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Ilwaco & the ocean
Barkley Sound, BC
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Weather, tides and currents questions

Q:Have you noticed if salmon (chinook) fishing is better when there is a larger fluctuation from low tide to high tide or when there is relative little fluctuation like 4-6 ft. change. I realieze that the best time is 1 hr. before and 1-2 hr. after a change but is there increased activity when the tides have more current as with 11-12 ft tide changes as to low current conditions with 3-5 ft. tide changes. I fish Barkley Sound. Thanks Don.
A:Don, Salmon particularly winter kings (blackmouth) feed better on days with less tidal movement as they do not have to exert as much effort fighting the tidal flow to chase food. This is the same reason that fishing 1 hour before to 2 hours after a tide change is better fishing, less effort by the fish to attain food means more calories they can store. Capt. John
Q: OK, call me stupid by I just need to clarify something please. An outgoing tide is when the tide goes from high to low correct? A buddy of mine claims it's the opposite. Thanks for the info. TW
A: TW, I hope you bet money on it. High, flood or incoming denote a rise in the water level. Ebb, low or outgoing denotes a lowering of the water level. Your friend needs to take one of our winter salmon fishing classes. I hope you join him. Tom

Q: First of all, I wanted to commend you and John for your truly outstanding web site. As both an enthusiastic amateur salmon fisherman AND a big internet user, I am thrilled to have found your site (while search for fishing maps). I have always wondered when I would be lucky enough to be able to benefit from on-line conveniences in the course of planning my fishing trips and now I can. Your site is fantastic and I have already learned some very interesting things from reading your "ask the pros" column.
Next, here is my question, about the Elliot Bay fishery (which it appears that you were the one to do the write-up on). When fishing what you call "area 4" inside of Elliot Bay (the mouth of the Duwamish), I wonder if you have any feelings about which tides are optimal to fish. You explain about changing from one side of the Duwamish Head to the other (something I did for years at Possession, before they closed it for Chinook). But what about right at the mouth of a river like the Duwamish. On the one hand, it seems that the high tide might be best because each incoming tide could bring in a rush of new kings. On the other hand, the fish might pile up at the mouth during the lower tides, waiting for the rush of new water to give them a "push" into the river, thereby creating catch opportunities at the low tide. What are your thoughts on the best tides for fishing the mouth of the Duwamish? Thanks very much and best regards, Jeremy
A: Hi Jeremy, The answer to your question is yes. You have the concept firmly in mind. I really don't have a preference for the tides. I have found that for winter blackmouth the incoming tide is better. For summer Chinook, either tide seems to work. The fish will move on the outgoing tide to deeper water. Of course, the best time to fish is an hour before and an hour after tide changes. Tom

Q: Hi John I have noticed on a day when I am out fishing at Point Defiance when there is a big tide drop the fish disappear. Where do they go? thank you. Gordy
A: My feeling is into the deep water 200+, out of the current. John

Q: Hi, I have heard fishing is good at tide change-- how is this time determined ??  (simply halfway between a in/out?) Also, is there a ref @ rigging cut-plug herring?? thanks, Joseph
A: Joseph, when we talk about fishing the tide change what we're referring to is one hour before to two hours after the high or low water period. The reason fishing is better then is salmon don't like to expend any more energy to capture food then necessary. During the high and low tide changes salmon can feed when there is little or no current to contend with making it less work to attain the same amount of food. Capt. John

Q: As a person who has not alot of experience in fishing, I don't know whether to fish when tides are high or low. Please write back, Rosie.
A: Rosie, the best salmon fishing is 1 hour before to 2 hours after a tide change. The reason for this is that salmon don't like to expend a lot of energy gathering food fighting the current. Capt. John

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