Total wild guess: There will be pinks in the lower Puyallup when it opens tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 16.
OK, so that’s not exactly crazed speculation.
A) There are copious amounts of humpies in the saltwater below the mouth of the Pierce County river.
And B) Anglers are already catching ’em in the glacial-flour waters of the Puyallup above there.
Jason Brooks, Northwest Sportsman‘s Tacoma-area detector of all things fishy, was on the open stretch of the river near Meridian Street bridge in the town of Puyallup with his buddy and their young sons and reports a number hauled away to local barbecues and smokers.
WDFW’s freshly minted weekly catch stats today show 457 brought back to the Redondo ramp and 249 to the Point Defiance launch on Saturday.
If I’m reading the state creel data correctly — and I’m warning you, the burger I had for lunch is making me pretty drowsy and this cup o’ Joe ain’t kicking in very fast so I could be wrong — the Redondo tally might be the best for this time period all the way back through 2001.
Other areas of Puget Sound are seeing strong catches as well, though maybe behind 2009’s.
While the Puyallup from Freeman Road to the Carbon River has been open since Aug. 1, the stretch from the 11th St. Bridge just off Commencement Bay up to Freeman opens manana. Here’s Brooks report from just above there:
“It’s like somebody flicked a switch on!
I hit the Puyallup River on Saturday morning for an hour near the confluence of the White River and only saw one fish hooked up, and lost by a fellow fisherman. Then on Sunday afternoon I got a call from my fishing buddy, Brian Chlipala, who said that the hole a bit lower in the river off of North Levee Road just downstream of the Meridian Street Bridge was on fire.
I was like, yeah, right, I’ve heard this before — after all yesterday sucked.
Sure enough, droves of fisherman were lined up shoulder to shoulder and several had fish on!
We let the boys hang out on the beach, throwing rocks, poking guts, and splashing in the shallows, which is what kids are suppose to do in August (not sit inside and play video games, thanks Mother Nature for this crappy summer…). It wasn’t long and Brian — who thought it would be fun to use a trout rod — hooked up.
At the end of the day I went two for four … I must say so far this year these pinks are a bit bigger than the last run that came through in ’09. Adam had a heck of a time holding up the two fish for a photo, but he was all smiles.
A few guys on the river even handed their rods off to Adam to reel in some fish for fun, and stated, “That’s what pink fishing is all about.”
It is already your usual combat fishery in the open waters above Freeman Road. But when the lower river opens tomorrow it should give the fisherman a bit more elbow room, and let’s hope nobody flips the switch off.
Brooks explains that the advantage to tomorrow’s opener is “two-fold” — first crack at fresh fish milling around the river and the chance for a bit more elbow room for anglers above there.
As for what he was using yesterday, he ran a test between two ways to drift fish, one more legitimate than the other.
“I used a size 12 red rocket Corky and a piece of cerise glo bug yarn on a size 2 hook and about 3 feet of leader. I then refused to sweep my gear or yank on the slide, and man they hammered it! I only set the hook once the grab was so strong that I had to set it to keep my rod from being yanked from my hands,” Brooks says. “All four fish I hooked were inside the mouth, not on the outside. I will admit, even in the glacial silty water I was a bit surprised.”
He says that the man next to him hooked 10, but on a long leader with a sliding weight setup.