing wintertime activity.

    all you need is a rod and reel and a few things with hooks on them.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    all you need is a rod and reel and a few things with hooks on them
    Barbless in Puget Sound.
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

  8. #8
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Barbless in Puget Sound.
    I think that’s why a gave up on this the last time I tried it, too many rules. The camel’s back straw last time was when I realized I couldn’t bring a fish over the gunnel until I knew what color it’s tongue was. Leaning that far over the gunnel with a rod in one hand and a net in the other to look at a fish’s tongue seemed like a recipe for a swim. And I used to crab, but now the legal days and areas have diminished to pretty narrow.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    salmon is the worst for regs, and washington state patrol is the worst for enforcement.

    i recall one day they hovered on the fleet off cape disappointment, on a day when there was zero action. we got the first to hook up, they pulled up on us as we were netting the fish, dealing with crossed lines, trying to keep a little way on for our gear. completely ruined the possibility of catching more. total jackwagons. they inspected all our gear, licenses, even wanted to see in our coolers. again, no fish being caught, and they knew it. onboard for twenty minutes. we were legal, clean, and knew what we were doing. and that was the only fish we hooked, or saw caught, all day. i never went north out of the columbia again.

    bottom fish is generally more low key. although if you are really keen on catching, it can be a bit strenuous, on a windy day especially, staying over reef structure. and then there is barotrauma to deal with when releasing restricted species of rockfish...bah! why bother, right?

  10. #10
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    My son and I have been trolling for king salmon (with a guide) near Anacortes in February. I think its a short season for resident kings. We were fortunate that day and he landed and released a 35-pounder. That was probably 5 years ago.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing


  12. #12
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    So I did not buy a crab license this year. I am not sure I want to buy a license for the month of December.

    Does anyone know if the Puget Sound crab season will be open in early 2023?
    What's not on a boat costs nothing, weighs nothing, and can't break

  13. #13
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing


    It was in the high 30's out there and less than inviting this morning, but I guess if you have a nice snug cabin it might not be so bad. Gale warning yesterday, small craft advisory today... you would really need to be ready to go when a decent day happens to roll around. But Winter Solstice is what, 24 days away? Things will start looking up again soon!

    After thumbing through the regulations booklet I decided to stick with casual crabbing during the summer and the occasional shrimp day in the spring.
    Steve

    If you would have a good boat, be a good guy when you build her - honest, careful, patient, strong.
    H.A. Calahan

  14. #14
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    Aye, there’s the rub. The regulations dictate where and when you can fish, and that might not agree with the weather and inclination to go out on the spur of the moment. The cold and rain doesn’t bother me, but I no longer like the wind since I don’t have a boat with sails anymore.

  15. #15
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    Don’t fish!

    Get yourself a GoPro put it in a watertight case, tie it on your line, put something flashy and stinky above it. Go out to where others are fishing and pop it over the side.
    Have your coffee, listen to some music, have a sandwich and reel it in.
    Go home, pop the SD card into your PC and see if you caught anything.
    ITS CHAOS, BE KIND

  16. #16
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    For the OP, possibly tow a drogue to slow down, or drift across likely bottom?

  17. #17
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    Default Re: PNW Winter Fishing

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Bow View Post
    Don’t fish!

    Get yourself a GoPro put it in a watertight case, tie it on your line, put something flashy and stinky above it. Go out to where others are fishing and pop it over the side.
    Have your coffee, listen to some music, have a sandwich and reel it in.
    Go home, pop the SD card into your PC and see if you caught anything.
    Now that’s an idea worth considering. Don’t have to clean the fish either.

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