FISHING PUGET SOUND:
Common Local Fish & Shellfish Species and How They Are Caught
- by Cap't Dave
The Puget Sound region has an abundance of edible sea life. Most all of which can be easily caught or harvested with the right equipment, techniques, knowhow, and proper fishing license. This page provides a list of common saltwater sport-caught fish and shellfish with a brief description of how they are caught.
Trolling, Casting & Fly Fishing:
Salmon and saltwater trout are typically caught by trolling from a boat or casting from a steep beach with baited hooks or lures. Most salmon sea-run trout are migratory and appear in the waters of the Puget Sound region at certain times of the year when they return from the ocean to spawn in the rivers.
Salmon include: King (Chinook, Tyee, Black Mouth), Silver (Silver), Pink (Humpie), Chum (Dog), Sockey (Red, Bloeback, Kokanee)
Saltwater Trout include: Cuthroat, Steelhead, Dolly Varden
Occasionally caught while fishing for Salmon, these species of cod share similar water depths and food. While becoming increasingly rare, it is difficult to target these fish specifically, so they are often considered a by-catch of salmon fishing activities.
Mid-Water Cod include: Pacific Tomcod, True Cod (Gray Cod, P-Cod), Pacific Hake, Pacific Cod, Walleye Pollock
Bottom fish are usually caught with a stationary baited hook and line or by jigging lure from a boat. There are many species of bottom fish around the Puget Sound region that may be caught year round. Some species have limited seasons to protect stocks. These species include Rockfish, Red Snapper, Ling Cod, Halibut, Cabezon, Greenling, Skate, Dogfish, Flatfish (Dover Sole, English Sole, Rock Sole , Starry Flounder) and Sturgeon.
Nearshore & Dock Fishing:
While small bottom fish, trout and the salmon can often be caught from shore and off docks, by casting with lures or bait. White and Striped Surfperch (Seaperch) are common to these nearshore habitats. Fishing with multihook snag-jigs, Smelt and Pacific Squid can be caught from docks at certain times of the year.
Baited mesh traps, usually set by boat, are used to catch shrimp and crab throughout the Puget Sound region. Dungeness Crab, Rock Crab, Shrimp, and even ocasional Octopus can be lured into traps that are left on the bottom for a period of time.
At the Beach:
Low tide foraging on Puget Sound beaches can yeild tasty Oysters, Mussels, Cockles, and select Seaweeds. Bring a shovel and dig Rock Clams (Little Neck Clams), Butter Clams, Horse Clams, and Geoduck.