Fishing Information

Fly Fishing the Tide Rips for Coho Salmon off the Northwest Tip of Washington State


Tide rips are one of the most common areas to fly fish for salmon at Neah Bay. I'm addicted to fly fishing tide rips for coho salmon in the saltwater. The stronger the current and the rougher the water, the more I love it.

Tide rips are a general term used by many people but not always meaning the same thing. Many people define tide rips as where two opposing currents meet. Others define rips as any ripple caused by current on a glassy sea. Both are correct, but I think of tide rips as where huge amounts of water are moving causing the ocean to resemble a river. This can be caused by current crossing a shallow bar or reef (the northern tip of Waadah Island is an example of this) or where a large volume of water is constricted and/or crosses a shallow (or not so shallow) reef. A prime example of the latter is where the Strait of Juan de Fuca meets the Pacific Ocean north of Cape Flattery. The water in these areas can go from glass calm to rough in a very short time.

The rough water is where I spend most of my time fly fishing the rips. The movement of water is also moving large amounts of feed (mostly baitfish like herring and anchovies) into the tide rips. The fast, turbulent water disorients the bait, making them easy prey for aggressively feeding coho salmon. The salmon use the current as a massive marine conveyer belt that brings them an easy supply of food. The chop on the water also seems to make the salmon less spooky and they will hold in the upper part of the water column, which puts them well within the fly fisherman's reach. All of these factors combined make fly fishing tide rips one of the best experiences in northwest saltwater fly fishing.

We've found the conditions that concentrate salmon within reach of our flies. Now we have to enter the prime water. This is where things become interesting. I mentioned the rough water previously, and I must add even more caution to those attempting this type of fishing for the first or even the one hundredth time. Many times, the top end of the tide rip will contain breaking waves, much like rapids in a river. In the beginning start fishing rips that are not as strong. Look for days with less tidal movement to get used to the way your boat drifts and how to cast flies while being tossed around before casting flies in stronger tide rips. A sound boat is necessary. You need a boat that's a minimum of 18' long to deal with the strongest rips. Make sure you have all the safety equipment required and more. Life jackets, VHF radio, and a GPS are absolutely required. Make sure your engine is tuned up and operating properly. This is no place to have a breakdown.

Okay, you are now in the rip holding the cork of a fly rod with a baitfish fly pattern in your other hand. What now? It depends a bit on how your boat drifts through the current. My boat drifts straight with the current, but others drift sideways. For me, I cast straight across to up-current a bit. Usually the boat is drifting slower than the current underneath, so casting a fly up current will give the fly more time to sink and still allow you to strip the fly back to the boat across the current. I usually strip the fly back at varying speeds. Often, I'll start the retrieve very fast and then slow it down as the fly gets closer to the boat. I think the initial fast burst gets the coho salmon's attention and the slower strips with pauses is what triggers the coho salmon to strike the fly.

The tide rips can also be a great place to try casting poppers for saltwater salmon. Bringing salmon to the surface is a thrill.

Of course, an article can only get you so far. Time on the water is the key to being confident fly fishing the saltwater for salmon in Washington State. I hope you will give the Olympic Peninsula a shot for your saltwater fly fishing adventures.

Chris Bellows, owner of Topwater Charters, Inc, which runs fly fishing charters off the Washington Coast. His websites offer more information about Saltwater Fly Fishing and Neah Bay Halibut


MORE RESOURCES:
This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news


San Francisco Chronicle

Bay pier sees rare giant sturgeon fishing
San Francisco Chronicle
Bay pier sees rare giant sturgeon fishing. By Tom Stienstra. December 17, 2017 Updated: December 18, 2017 12:05am. Michael Rebolledo with sturgeon caught Saturday at McNear's Pier, located near San Rafael on the. Photo: Tom Stienstra, Courtesy Michael ...



The Coloradoan

Coulson: During the holidays, there is plenty of fishing to be had
The Coloradoan
While I doubt I'll get to fish Christmas Day, there's little doubt I'll try my hand on the Missouri River and other ice-free waters around the Kansas City area. Speaking of ice, I've noticed that, despite our seemingly warm weather the past few weeks ...



Tahoe Daily Tribune

Mac the Naw: Start preparing for fishing in 2018
Tahoe Daily Tribune
For California anglers don't forget to get your new 2018 fishing license. There are a couple ways to get your license. You can get them at your local sporting goods store (when they become available) or you can go online to the California Department of ...

and more »


Gloucester Daily Times

Sanfilippo resigns from fisheries commission
Gloucester Daily Times
Longtime Gloucester fisherman Gus Sanfilippo has resigned from the state's Marine Fisheries Advisory Commission, leaving Arthur “Sooky” Sawyer as the only Gloucester resident on the commission. Sanfilippo, appointed to the commission in May 2016 as ...



My Twin Tiers.com

Ice safety critical for skating and fishing during winter months
My Twin Tiers.com
LATHAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) - Ice skating and fishing this time of year is hard to resist, but fire departments in the area want to remind people of some ice safety. The Chief of the Verdoy Fire Department says that unless they know the pond extremely well ...



The Boston Globe

Divers to try to reach sunken fishing boat off Nantucket
The Boston Globe
State Police divers are returning Monday to the area off Nantucket Island where two crewmen from the New Bedford fishing boat Misty Blue were last seen before the boat suddenly sank on Dec. 4, a sinking that remains under investigation. Crew members ...



Business Insider

North Korea-China fishing rights deal could be reason for ghost ...
Business Insider
The increasing number of old boats containing dead bodies turning up in Japan reveals North Korea's desperate need for fish and foreign currency.

and more »


Sierra Magazine

Fly-Fishing in an Age of Unraveling
Sierra Magazine
Fishing was how I connected to my world. Nobody else in the family fished, but my parents indulged me—even when I asked to be homeschooled for a year as my obsession was peaking. I dedicated some of that time to book learning. The rest of the time I ...



KOCO Oklahoma City

The Blue River, Winter trout fishing in Oklahoma
KOCO Oklahoma City
Only stocked during the cold months, the Blue River is a trout fishing paradise in southeastern Oklahoma. KOCO meteorologist Jonathan Conder shows when the river is stocked with rainbow trout. Advertisement. Wine glasses have gotten a lot bigger in the ...

and more »


Vermont Fish and Wildlife to offer ice fishing clinics | The Seattle Times
Seattle Times
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife is planning a series of clinics to help people learn about ice fishing. The free clinics will be offered...

and more »

Google News

home | site map | Ocean Photography
© 2006