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Skagit River (Skagit County) Fishing Report
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Name: River Chrome Guide Service Contact: (306) 305-9675
My name is Danny Stonedahl and I have been fishing the rivers in Whatcom and Skagit counties for many years. I am determined to get clients into fish and share all of my knoweldge so that they can apply it to their own fishing experiences. Main fisheries include Skagit River Springers, Coho and Steelhead, Cascade River Steelhead and Coastal River Opportunities.
Name: rseas Date: August 14, 2010 Rating:
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I spent some time on the Skagit Saturday morning. I launched at Gardener and fished a variety of spots more as an exploratory trip than anything. Exploratory yes, but I did have a plan, my plan was to fish sturgeon for awhile, then beach the boat somewhere and fish dollies off the beach. My plan went well, but the exploratory nature of the trip went even better. Come on September first!!! My first stop was on a sturgeon spot, basically across from the soccer fields. In an hour on the hook I had one good takedown but came up empty handed. I decided to move upstream and fish the eddy at the very top of the Gardner drift. The river was running too high to fish it effectively but there were a ton of fish on the meter so I metered around for awhile and was able to define the boundaries of the school. The school of fish was probably 200 yards long, 25 yards wide and with the occasional jumper I was able to confirm that they were silvers. Again come on September 1st!

Again on the move, heading downstream I metered around at the mouth of the Nookachamps and nobody was home. I continued downstream to the general spot I was fishing earlier in the morning and while metering around and trying to figure out where to drop the hook I found another large school of what I thought were salmon (more on that in a bit). Anyway, anchor set glob of sand shrimp over the side and book in hand the waiting game was on. Not for long though, with in a few minutes, maybe two pages of reading and ½ of a flat meat sandwich the clicker on the sturgeon rod starts to slowly click. I reach over and turn the clicker off but leave the rod in the holder. Maybe another 30 seconds go but and it is rod down and fish on. I fought the fish for 30 or 40 minutes and ended up releasing it because it was clearly longer than my sturgeon measuring stick.

Ok decision time, my plan included fishing for dollies. But…maybe I could catch another sturgeon. Figuring that I had used up my sturgeon karma for the day I opt for fishing the dollies. Boat on the beach and up to my ankles (at one point my knee) in quicksand I trudge up the beach to a likely looking dolly haunt. First cast, drift fishing a chrome and green Dick Night I hook a 16-18” dolly. A couple casts later I hook fish number two and I think that it was the same fish previously released. I wander back to the boat and finish my sandwich, return some text messages and return to drift fishing the Dick Night. On the 2nd or 3rd cast solid wham-O! It is fish on and after a reel smoking first run and some aerial displays I settle in to fighting a sizeable salmon. Initially I thought that I had a Chinook but after a few jumps it was clearly a silver. I got the fish up into shallow water and ended up cutting the line so I could release the fish without harming it. After the salmon was safely on her way I got back in the boat and metered around again. I found that the school of fish that I had seen earlier was still hanging around and I now knew that they were silvers. It was interesting, I don’t think that I have ever seen silvers school like that, I think that come September 1st the Skagit could be on fire. Anyway back on the water I set up for Sturgeon again (still had more sand shrimp) but didn’t have any more action. So an hour or so later I pulled the hook and headed back to the ramp and home.

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#1 urbanangler says:
August 15, 2010 08:33 AM
GREAT report! Solid work. Thank you.
#2 knotabassturd says:
August 15, 2010 10:22 AM
That is some great investigative reporting! Geez, that'll have a few more salmon anglers up that way chewing even more of their nails off waiting for openers. I've picked apart all my hangnails and chewed every little piece of dead skin or excess fingernail off every part of my hands. I'm waiting for the Green to open so will probably have to hit some other river before that one to make sure I don't have a fishing cabin fever heart attack (worst way to go for fishing enthusiasts vs dying fishing being the best).
#3 Idstud says:
August 15, 2010 12:23 PM
Wow!! Sept 1st seems so far away. Great report. Im not real familiar with the skagit area Ive only fished the beach at the 536 bridge. I know of some good spots on the snohomish I hope there just as hot as what you discribed. Thanks for the awsome report.
#4 whittierc says:
August 15, 2010 10:02 PM
Can the area around Gardener be fished without a jet?
#5 rseas says:
August 16, 2010 10:45 AM
I wasn’t sure if I should post this as a reply or as a response to a number of e-mail requests, so I’m doing both. I apologize up front for the redundancy. The question has been asked “Whether or not you can run the Gardner stretch of the river with a prop?”. The direct answer is yes but the answer needs to be yes, but… Even on low water you can and I have run a prop all the way from the upstream end of the Gardner drift down to the mouth at either one of the forks. But it is a river and it needs to be run with caution. This section of river is also influenced by the tide and the water level could fluctuate as much as a foot or more through the tidal swing.

When I say with caution I am not speaking with regards to bottom depth only but being alert for dead heads, stumps and other underwater obstacles. The Skagit is a glacial stream and because of that the water is rarely clear. When running the river in addition to looking out for the obvious obstacles you have to be very attentive and looking for small eddies or disruptions to the surface flow. With the off colored water a log or a stump may be only a few inches under the water surface and your only warning may be an eddy. With caution you can safely run the river, just be alert and slow down if in doubt.
#6 knotabassturd says:
August 16, 2010 02:35 PM
Idstud- I'm guessing if they're stacking in the Skag already that they'll be stacking in Snoho too only based on estimated returns this year for both rivers (both have similar runs sizes and mostly wild fish too) but I have not even fished the Snoho so big grain of salt. Hopefully big grain of sugar for you guys once river opens. I'm really hoping to get after the silvers this year but have mostly fished steelhead years ago so am gonna be learning all over in some ways. Have fun out there all and stay safe!
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