Strait of Juan de Fuca Spring Blackmouth Salmon Fishing


Today we fished Protection Island, trolling with 15 pound downrigger balls hugging the bottom where the bait hovered. Yesterday I released a nice wild feeder Chinook that still had an adipose fin. Today, at the top of the high tide, tucked on the inside of the Southwest corner of the island, my rod broke free of the downrigger clip. A fat, healthy blackmouth fell victim to my mini FAT Squid, fished close to the bottom.

The area requires a good chart plotter to stay off the shallow areas. Later during the tide Steve’s rod bounced off the clip. He grabbed the rod and held on as a super strong Chinook took off toward the nearby deep slanted slope. The fish made three strong runs of about 50 yards each, bending the rod tip near the water’s edge. Then suddenly Steve swore and announced the fish came unbuttoned. We sure wish we could have seen this fish, as it never yielded any line and fought like a teen to twenty-something mature summer king. Who knows, it could have been an XL sized blackmouth or a muture fish heading to British Columbia’s Frazier River or beyond. Last weekend someone caught a 26 pound Chinook in the Anacortes Salmon Derby, proving anything is impossible.

It just hurts to lose really nice fish without seeing them. At least Steve got to feel and experience the strength and raw power of the fish, which I’m sure will haunt his thoughts for quite a while.

Did anyone notice, I used several terms for Chinook salmon. In case anyone is wondering, here’s a list of Chinook terms.

1. Chinook (Species type, you can’t go wrong calling it this)

2. Tyee (Any Chinook over 30 pounds. Typically a Canadian name)

3. Smiley (Commercial fishermen called Chinook over 50 pounds this because they made them smile)

4. Feeder (An immature salmon)

5. Blackmouth (immature Chinook salmon, called this because of the Chinook’s black lower gum line)

Also note, if you can’t identify blackmouth by their gum line, look for small round black spots on the tail and elongated spots on the top of the back. They also have a very unique metallic smell. I’m 100 percent sure a blind man could identify Chinook by smell alone.

About John L. Beath

John Beath is a writer, photographer, videographer, blogger, tackle manufacturer & Captain at Whaler's Cove Lodge in Southeast Alaska. He is also owner of and host at Lets Talk Outdoors @
This entry was posted in Salmon Fishing, Salmon Fishing Tackle, Salmon Fishing Tips & Tricks, Washington Salmon Fishing and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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