South Puget Sound - Marine Area 13

Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound) encompasses all waters south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. These waters are protected from the weather, which enables small boat access for fishing. There are also great opportunities to fish from shore and at various piers. Area 13 is the only body of water in the state where you can fish for salmon year-round and use your two-pole endorsement. Try fishing with a bobber and anchovy for chum salmon to entice a strike near stream mouths and constriction points where chum stack up to feel one of the strongest salmon around! During odd years additional pink salmon can be kept each day to allow anglers to keep a few more fish for the grill or smoker; however during 2017 there will be no bonus limit due to the lower forecast but you can keep pink salmon as part of your daily limit. 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 13 can boast to be one of the best spots to fish from both a boat and shore, especially during the chum (fry) run from March-May.

Legal description

Major fishing areas

Fish Trap

Jigging and trolling are common methods used to catch hatchery Chinook returning in the late summer/early fall. Blue fox spinners, cut-plug herring set-up or clousers work well to catch returning net pen coho in October.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Coho salmon

Kennedy Creek

Fish with an anchovy suspended from bobber or green/purple colored artificial lures that are retrieved slowly for chum. Beware of the incoming tide with the mudflats and only downstream of the northbound bridge is open to fishing.

Accessible by Shoreline
Park in the turnout near the bridge of Kennedy Creek and walk north to fish. Please be respect and be aware of private property or tidelands.

*DIRECTIONS GoogleBing
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Species: Chum salmon

Lyle Point

Good blackmouth fishing spot during winter months. Most anglers typically mooch and jig.

Accessible by Boat

McNeil Island

Fishing on the mudflats and soft bottoms here and throughout the marine area will produce sole and flounder by jigging. Summer Chinook and coho are caught here by mooching and trolling as well.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Coho salmon, Flatfish

Minter Creek

Fish with an anchovy suspended from bobber or green/purple colored artificial lures that are retrieved slowly for chum. Beware of the incoming tide with the mudflats.

Accessible by Shoreline
Park at the Minter Creek Hatchery and walk south to reach marine waters to fish. Please be respect and be aware of private property or tidelands.

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Nisqually Head

Fish for starry flounder and sand sole with bait on the bottom in the muddy and soft flats. Fish the west side along the drop off that starts at 30 feet and falls off to 300 feet for both blackmouth and summer Chinook. Also consider fishing the west side of Johnson Point for salmon, including pink salmon returning to the Nisqually River.

Accessible by Boat

Species: Chum salmon, Coho salmon, Flatfish, 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

Tacoma Narrows

This area produces pink salmon and migratory coho using buzz bombs, jigs, and spinning tackle. Sea-run cutthroat trout and resident coho can be caught during the fall and winter months using flyfishing gear and light spinning tackle. Flyfishing anglers who want to catch sea-run cutthroat trout should consider checking out their local public access spots (DFW, DNR, state/county parks) and fish near points or eddy lines. Try fishing with a bobber and anchovy to chum passing by.

Accessible by Shoreline
Enter Tacoma Narrows County Park and park in the parking lot and walk southeast to the water to fish. Please be respect and be aware of private property or tidelands.

*DIRECTIONS Google Bing
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Species: Coastal cutthroat, Coho salmon, Pink salmon

Toliva Shoal

Fish for lingcod with jigs or bait on the rocky bottom structure.

Accessible by Boat