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The caboose on the pink-salmon train that stretches from the western Strait of Juan de Fuca clear into Puget Sound is nowhere in sight just yet.

That is good news for anglers who at first wondered if the forecast of six-plus million pinks was a bust or just coming in later than expected.

“The pink fishery in the Skagit River started off with a bang and then it cooled off, but the last week or so it has been pretty good,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

“I’m not sure the bulk of the run has arrived yet,” Barkdull added. “The pinks are just trickling in and seem to be in not much of a hurry, so we aren’t seeing a mass of them coming in like we did two years ago.”

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To get an idea of how plentiful the pinks are, one just has to look at the purse-seine commercial net-test fishery off the southeast side of Vancouver Island known as “Area 20.”

The Area 20 fishery made six sets with the nets and landed 17,653 pinks on Tuesday, 4,880 on Monday, 14,110 on Sunday and 10,248 on Saturday. Catches have remained relatively good for the past two weeks.

Locally, catches of pinks and some coho have been good in front of Edmonds Marina, Meadow Point to West Point near Shilshole Bay, Browns Bay, Jefferson Head, Possession Bar and Alki Point south to Tacoma. Elliott Bay is open daily for pinks starting Friday, and fishing has picked up.

“We did two trips (on Tuesday) and had 24 fish by 11 a.m., and got 19 more in three hours of fishing in the afternoon right out in front of Shilshole Bay,” said Gary Krein, owner of All-Star Charters in Shilshole Bay. “Some days it starts right off the gate at daybreak, and other days it is 9 or 10 a.m. You just have to hang in there, and I am convinced the bite will come on.”

On the downside, those fishing in the Mukilteo south to the Shipwreck-Possession Point boundary have struggled for pinks, as a tribal commercial fishery has been ongoing.

Pier and beach anglers were also hooking pinks at Lincoln Park off West Seattle, Golden Gardens, Elliott Bay piers, Dash Point Pier, Browns Point, Deception Pass, Point No Point, Des Moines, Redondo and the west side of Whidbey Island.

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Marine Areas

La Push saw quite a bit of effort and fishing was quite good with half-a-chinook and 1.1 on coho per person,” said Wendy Beeghley, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “If you include pinks, it was 1.9 fish per rod.”

There are still a good number of pinks at Neah Bay with a 1.2 fish-per-rod average (0.3 for chinook and 0.6 for hatchery coho). Currently, only hatchery-marked coho may be kept off the coast, but starting Monday at Ilwaco, and Sept. 6 at Westport, La Push and Neah Bay anglers may keep wild or hatchery coho.

Bad weather was a factor at Ilwaco, where anglers averaged just 0.1 for chinook per rod, and 0.4 for hatchery coho; and at Westport it was 0.2 and 0.7. The albacore tuna action is off-and-on coastwide, although Westport charter boats did well between 30 and 50 miles offshore. Slow-to-fair for hatchery kings at Dolphin Point off Vashon Island, the Tacoma area, Gig Harbor and Southworth. Fair to good for kings and pinks in the San Juan Islands. Slow for salmon in southern Hood Canal, and the north section opens Sunday. Quilcene Bay is worth a try for coho. The hatchery coho and pink fishing in the Strait between Sekiu and Port Angeles is fair to good. The Willapa Salmon Derby at Tokeland is Saturday, but king fishing has been slow.

Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide rivers At Buoy 10 near the Lower Columbia, mouth anglers kept one hatchery Chinook per every 4.5 rods, but it was slow for hatchery coho. Hatchery chinook fishing at Buoy 10 remains open through Sunday. Good for pinks in open areas of Puyallup, Snohomish, Lower Skykomish, Nooksack and Lower Green. Green opens Sunday below South 277th Bridge in Auburn; release chinook. Fair for chinook in Upper Columbia. Fair for chinook in the Lower Columbia. Fair for steelhead in the Wind River mouth and Drano Lake. Some early chinook were caught in the Hanford Reach area of Columbia.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars
Statewide lakes Beaver Lake near Issaquah was planted last week with 1,200 rainbow trout averaging about one pound apiece, and should offer decent action. The daily limit at Beaver is five trout, only two of which can exceed 15 inches in length. Good for perch in Lake Washington. Fair for trout at Angle, Ward, Mineral, Mineral, Roosevelt, Conconully, Pass and Lone. The Potholes are good for perch, walleye, bass and trout. Fair for kokanee at Stevens, Rimrock, Kachess, Bumping, American, Summit and Keechelus.
Biting: YesRating: 3 stars

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or