Author Topic: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me  (Read 283 times)

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Offline fishmiester

Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« on: October 14, 2017, 05:03:02 PM »
July started off really good. 1st fish came on the 4th, 20 lb king off washaway, also a smaller king around 12 lbs. Next trip was about 4 days later and the water was really snotty even after you got past the jetty, but managed to pick up a couple more kings before the wind sent us back to marker 15, lots of bait, but no love for us. Through the month of July we picked up fish out between the farthest yellow can and the greeen roofed house on the beach. About 50/50 tules and red meated kings. August the fish had moved up into the bay around Tokeland marina, in front of the cannery and out on the red line between marker 2 and 10. But lots of grass and very hit and miss on the fish. The charters out in the ocean were getting silvers, but we didn't get a silver until sept 18, and we spent a lot of time targeting them in the rips right on the bar. The gill nets went in right after that and it was an in between gill net opener fishery. Not a  "lights out" season, but better than last year. I think Craneman and his crew tallied more fish than we did this year, maybe he will chime in. My boat, 14 kings and 1 silver for about 25 trips.Looking forward to spring, halibut and bass at Lapush. 
If it swims, Ill  chase it
84 17' Seachaser, 2010 90hp Tohatsu tldi, BF15 Honda Custom welded kicker bracket.#lovethisboat

Offline beancounter

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 06:21:18 PM »
Sounds like you been busy. Your seat box turned out real nice. Gotta get some pics up for you to see.

Online Dbobby23

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2017, 01:47:22 PM »
6 days on Willapa this year compared to 50 last year
In 6 days this year all in the month of July. I ended up with 12 chinook. Including my personal best 27lb not 1 tule this year for me. Last year I couldn't keep the tules off in July.
Next year I will be back for the long run starting again July 1st. Should be interesting next year with the 2.5 million smolt released from the nasselle returning next year and only 300 thousand released from Willapa starting 3 years ago. This could change everything up.
Also don't forget  about lapush in October. Some of the calmest most beautiful days I have ever been on the ocean, I experienced in the last couple weeks. The rockpile is dead for lings but huge schools of big yellowtail are there. Inshore if you feel comfortable getting close to the rocks easy limits of lings and rockfish are there for the taking. Absolutely zero pressure right now except the coastguard running drills.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2017, 02:13:25 PM by Dbobby23 »
1983 seahunter
2004 yamaha f8
2007 yamaha f60 efi

Offline fishmiester

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2017, 02:57:33 PM »
We hit LaPush for 3 days in the middle of July for lings and sea bass and it was fantastic. The rockpile wasn't open then, but the close in reefs north of Mora Beach were lights out for some of the biggest lings I've ever seen inshore. The ocean was like a lake all 3 days. I spend a lot of time at Lapush staying with my extended family there. Nice having a friend that is a Quillieute Elder.
If it swims, Ill  chase it
84 17' Seachaser, 2010 90hp Tohatsu tldi, BF15 Honda Custom welded kicker bracket.#lovethisboat

Online Dbobby23

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2017, 03:24:21 PM »
That's awesome. Lapush is a special place. I feel like I'm in a different country when I'm there.
1983 seahunter
2004 yamaha f8
2007 yamaha f60 efi

Offline Craneman

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2017, 08:30:37 AM »
July started off really good. 1st fish came on the 4th, 20 lb king off washaway, also a smaller king around 12 lbs. Next trip was about 4 days later and the water was really snotty even after you got past the jetty, but managed to pick up a couple more kings before the wind sent us back to marker 15, lots of bait, but no love for us. Through the month of July we picked up fish out between the farthest yellow can and the greeen roofed house on the beach. About 50/50 tules and red meated kings. August the fish had moved up into the bay around Tokeland marina, in front of the cannery and out on the red line between marker 2 and 10. But lots of grass and very hit and miss on the fish. The charters out in the ocean were getting silvers, but we didn't get a silver until sept 18, and we spent a lot of time targeting them in the rips right on the bar. The gill nets went in right after that and it was an in between gill net opener fishery. Not a  "lights out" season, but better than last year. I think Craneman and his crew tallied more fish than we did this year, maybe he will chime in. My boat, 14 kings and 1 silver for about 25 trips.Looking forward to spring, halibut and bass at Lapush.
  Well Lee my report isn’t very good,my personal worst season in years, although we didn’t’t give it as much effort as usual, just fished a couple hours around high water, but never have been a daylight to dark fisherman. Some of Those who put in the effort probably did better.
91 15 ft Sea Hunter
45 hp Honda
4 hp Yamaha

Offline fishmiester

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2017, 09:03:53 AM »
I think we are all getting old. I don't stay on the water near as long as I used to either, and the Willapa IS a tide driven fishery. Sure, you will pick up fish in between tide changes but it's not at all like fishing out in the ocean. Next year I am going to concentrate more on bottom fishing and trout fishing.
If it swims, Ill  chase it
84 17' Seachaser, 2010 90hp Tohatsu tldi, BF15 Honda Custom welded kicker bracket.#lovethisboat

Offline Ken W.

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2017, 09:40:14 AM »
Newbie question, what is a "tulie"?
2005 Sea Ranger 21 HT "Mizz Andrea"
150hp Suzuki/15hp Suzuki

Boston Whaler 150 Montauk "Beans"
60hp Merc

Online Threeweight

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2017, 11:18:33 AM »
A tule is a fall chinook from a run that spawns in a lower river tributary, not far from the ocean. 

Because they don't have to travel way up river (like the upriver brights of the Columbia, that run 200+ miles to their spawning water), they are sexually mature when they hit the estuary.  Instead of bright silver, bullet shaped fish, tules are typically already turning gray/green, with a hooked jaw and pink belly.  An experienced eye can spot them from the giant, rudder shaped anal fin and crazy slime coat.  Wild-run tules are also known for their giant adipose fin (like the size of your thumb).



On the plus side, because they don't have to store up a ton of energy to make it up to their spawning water, they tend to be bigger than other fall chinook and can be ferocious fighters.  On the down side, their body is already breaking down when they hit the estuary, and their meat is typically  a kind of creamy gray/orange vs. bright orange or red.  Not very good table fare, so not a popular target for fall chinook anglers.

I dunno much about the Willipa Bay runs, but the wild lower Columbia River tules are in bad shape, and their abundance (or lack of them) drives some of the limits on our fishery (especially Buoy 10, where we can keep wild chinook).  A lot of folks are making an effort these days to educate anglers as to what they look like, so they will release them unharmed.
Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson

Online Dbobby23

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2017, 12:25:53 PM »
A tule is a fall chinook from a run that spawns in a lower river tributary, not far from the ocean. 

Because they don't have to travel way up river (like the upriver brights of the Columbia, that run 200+ miles to their spawning water), they are sexually mature when they hit the estuary.  Instead of bright silver, bullet shaped fish, tules are typically already turning gray/green, with a hooked jaw and pink belly.  An experienced eye can spot them from the giant, rudder shaped anal fin and crazy slime coat.  Wild-run tules are also known for their giant adipose fin (like the size of your thumb).



On the plus side, because they don't have to store up a ton of energy to make it up to their spawning water, they tend to be bigger than other fall chinook and can be ferocious fighters.  On the down side, their body is already breaking down when they hit the estuary, and their meat is typically  a kind of creamy gray/orange vs. bright orange or red.  Not very good table fare, so not a popular target for fall chinook anglers.

I dunno much about the Willipa Bay runs, but the wild lower Columbia River tules are in bad shape, and their abundance (or lack of them) drives some of the limits on our fishery (especially Buoy 10, where we can keep wild chinook).  A lot of folks are making an effort these days to educate anglers as to what they look like, so they will release them unharmed.

I boated around 20 tules last year in July all chrome bright,hatchery and all around 23-3/4 inches to 27,
 8-11 lbs. Now me calling them tules is up for debate. I was told by several other Willapa fisherman these fish are obove boniville hatchery tules . The only thing I know for sure is the meat is almost white, they are super oily, they smoke really good but any other cooking method they are not good and they smell more than other chinook right after you get them in the boat. Early and even mid July in Willapa we are not targeting the local runs yet. All we are hoping for are dip ins from the ocean on there way somewhere else and the rare early very red meat Willapa fish.
1983 seahunter
2004 yamaha f8
2007 yamaha f60 efi

Offline Ken W.

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2017, 05:16:04 PM »
Yikes, that thing is a brute! Always learning here. Thanks for the tutorial.
2005 Sea Ranger 21 HT "Mizz Andrea"
150hp Suzuki/15hp Suzuki

Boston Whaler 150 Montauk "Beans"
60hp Merc

Online Threeweight

Re: Late wrap up on Willapa Bay season for me
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2017, 09:52:35 PM »
I think the official dividing line for wild tules on the Columbia is the Lewis River... when their runs are depressed they usually have a closure downstream from Warrior Rock Lighthouse to the buoy on the WA side of the river.

Hatcheries on the CR do use some tule stock... not sure which hatcheries though.  The hatchery tules I have encountered have all been dinky little 3 year old fish.

Former Sea Chaser 17 owner
Wild Card, Hewescraft Ocean Pro 220, Honda 225 and 9.9

“Never turn your back on fear. It should always be in front of you, like a thing that might have to be killed.”
       --- Hunter S. Thompson