Hood Canal - Marine Area 12

Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) encompasses all waters south of the Hood Canal Bridge. These waters provide fishing opportunities for migratory salmon that allows numerous small boat and shoreline access sites, and a protected body of water depending on wind direction as well as scenic views of the Olympic Mountains.

Hood Canal is closed to the harvest of all bottomfish and forage fish, except for a limited fishery in Dabob Bay for flounder and sole. Fishing North of Ayock opens August during odd years for both pink and coho and mid-August during even years for coho salmon. South of Ayock Point is open in July for Chinook opens up in July south of Ayock Point; additional opportunities exist as you can use your two-pole endorsement and have a reduced size limit (20 inches) during the summer. Winter resident salmon fishing is a unique opportunity to catch salmon in the 'off-season' and typically runs from October through April. Though you can catch sea-run coastal cutthroat trout in all marine areas, Area 12 can boast to be one of the better spots to fish from both a boat and shore, especially during the chum (fry) run from March to May.

Legal description

Major fishing areas

Belfair State Park

Returning chum and coho stage in the estuary and can be caught by flyfishing or using a bobber and bait, such as an anchovy. Coastal cutthroat trout are also caught here, with the high tide fishing the best.

Accessible by Shoreline
Enter Belfair State Park and park and park on the south side of the highway in the dayuse site and walk south to the water to fish. A Discovery Pass is required. Please be respect and be aware of private property or tidelands.

*DIRECTIONS Google Bing

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: Chum salmon, Coastal cutthroat, Coho salmon

Hazel Point

Anglers trolling pink hootchies and spoons or casting pink buzz bombs or hootchie jigs have a great chance at catching pink salmon during odd years. In addition, trolling or mooching for coho can be quite productive. Coastal cutthroat trout can be caught year-round by flyfishing or trolling small spoons or lures near shore.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Coastal cutthroat, Coho salmon, Pink salmon

Hoodsport

Hatchery chum, Chinook, and pink salmon are accessible from the shoreline during the summer through fall months. Please respect private property. ADA accessible fishing platform is available at the hatchery on the south side. To fish for the powerful chum salmon, try using a bobber and anchovy!

Accessible by Shoreline
Park at the hatchery visitor parking lot and walk east. Please be respect and be aware of private property or tidelands.

*DIRECTIONS Google Bing
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: Chinook salmon, Chum salmon, Pink salmon

Lilliwaup Creek

Returning hatchery Chinook during the summer months are caught here quite frequently by anglers. To catch these migratory Chinook, try fishing in the early mornings off the ledges in deeper water starting 30 feet from shore and moving out to 150 feet during mid-August. Also consider fishing for migratory coho here later on during September. Try a bobber and anchovy to catch chum salmon returning to south Hood Canal.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Chinook salmon, Chum salmon, Coho salmon

Misery Point

Trolling and mooching for summer Chinook, coho, and blackmouth is good here, especially within an hour or two on each side of the tidal change. Consider trolling for pink salmon in July and August.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Coastal cutthroat, Coho salmon, Pink salmon

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

Quilcene Bay

Trolling and mooching for coho can be productive earlier here than most other fisheries in Puget Sound using cut-plug herring. You might even encounter some pink salmon during odd years trolling a small pink hootchie or casting buzz bombs and hootchie jigs.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Coho salmon, Pink salmon

Skokomish Flats/The Great Bend/Ayres Point

Trolling and mooching along the drop off of the flats and point will often times produce a few nice blackmouth, summer Chinook, and coho. To specifically target migratory Chinook, troll off the Great Bend (across from Union) during mid-August using your traditional trolling gear, such as a cut-plug herring or hoochie. Also fish with a bobber and anchovy or troll very slowly for chum along the ledge and flat of the Skokomish River can help you hook into a strong chum salmon in the fall. Sea-run coastal cutthroat trout are often times feeding here during the fall and spring months and can be caught by trolling small lures or flyfishing. Please be aware of private property and exposed tidelands are closed to fishing July through October.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Chum salmon, Coastal cutthroat, Coho salmon