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Skagit River, Skagit County Washington Fishing

Main Species: Salmon
Sub Species: Steelhead, trout, sea run trout, whitefish, Sturgeon, Bull trout.
Size: Medium to large size river
Public Access: Yes, multiple access areas for bank fishing.
Boat Launch: Yes, multiple boat launches.
Bathrooms: Yes, in some areas.
Opening Date: Varies by species, section of river, and by year. General opening date for Salmon is Sept. 1 for the lower river but some species are open sooner and some later.
Check the regulations for the latest information.

Closing date:
Varies by species. December 31st for Salmon.
http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html

Skagit River 2013 Salmon fishing information

2013 is a Pink salmon year on the Skagit, with over a million returning fish forecast by the WDFW. This should make for some fast and furious action on the lower river when it opens August 1st. As the fish move upstream, they will color up fast and start to grow the signature humped backs that give them their nickname "humpies". If you're looking for table fare, stick to the lower sections of the river. A popular technique for Skagit river humpies is plunking with sandshrimp.

Sockeye will be available again for sport harvest in Baker Lake this year, but there is not expected to be a Skagit River sockeye opening. Sockeye have been available the past few years and will open on July 10th this year.

The rest of the river opens in some sections September 1st with other sections following at later dates. Emergency rules may be in effect and rules and regulations can change at any time. Be sure to check the WDFW regulations for the specific section you plan to fish.

Please check the regulations and emergency rules carefully for opening information, limits, and other important information before fishing. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html

Additional resources:
Salmon Fishing Techniques
Updated Fishing Reports

Information added 6/19/13.

Skagit River fishing Skagit County Washington

The Skagit River is a large river that flows through Skagit County and can provide some excellent salmon fishing opportunities. The Skagit river splits near the mouth and subsequently has two mouths. One mouth is just south of La Conner and the other is a few miles south. From there the Skagit flows upriver through Mt. Vernon, past Burlington, Sedro Woolley, Concrete, Rockport and up further as it follows Highway 20 into the mountains.  

Trophy sized King Salmon and Steelhead are present but can be few and far between. On odd numbered years large runs of the small sized Pink, or Humpy, salmon make their way up the river starting in mid August. Popular methods for fishing the Skagit river include plunking with bait, plunking with plugs and spoons from a boat, and casting spoons and spinners. Dick Nites are especially popular for Skagit River salmon.

If you have a boat, there are several launch spots. Otherwise, if you’re confined to the shore there are also multiple access points for bank fishing. Some of the popular access spots follow. See the map below for specific locations.

  • Edgewater Park -  Right off I-5 and is a popular spot for plunking. Take Division street through Mt. Vernon and turn on South on Ball or Baker St.
  • Spudhouse - Managed by the dept. of fish and wildlife and according to them has a concrete boat launch, restrooms, and parking.
  • Young’s Bar - another good access point off Dunbar Rd.  This is a popular spot for bank fishing and plunking with heavy gear and bait, such as sandshrimp.
  • Johnsons Bar – Located off Whitmarsh Rd just upriver of Young’s bar and Edgewater park. Bank access.
  • Upriver near Sedro Woolley there is access for bank fishing near the public park.
  • South Skagit Highway – this highway starts near Sedro Woolley off highway 9 and follows the river upstream all the way to Concrete and beyond. There are multiple areas to pull off and fish along the way.


View Skagit River fishing access in a larger map

 

Skagit River 2012 Salmon and Steelhead fishing information

Salmon fishing on the Skagit River kicks off early this year with a June 1st opening for King (Chinook) salmon on the Rockport to Marblemount stretch, with a portion of the Cascade river open to hatchery king retention as well. The King season goes June 1st to July 15th with a daily limit of two adult kings and two additional jacks.

Sockeye will be available for sport harvest in the lower Skagit River this year, as well as the opportunity to fish Baker Lake for Sockeye that has been available the past few years. The Sockeye fishery in the Skagit River is only open from Highway 536 at Mt. Vernon, to the mouth of Gilligan Creek and allows a daily limit of three fish. The opening dates are June 16 - July 15th.

Baker Lake with open earlier this year, with a July 1 through September 4th season allowing a daily limit of 4 sockeye. The two pole endorsement is allowed on Baker Lake this year, with the purchase of the additional endorsement on your license.

The rest of the river opens in some sections September 1st with other sections following at later dates. Emergency rules may be in effect and rules and regulations can change at any time. Be sure to check the WDFW regulations for the specific section you plan to fish.

Please check the regulations and emergency rules carefully for opening information, limits, and other important information before fishing. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html

Additional resources:
Salmon Fishing Techniques
Updated Fishing Reports

Information added 6/6/12.

Skagit River Salmon and Steelhead Fishing 2011 information.

2011 is another Pink salmon run year, and eager fishermen and women are already anticipating another good run.  Opening early this year, on August 1st, the lower river below Mt. Vernon will be open for salmon with a daily limit of 3 fish plus 1 pink salmon. Chinook and Chum are off limits this year throughout the system (aside from a June 1 - July 15th season on hatchery chinook in the Rockport to Marblemount stretch).  With a solid run of pink salmon expected, as well as a potential sockeye season on the area of the Skagit river near the Baker river, the prospects for 2011 are good.
Regardless of whether there is a sockeye salmon season on the Skagit river, there will almost certainly be an opener for Sockeye in Baker Lake. 2010 was a good year for Sockeye, and the lake was opened for the first time in a number of years. Projected good returns mean that a Sockeye salmon season on Baker lake is likely.

After the early opener on the lower river, the rest of the system starts to open up for salmon later in August and September. The hatchery steelhead season usually begins are Thanksgiving and gets into full swing in December.

Please check the regulations and emergency rules carefully for opening information, limits, and other important information before fishing. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html

Additional resources:
Salmon Fishing Techniques
Updated Fishing Reports

Information added 7/5/11.

Skagit River Salmon 2010 Information.

The Skagit River received a larger than usual run of Sockeye salmon in 2010, which allowed an extended fishery on the Baker River and Skagit for Sockeye Salmon. As a result of this run Baker Lake was also opened for fishing and gave anglers a great chance at catching some bright sockeye salmon.

The Silver Salmon, or coho, run is forecasted to be larger than normal and the daily catch limit has been raised to any 3 coho salmon per day. This fishery opens Wed., Sept 1st below Gilligan Creek. Much of the remainder of the river opens mid month to coho salmon fishing on Sept 16th.

Please check the regulations carefully before fishing. http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html

Information added 8/30/10.

Skagit River Salmon 2009 information.

Skagit
River
open for Pinks August 6-9. Then the regular season opens on August 16th.

According to the WDFW, the Skagit River will be open for Pink Salmon Fishing from August 6 – 9th from the Mouth of the river to the mouth of Gilligan Creek. Gilligan Creek is just upstream of Sedro Woolley.

The daily limit is 2 salmon and only Pink salmon and Chinook salmon can be kept.  That means any combination of the two but only one Chinook and only a total of two salmon total per day.

Other parts of the Skagit River are open for Chinook fishing currently and Pink salmon fishing will open on August 16.

From the mouth the highway 536 at Gilligan Creek Chinook salmon is open from July 9 – August 9. from Noon on Thursday through Sundays only. Other salmon fishing opens August 16 -  December 31st.

There are special rules in place for retention and areas open on the Skagit River.

Be sure to check the fishing regulations at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_seasons.html to make sure you are fishing legally. There are game wardens who will write tickets.