Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay - Marine Area 8-1

Marine Area 8-1 is contained within Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay. Fishing within this marine area is protected by Whidbey Island and offers a diversity of fishing opportunities that range from coastal cutthroat trout, bottomfish, and various salmon species. Chinook, pink, coho and sockeye are primarily returning to the world renowned Skagit River. Winter resident salmon fishing is a unique opportunity to catch salmon in the 'off-season' and typically runs from November through April.

Anglers who plan to fish for salmon in Canadian marine waters and return in their boats with their catch to Washington are required to notify WDFW before leaving state waters.

Legal description

Major fishing areas

Deception Pass

Fish east of West Point along North Beach. Fishing from shore can provide great action during the peak of the migratory coho run from August through October and pink salmon from mid-July through September. Additionally during odd years, pink salmon will be swimming close to shore. Consider fishing with buzz bombs, spinners, jigs, and cut-plug herring. During the winter months, an angler might want to try fishing for returning hatchery steelhead with a spin-n-glo and hoochie within an hour or two on both sides of the tidal change.

Accessible by Shoreline
After entering Deception Pass State Park, park at the dayuse site at North Beach and walk north to the beach. Discovery Pass is required. Please be respect and be aware of private property or tidelands.

This feature shows the general location of the selected shoreline. Directions may not include direct access routes. Please do not trespass on private property.

Species: Coastal cutthroat, Pink salmon

Deception Pass (The Hole)

Chinook and coho are fished by mooching in the narrow pass during the summer. Be aware of strong tidal currents. During odd years, pink salmon will be passing through the pass headed for the rivers.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Pink salmon

Rocky Point

Bottomfishing opportunities for a variety of species including lingcod, greenling and cabezon exist on the northwest side of Baby Island.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Cabezon, Greenling, Lingcod

Strawberry/Polnell/Rock Point

Good flatfish and sea-run cutthroat trout opportunities are available at Strawberry Point. Polnell and Rocky Points both provide good trolling opportunities for blackmouth. Smelt can be dipped using hand-held nets from the shoreline at the nearby county parks.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Coastal cutthroat, Pacific Halibut

Pink Salmon Fishing

During odd years, pink salmon returning must first pass through most of Puget Sound, making them accessible to small boat and shore anglers that uses only basic fishing gear and techniques. Pink salmon are not the strongest swimmers, so they often hug the shorelines and stay out of big rip tides. Best catch rates often occur in the mornings and evenings. The color pink is most commonly used for all lures and flies by anglers. Pink salmon are often mistaken for small wild chinook or even wild coho so be sure you know to properly identify it.

Boat Fishing
There are two main methods of fishing for pink salmon from a boat, trolling and casting.

  • Trolling uses a downrigger to get your tackle to the depth you want to fish. Most pink salmon are caught in depths of 20-60 feet. The key to trolling is using a small flasher of any color, which is an attractor for the pink salmon to swim along and hopefully strike at your lure. The most common lure is a pink mini squid (hootchie), followed by a pink spoon. Feel free to scent up your lure, however bait is not needed. Tie the lure 16-24 inches behind the flasher (18-25 lb. monofilament) and deploy your gear 10-30 feet behind the boat. The boat speed moving through the water should be 2 to 4 mph.
  • Casting at pink salmon from a boat uses the methods and gear described in shoreline fishing.

Shoreline Fishing
There are two main methods used for shore fishing pink salmon, casting lures and flyfishing. Anglers using both fishing methods target the same type of water and can have similar success. As pink salmon are more prone to swim close to shore, most public parks and public piers throughout Puget Sound offer good fishing opportunities.

  • Casting Lures - The pink buzz bomb and a pink mini squid (hootchie) jig are most commonly used and are fished the same way by casting out away from shore and attempting to jig it as you reel it in. A medium to medium/heavy rod with 20-30 pound line is all you need to land these fish.
  • Flyfishing - The most common fly used is a pink clouser. A seven to eight weight fly rod and with either floating or a slow sink tip line will provide enough backbone to land the salmon and also create the necessary action on your fly to entice a few strikes.

Accessible by Boat

Accessible by Shoreline
Public access sites, such as parks and piers.

Species: Pink salmon