Figuring out when and where to fish for salmon is one of the most asked questions for beginning salmon anglers. You will find many useful tools on this page to help you decide when and where to go. First, we have put together a series of charts showing the best times to fish each area of the state. Be sure to check the regulations to ensure the location that you want to fish is open this year. Sometimes WDFW must close recreational fisheries in specific areas in order to ensure that enough fish return to spawn.
Second, for many years, WDFW has provided weekly summaries of our dockside sampling for all marine areas and some rivers. Current year summaries are great for determining if you need to run out and fish right now. But remember, its better to make the reports rather than chasing them. Historical summaries are better for future planning. You can look at 2 or 3 years worth of summaries and determine when is the best general time to fish an area. Then you can plan your trips around those traditional peak times.
If you fish in areas with hatchery production, you might want to look at the Hatchery Escapement Reports. These reports show when fish arrive at our numerous hatcheries. Like the historical fishing reports, 2 or 3 years worth of reports will help you determine the peak time to fish a specific river.
Finally, WDFW estimates recreational salmon catches monthly for all rivers and marine areas each year. These estimates are published in the Sport Catch Reports. These historical reports are another great tool for finding the peak month to fish a specific river or marine area, or even locate a river you hadn’t thought of fishing before.