Fishing for blackmouth in Sekiu Washington can be super productive if you know when, where and how to fish for immature Chinook salmon. Later in the season you might also encounter bigger Spring Chinook migrating through the Strait of Juan de Fuca on their way to their home rivers. The chart above shows one of the most popular and productive places to find limits of blackmouth. This Sekiu fishing chart represents my favorite troll path and most productive locales marked by red Xs. Other experienced Sekiu anglers might look at my chart and have a different favorite troll or spot where they catch the majority of their catch. That’s fine and completely normal as anglers and their techniques vary from boat to boat.
My first experience fishing Sekiu dates back to the late 1970s. This area is popular and loved by many, including me since the first time fishing the area. The Sekiu fishing chart above shows an extended “Caves” area troll. Trolling with the current is key here most of the time. Two years ago I trolled with the outgoing current and could not get a bite. Fishing proved very slow for all the boats. In an effort to get a bite I got to the end of the troll, turned into the current and increased speed. Within minutes we caught our first keeper. We kept going against the current and caught another fish. At that point I got on the VHF and called two boats I knew and they started trolling against the tide. Within a couple hours all of us trolling against the current had limits in the box. Anglers trolling with the current continued experiencing slow action. While this day was the exception it proves anglers must learn to adapt and try something different in order to get a bite. This might mean trolling against the current, or sideways to it, changing speed, depth or lures. Sometimes a simple change of lure color does the trick.
Tides and Currents
Typically when the current is strong I drag the bottom with my downrigger balls. To maintain proper depth within a few feet of bottom you will need to have someone at the downrigger to adjust depth to hit bottom and then bring it up a few feet. Because speed of current and boat changes frequently you should continue to “bump” bottom and check to see how close your ball is off bottom. One of the biggest mistakes I see anglers make when first starting a troll is their bottom depth control. When you first start trolling, hit bottom with your ball and then raise it a few feet. Depth will change and “blow back” within minutes requiring an adjustment. That is why we continue to check our ball depth often throughout the troll. And of course, if the depth changes you will need to raise or lower your ball to adjust. Be prepared to lose the occasional ball, especially if you fish five feet or less off bottom. It is just part of the fishing game.
Strong currents compress and push bait and blackmouth toward the bottom. When currents are weak, bait and blackmouth could be anywhere in the water column. During blackmouth season if you only fished within 5 to 10 feet off bottom you will catch your fair share of fish. Even during weak currents I like to keep one downrigger ball super close to bottom and use the other side to explore the water column.
Also note, when the tide book lists high or low tide that does not reflect direction of current. The Strait of Juan de Fuca has billions of gallons of water flushing in and out and most often exceeds listed times. It is not uncommon in the Straits for water current to be an hour or more off from listed high or low tides. For this reason it is best to simply put your boat into neutral and watch your drift and speed. This will save you time and give you valuable information to start your troll.
I like to troll the 120 to 130 foot contour line. The biggest factor, however, is bait. Where you find bait you will find blackmouth. If you can’t find bait in your troll line move shallower or deeper. Also watch for nets — an obvious signal of someone catching a fish.
Baits, Lures & Flashers
I prefer lures over bait during blackmouth season because they work great, cost less and you don’t have to worry about losing your bait while trolling. However, lots of anglers love herring and sometimes bait works better than lures. My favorite, most productive lures for Sekiu blackmouth include Needlefish and a variety of spoons.
When trolling with the current don’t be surprised when your speed indicator reads 4 to 5 knots. The key to speed is to make your gear work. In other words, you need to go fast enough to make your flasher rotate. If using strictly bait you can go much slower with a cut or whole herring.
This is a SquidPro fully rigged Needlefish with UV tubing between the double hooks. This Needlefish hoochie is fished 32 to 36 inches behind an F4 Piscator flasher or plastic flasher. The UV tubing protects the 25 pound leader and provides and great place to add scent.
This blackmouth went for a Mean Green Flutter King spoon fished behind a plastic flasher with a 32 inch leader.
Flutter King spoons have a great side to side action, unlike any spoon on the market.
Flutter King salmon fishing spoons all have glow on the inside and color pattern on outside. These spoons have a deep cup to provide maximum action and they have a plastic action tail and swivel to increase the side to side movement. They come stock with a 3/0 hook.
Where to Stay & Launch
Mason’s Resort offers a multi-lane launch, docks, moorage, rustic cabins and motel rooms. They also have fuel on site and a fully stocked tackle and convenience store.
Area 5 Blackmouth Season 2021
March 1st through April 30th
Limit 2 adipose clipped Chinook minimum length 22 inches