Neah Bay - Marine Area 4

Marine Area 4 includes the Pacific Ocean from Capa Alava north to Cape Flattery, and east in the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Sekiu River. Cape Flattery is the northwest most point in the lower 48 states.

Marine Area 4 is the premier small boat fishery along the Washington coast. Cape Flattery is renowned for its exceptional beauty and salmon fishing during the summer. Neah Bay is the primary access point for Area 4, although some anglers launch at Snow Creek or travel from Sekiu. The coastline here is rugged and beautiful. The submerged and exposed rocks and pillars provide wonderful habitat for lingcod and rockfish. Keep an eye out for the elusive sea otter. These wonderful and quite rare mammals have been reintroduced and live among the kelp beds along the shore.

Neah Bay is much more protected than any of the other ocean ports. There isn't a dangerous bar to cross in order to access very good salmon fishing, making this a popular destination for boats from 14 to 20 feet in length, including for pink salmon on odd years. However, like all ocean fisheries, be sure to pay attention to the forecast. Boaters should check their charts before leaving port and ensure their route is free of submerged rocks.

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

Cape Flattery

Rockfish are caught in rocky habitat in a variety of areas in this region. For black and yellowtail rockfish try fishing the kelp beds in the nearshore areas in the mid-water column. Jigging works. Ocean fishing can be extremely hazardous, especially for those without ocean and bar-crossing experience. Weather and bar conditions can change quickly and without warning. Hiring a local experienced guide is highly recommended for your initial trips.

Accessible by Boat

Neah Bay

Trolling and mooching for Chinook, coho, and pink salmon can be very productive during the summer and early fall months. Ocean fishing can be extremely hazardous, especially for those without ocean and bar-crossing experience. Weather and bar conditions can change quickly and without warning. Hiring a local experienced guide is highly recommended for your initial trips.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Chinook salmon, 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 pound 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 - 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.

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.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Pink salmon

U.S. Swiftsure Bank

Fish the bottom with a jig or weighted bait up near the US/Canada border. Ocean fishing can be extremely hazardous, especially for those without ocean and bar-crossing experience. Weather and bar conditions can change quickly and without warning. Hiring a local experienced guide is highly recommended for your initial trips.

Accessible by Boat