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Fishing For Salmon In Washington State

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Guide to fishing for Atlantic, chinook, chum, coho, kokanee, pink and sockeye salmon in WA.

By AA-Fishing Staff Writers

Salmon fishing in Washington

Washington state is renowned for its incredible salmon fishing opportunities, attracting anglers from around the world. Several salmon species migrate through the region's rivers and coastal waters, offering thrilling angling experiences and the chance to catch these prized fish. The purpose of this page is to share basic information about salmon fishing and identify popular salmon waters in the state.

One of the most sought-after salmon species in Washington is the Chinook salmon, also known as king salmon. These powerful fish are known for their size and strength, making them a thrilling catch for anglers. Chinook salmon can reach impressive sizes, with some individuals weighing over 50 pounds. Popular Chinook salmon fishing destinations in Washington include the Columbia River, the Skagit River, and the Puget Sound.

Coho salmon, also known as silver salmon, are another prized salmon species in Washington. Coho salmon provide exciting angling opportunities, known for their acrobatic jumps and aggressive strikes. Anglers often target Coho salmon in rivers such as the Snohomish River and the Queets River, as well as in the marine waters of the Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

Sockeye salmon, or red salmon, are highly prized for their rich flavor and deep red flesh. These fish migrate through Washington's rivers, including the Wenatchee River and the Okanogan River. Sockeye salmon fishing often involves targeting them as they stage in lakes before their journey upstream. Lake Wenatchee and Osoyoos Lake are popular spots for sockeye salmon fishing.

Pink salmon, also known as humpback salmon, are the smallest and most abundant salmon species in Washington. Every odd-numbered year, vast numbers of pink salmon return to the region's rivers to spawn. Pink salmon provide excellent fishing opportunities for both experienced and novice anglers, and they are often targeted in rivers such as the Skagit River and the Nisqually River.

Chum salmon, also called dog salmon, are known for their fighting abilities and aggressive strikes. While chum salmon are not as widely targeted as other species, they still provide an exciting fishing experience. Anglers can find chum salmon in rivers such as the Hood Canal and the Queets River.

Washington's diverse salmon species offer anglers an incredible fishing experience and the chance to reel in these prized fish. Whether targeting Chinook, Coho, Sockeye, Pink, or Chum salmon, Washington's rivers, and coastal waters provide a thrilling and rewarding salmon fishing adventure.

Salmon Fishing Waters in Washington

Washington is in the heart of the Pacific Northwest salmon fishing haven. Plenty of quality salmon abound in the coastal and inland waters of the state. The major rivers flowing into the Pacific are migration routes for salmon spawning. Many of the major lakes in the state have excellent populations of salmon. These major lakes include Alder Lake, American Lake, Baker Lake, Banks Lake, Cle Elum Lake, East Rapids Lake, Kachess Lake, Keechelus Lake, Lake Chelan, Lake Crescent, Lake Cushman, Lake Herbert G West, Lake Mayfield, Lake Merwin, Lake Sacajawea, Lake Sammamish, Lake Umatilla, Lake Washington, Lake Wenatchee, Lake Whatcom, Osoyoos Lake, Ozette Lake, Palmer Lake, Riffe Lake, Rimrock Lake, Rock Lake, Roosevelt Lake, Rufus Woods Lake, Silver Lake, Vancouver Lake, Wanapum Lake and Yale Lake.

Fishing Boats For Rent In WA

Fishing for salmon in Washington

Atlantic Salmon

Atlantic salmon

World record: 79 lbs 2 oz

State Record: 14.38 lbs

Chinook Salmon

Chinook salmon

World record: 97 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 68.26 lbs

Chum Salmon

Chum salmon

World record: 35 lbs 0 oz

State Record: 25.97 lbs

Coho Salmon

Coho salmon

World record: 33 lbs 7 oz

State Record: 25.27 lbs

Kokanee Salmon

Kokanee salmon

World record: 9 lbs 10 oz

State Record: 6.25 lbs

Pink Salmon

Pink salmon

World record: 14 lbs 8 oz

State Record: 15.40 lbs

Sockeye Salmon

Sockeye salmon

World record: 15 lbs 4 oz

State Record: 10.63 lbs

Click the images and links above for species details.

The state record Atlantic salmon was taken out of Green River.

The state record chinook salmon was caught in the Elochoman River.

The Satsop River produced the state record chum salmon.

The Quinault River produced the state record coho salmon.

Lake Roosevelt served up the state record kokanee salmon.

The state record pink salmon was taken from the Stillaguamish River.

The state record sockeye salmon was taken out of Lake Washington.

This 20-pound, silver salmon was caught in the Strait of San Juan by Mary Seaman - August 2007.

About The Pacific Salmon Family

Pacific Salmon are born in and remain in freshwater streams for the early years of life. The number varies by species. Afterward they migrate to the Pacific Ocean waters where they bulk up and prepare for their once in a lifetime spawning run up the freshwater stream where they were born. They will instinctively return to their birthplace, spawn and die. They are found in the streams which empty into the ocean, and adjoining ocean waters.

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies. For more details check here for articles about fly fishing.

Salmon Organizations

Atlantic Salmon Federation

Atlantic Salmon Trust

Atlantic Salmon Museum

Pacific Salmon Commission

Pacific Salmon Foundation

Washington Salmon Fishing

The preferred method for catching salmon is fly fishing. Depending on the activity level, salmon may be caught on wet or dry flies, as well as a variety of other lures and baits.


Salmon fishing waters and information, by state.

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MI Salmon Fishing MN Salmon Fishing MT Salmon Fishing NC Salmon Fishing ND Salmon Fishing NE Salmon Fishing NH Salmon Fishing
NJ Salmon Fishing NM Salmon Fishing NV Salmon Fishing NY Salmon Fishing OH Salmon Fishing OR Salmon Fishing PA Salmon Fishing
RI Salmon Fishing SD Salmon Fishing VT Salmon Fishing WA Salmon Fishing WI Salmon Fishing WY Salmon Fishing

Learn the life cycle of salmon

The more you know about the life cycle and seasonal migration of salmon, the more likely you are to be looking in the right area next time you visit Washington salmon fishing waters. Visit the salmon fishing page for more information about the life cycle of the different species of salmon.

Contribute WA Salmon Fishing Knowledge

If you have information, articles or photos relating to salmon fishing in Washington, which you would like to see published here, please submit them for consideration.

Best salmon fishing waters in Washington!