"The Fish Journal"
Issaquah Press, Published August, 2008
By Dallas Cross
The salmon have arrived in Lake Sammamish and are making their way
up its tributaries to spawn and be captured for their eggs and milt at
the hatchery on Issaquah Creek. Before they move up the creeks
they mill around in the lake for a while getting ready for their
reproductive finale. The state has determined that the king, or
chinook, salmon run will exceed their need to harvest eggs this year
and has opened Lake Sammamish to fish for them from Friday, August 15
until November 30.
The rules are: Have a fishing license
and catch card, the minimum size to keep must be 12 inches, you may
keep two king salmon. Sockeye and kokanee salmon must be released,
and no fishing within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek. The
easiest way to tell if you have caught a king salmon is to see the
black on the inner mouth.
Admittedly, some of the salmon have
been in the lake a while and are dark in color and a bit soft,
however there are more recent arrivals which are bright and prime
candidates for the barbeque grill. Take along an ice chest to keep
your catch fresh. Also for better quality eating, cut the gills of
the fish you wish to keep and let them bleed out in the water before
putting them on ice. From past bad experience keeping them in the
net while you do this is advisable.
The key to getting kings to bite is to
fish at the right time and at the proper depth. Early morning, just
at first light, is the most productive time. Past experience suggests
that lures should be fished at depths of 25 to 30 feet. As of the
first weekend of the season fisherman have located the Kings near the
bottom and have not had any success in getting them to bite. The
salmon will probably wait for a rain and cooler water entering the
lake before they become active.
Of course using a downrigger is the
easiest way to get to the desired fishing depth. For trolling with a
sinker we can use trigonometry to determine that if we let out about
45 feet of line, and fish it at a 45 degree angle to the water
surface, our lure will be close to 30 feet deep. For faster trolling
speeds, let out 60 feet of line to fish at an angle of 30 degrees to
get a lure 30 feet deep. Adjust the sinker weight and boat speed to
get the proper degree downward angle on the line.
An oft cast line in the sea of answers
On questioning hook with lure so
Attract fine species of many forms,
Some are caught, but why did they bite?
King and most other salmon supposedly
give up eating when they enter fresh water, but we catch them because
they do not give up biting. I have not found much food in the
stomachs of salmon I have caught in fresh water. Two reasons have
been given for their biting behavior, defensive aggression and an
involuntary feeding response to past, familiar food sources. Thus
the lures we use generally fall into these two categories.
Metal spoons such as a Kwikfish,
flatfish lures, and herring strips are popular lures in Lake
Sammamish. These are usually fished behind a flasher at a medium-slow
troll speed. Some are having success using jigging spoons or marabou
jigs. Taking a page from the sockeye fishery in Lake Washington, more
and more salmon fishers are using bare 3/0 or 4/0, red hooks behind
Dodger flashers. Why is this lure so effective?
Krill are small, shrimp-like
crustaceans that swim in the seas and are a major food source for
almost all salmon. The different species of krill range in size from
under a half inch up to five and a half inches. One of the most
common krill is Euphausia superba with an average length of 2.3
inches, the same as the total length of a 4/0 hook.
Krill, like shrimp, curl in nature and
a hook-shape would be a natural shape presentation during their
swimming activities. Lots of krill have bright colors, mostly red,
pink and orange blotches near the front part of their bodies with
spots of color along their full length. Another characteristic is
that they have prominent dark eye spots.
Some of my fishing friends are having
great success with Lake Sammamish kings by adorning their 4/0 bare
hooks with small bits of fur and feathers in a manner that echoes the
physical characteristics of krill described above. Perhaps they
should also add burnt nylon eyes at the front. Me thinks they are
re-inventing a salmon fly.