Westport, Oregon fishing
How to fish Westport
For the uninformed, tales of the Chehalis River bar at Grays Harbor can be
intimidating, although sometimes rightfully so. For a small boat, a 17’ or 18’
with a deep hull would probably be considered minimal. If you watch the weather,
time & tides there should be no real problems. This bar is not a Sunday
afternoon cruise in lower Puget Sound however. Experience is invaluable in any
situation, and many first-timers here may want to go with someone who knows the
area, or at least follow them out and stay in radio contact.
Fishing here you will need to observe WDFW marine area 2 rules, with the bay east of buoy #13 after September 1, using 2.2 rules.
photo by Bob Singley Guide Service
History: My fishing out of this port dates back to 1951 or 52 when, as a young
boy I would go out with my uncle. We would take his 7.5 or 10hp outboard, and
rent an open 16’ cedar strip boat from Heally or later an 18’ plywood boat or
Bar-View. These boat rental businesses were situated on the point then.
These days were before depthfinders were common or affordable, and many of us never had a compass onboard. The charters & some commercial trollers had marine radios, they also used CB radios, which were nick-named “Mickey Mouses” because they were not that reliable. You had to learn on your own where to go and what to do to catch fish, as our rental boats didn’t have radios. The fishing gear was a 6’ mooching leader with a slider top hook, as we ran whole herring, (cut-plug herring was not heard of then) a 4 to 6 oz. kidney sinker and a short stout rod. Rods were short, solid fiberglass, 5’ to 6’ with a 7’er being long, as they were a carry over from the stout bamboo rods used for the wire lined dodger trolling setups. The newer reels were usually Penn or Ocean City star drag, non-levelwind type. Monofilament line had just started to come in standard usage, but was not totally accepted as a mainline yet.
We never targeted Coho, as Chinook were rather plentiful and the season ran from the first of May to the end of October, with no season quota or individual quota. The fishing method was to drop your bait to the bottom, reel up 2 or 3 feet & drift with the tide. If there was no wave action, then you simply raised & lowered the rod tip to generate bait action. You would occasionally drop it down again to see if you had drifted into deeper water, or crank it up if you were dragging bottom. Then if you got nothing, or if the birds were working within sight, pull in & make a run back, or to a potentially better spot, and start your drift over again.
A few years later when the large charter boat fleet was based there, just getting out of the harbor or the main river could become a challenge if you happened to be leaving at the same time the 300+ charters were also heading out. The waves from these charters were great enough that a small boat had to really be on the outlook, as it seemed the skippers never looked back at the little boats. At times we thought they seemed to think of us as pests to be exterminated. Your only hope was to get behind one of them & stay close in their protected wake. One thing you could do however, if you did not know where the fish were, was just to get behind one & follow them to there they were going. The bad part of this was you did not know how far out they were headed on that particular day and maybe you didn’t have enough fuel to even return for this kind of a run.
The charter boats were nicknamed the “puker fleet” by the the commercial fishermen and townspeople.
There were so much diesel exhaust fumes that the air was darker in the direction the boats went.
The South Jetty in those days went to within a hundred yards or so of buoy #8. We could hug the inside of the South Jetty to it’s end & then go between it and #8 and be in the open ocean without much exposure to the bar. We would usually watch the tides & try to go outside a few hours before high tide change & be back a few hours after the change, there usually was no need to wait until the next change as fishing was usually very good.
Most of the outside fishing was from buoy #6 to #4 and occasionally we would have to venture WAY OUT to #2.
At that time, there was a deep slot just inside of the South Jetty. We could fish outside in the ocean & then after the high tide changed we would slide inside to finish the day here. Many a Chinook was pulled in this slot without going near the bar in the latter part of the season. There was also good bottom fishing here, many black sea bass and some nice lingcod were pulled. Occasionally we would hook into the bottom that moved, & after about an hour you would get to see what you had. Usually it was a large sting ray with wings about 8' wide. Mind you are boats were only 16'. The word then was CUT THE LINE.
The original South Jetty was constructed from a railroad on top of driven in piling. This jetty has been rebuilt twice since those days & never back to the length of the original jetty. Therefore, I would not consider crossing over between the end of the existing jetty and #8. There are considerable rocks still submerged, causing a turbulence off the end off the jetty and out toward #8.
The North Jetty never extended much beyond the beach. These days were before Ocean Shores was a town. Later the north jetty was rebuilt and extended somewhat. The north jetty end still does not extend much beyond the north beach. In the early 1970s if we were heading out, we could cross the river over to the north side and head to the end of the North Jetty, then move around the end to open water off the Ocean Shores beach with little exposure to the bar. This has now changed and is not recommended.
In the late 1960's to mid 1970's I commercial trolled out of here with a 22' inboard boat. We were called "Kelpers". We were small, 20-24'ers, which had no ice capacity, limiting us to "day trippers" which meant we stayed closer to port, and since kelp grows in shallow water, hence the name. In the early years we could use any gear, including sport poles, of which I ran 6. Later we had to use only trolling "Girdies", and then later yet go to barbless hooks. Many a large Chinook were pulled off the north beach in 15' of water right behind the breakers with the sport poles.
As of the year 2001 there are only 28 charter boats operating out of Westport. And a GOOD Sunday will have up to 400 personal boats hitting the water in search of salmon.
Getting There #1: To get to the only launch in the area, as you come into town on Montesano Street, after you pass the airport on the right, there are a couple of small seasonal stores on the right, and next will be a Chevron service station at an intersection. The name of this station is The Hungry Whale, turn to the east (right) on Wilson Street and the launch is about 2 blocks straight ahead. The trailer parking lot is on the right. The Coast Guard station is between the launch, parking & the water. The launch is owned & maintained Port of Grays Harbor. It is a good 3 lane concrete ramp, with loading docks, there however is no freshwater wash down available. Launch fee is $5.00. The port office is at 327 Lamb Street, which is north down Nyhus Street into town about 4 blocks. Their office is open 7 days a week, 8AM-5PM, phone 360-268-9665. You can phone ahead & reserve dock space. Moorage price without electrical hook up for a 15' to 24’ boat is $8 a night. If you come in from the water at the first basin entrance, a sign on the breakwater lists a VHF channel that you can contact the port office.
During the heat of the salmon season, the recommendation is to call and reserve dock moorage if you plan on being there for more than one night. Or if for one night only, then the guest moorages are on float #6 or #21. Or in the first 3 or 4 berths on the ends of most of the other floats. Pick a spot in the evening, go up to the marina office and if after hours fill out the moorage ticket, put your money in the envelope & drop it in the box.
You can launch your boat Saturday evening and tie up to your berth and then have no hassle at the launch on Sunday morning. However sometimes this late Saturday evening launching can also be congested, but not as bad as Sunday morning.
Many dedicated fishermen will plan on fishing Sunday and Monday. The Monday morning launching and afternoon take out is no problem at all, as there is little competition then as compared to the Sunday zoo.
With the current salmon season closed Friday and Saturday, that means the only week-end day, Sunday, is a zoo at the launch. Even though the launch is a 3 lane unit, put in can be a long wait unless you are there early. The launching line sometimes extends back Wilson Street past the Hungry Whale, down Montesano Street and can take 45min to an hour if you get there at 6AM. So, when approaching the Hungry Whale, there may be a boat or two stopped there getting bait or gas, but look down Wilson Street’s left side to see if a line of boats & trailers is there, if so, that is the put in line.
Take out can be worse, because of all the boats going home Sunday afternoon. The take out line can be backed up to the Hungry Whale at noon, & by 5PM can extend south to past the airport.
Trailer and parking space can also be a major problem in situations like this if there is good weather & the fish are in. So plan on getting there EARLY, do your fishing & out of the water EARLY on Sunday afternoon.
Bait, both fresh and frozen can be had at the Hungry Whale. However fresh bait has to be reserved at by the afternoon the day before you need it. Their phone is 360-268-0136. One recommendation is if you call the order in, is to have the person taking the order to read it back to you, specifically your name, the DATE WANTED and the quantity.
Getting There #2: There is a launch at Ocean Shores. This launch is a concrete ramp with high concrete sides. You are backing down a chute. At the end of the concrete there is a 8" to 12" drop off. And at low tide (about 1.0+ ) you may even have a hard time staying in the narrow, shifting shallow channel out of the basin. The bottom near some of some of the marker pilings has shifted to the north in places as the basin has a tidal flow that constantly shifts the bottom.
Weather: The Coast Guard tower that flies the marine weather warning flags is out near Half-Moon bay, or west of town near the recreational park at the base of the South Jetty. It is advisable to look at this tower to see if smallcraft warnings are flying before launching if the weather is, or has been questionable.
If there has been a storm, the ocean may take from 2 to 4 days to lay down afterwards. So even if the flags are not flying right after a storm, you can still encounter rough seas no matter what the tides are.
It is advisable to go to a marine weather site http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/Portland/marine.html , and also the buoy site http://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/Maps/Northwest.shtml to get information that at least will give you some idea as to what to expect. On the buoy site, look at it often enough so you can tell the wave height and time between the waves as a comparison. It is recommended that you look at this site before you go there and then when you are there make some notes as to the sea conditions so you have something to actually compare or visualize what they are saying.
Here it can be foggy all day offshore, but it will usually be clear during the regular salmon season on shore. Later during the bay fishery, it can be foggy at least up to noon inshore.
The wind if there is any, will be coming from offshore & usually from the southwest
The recommendation is that anyone using these waters, acquire a marine chart of the area, look at it enough before you head out so you have an idea of the water depths, and keep the chart, or photo copies of it on the boat.
If the ocean is rough enough for the Coast Guard to close the bar, you still can fish for bottom fish inside the south jetty. If it is later in the season (the end of July) a few salmon tend to "Dip In" the river mouth with the incoming tide & then be flushed back out with the outgoing tide. You can also fish for salmon inside up to #13 while the ocean is open. The season east of #13 does not open for salmon until September 1.
Heading out: Leaving the boat basin from the launch, head straight out through the slot in the breakwater piling, then hang a left & head north for the point. Do not drift too far to the right (east) as you head for the point, as marker piling #7 designates the edge of Whitcomb Flats. As you enter the main river off the point, there are a couple of piling type breakwaters. Just outside of these, there is a shallow bar of about 15-20’ depth, you will encounter a turbulence here for a couple of hundred yards. Once you get beyond this, the main river deepens and the water flattens out. “A” buoy is just outside the point and in line with #13 buoy, head toward A buoy but turn to the west before you get to it.
It is suggested that you head straight out the southern middle of the river to #9. This buoy is beyond the end of the south jetty by about half a mile. If you are going to encounter any roughness it will be about this #9 buoy to beyond #8. From #9 you can head close to either side of #8. Beyond #8 you can immediately swing to the left & head southwest toward #6. At this point you will usually be beyond any bar wave conditions.
Distance from the launch to buoy #8 is about 5 ˝ miles. From the end of the existing South Jetty to buoy #8 is about 1 ˝ miles. Buoy #8 is about equal in a westerly direction as the end of the North Jetty.
Crossing the Bar: The one thing that will get you in more trouble than any other thing is SPEED. This is not a boat race, hold your speed down if it is rough, and then cut the throttle as you ride over the a crest so that you do not slam the boat into a trough on the backside of a crest.
This river, like most rivers on the coast, you will need to be observant of the tides if operating a small boat. Tidal exchange is the key to crossing any bar. Probably the ideal time to cross is on high slack or an hour or two each side of it. However the time of this tide many times does not allow you as a fisherman, to cross on one high tide & come back on the next high tide 13 hrs later during daylight hours. Under normal condition the roughest bar will occur on the last part of an outgoing tide when the river is rushing out & being resisted by the ocean. Usually if nothing else is encountered, (as wind conditions) on the outgoing tide, the bar will be roughest from about 2 to 3 hours before to 1 hour after the low tide. The bar usually tends to flatten out on the incoming tide, with the flattest at the high tide change & about a couple of hours after.
The tide exchange will govern how rough the bar is going to be. The low tides will have one real low tide each day & the other low tide will be somewhat higher. Look at the tide book & compare the difference between two tides closest to the time you intend to cross. From a fisherman’s standpoint, if we look at the Pacific Beaches tides for July 13, 2002, the high tide is 8.4’ at 3:33AM & the following low tide is –1.0’ at 10:26AM, you therefore have a 9.4’ run off. The next high tide is at 4:59PM at 7.7’ with a difference of 8.7.
This means you can go out & cross on the outgoing tide at 6 to 7AM with no real problem, as the outgoing tide will be about ˝ way out at the time you cross. You then can come back across about anytime up till 8PM with little problems because you will be coming in on the incoming tide, into high slack & beyond.
Another situation can be looked at for August 4, 2002. The high tide is at 10:31AM & is 5.6’, with the next low tide at 3:27PM at 3.1’. This gives a runoff of only 2.5’. With this low runoff, it means you can cross the bar about anytime you wish during normal fishing hours.
If any roughness is to be encountered, you will be able to see it better from inside looking out, as you can see the white water off the tops of the waves. Coming back in, you are looking at the backs of these waves & can not see if there is any white water coming off the tops. Therefore the water looks calmer when you are outside looking in.
One thing to be on the outlook for is commercial crab pots if the season is still open. I have seen them in numerous quantities in the main channel and all over just outside of the entrance, possibly more on the north side than south though. You will even see them at times out to about 200’. When passing a crab pot, try to pass by it on the lee or downward tide side to ensure that the pot line does not tangle your in prop. After the crabbing season ends, you will still see a few “lost pots”. These can usually be identified by the float being rather black from algae and is usually is only visible at a low slack tide, as the rope has lots of seaweed & algae growing on it, dragging the float under if any tidal movement is there.
Crossing The Bar Going Out: If crossing when there is some roughness, you need to have your hand on the throttle at all times. When you ride up a wave, cut your power so that you rock over & down the other side. It is also best to try to do this at an angle other than straight head on, as the boat will roll slightly making the ride easier than hitting the water on the back side like a ski jumper. The main thing here is pick where you want to go, use enough power to get you there & maintain your headway, but cut back on the crests, then re-power for the next one. Quartering the waves, you might not be able to head exactly where you want this way, but it will be a lot smoother & safer.
Once you decide to go, don’t get part way out and decide it is too rough and then try to turn around in rough chop. This could very well broach you if a wave catches you broadside. If however you do get in this situation, your best approach may be to slow down enough to yet maintain steerage & let the waves push you backwards enough to a point where you then can then turn around.
If you are not sure when you get close to the rough water, DON'T GO THEN. Lay back under slow power, watch & observe if & where other boats are crossing & the conditions they are encountering.
It is suggested that the small boat NOT exit the river from the North Jetty side at a low tide. The reason is that over the past 20 years or so this area just outside of #5 & north, has sanded in and has a water depth of 30’ or so. If the wind, tide and water conditions are wrong, with the ocean forces doing their thing, this shallower depth sets the stage for a rough sea until you reach about buoy #3 and the water depth drops off to 70’or so. This roughness is usually is not as noticeable on a high tide change. You can cross here on a high tide, but then the bar is flat enough that you can cross about anyplace you want.
Heading Back From Outside: You can navigate here without a GPS, but it is a lot easier with one. To head back in by compass, you of course will have to mostly reverse your outgoing course. Watching your water depth can also be a help if you refer to your chart.
If you run straight west & fish quite a while, you do not know which way the drift is on that particular day, and when heading in, unless you are familiar with the landmarks near the beaches, you may be on the wrong side of the harbor when you run back eastwardly to come in. The drift however is normally to the north.
Coming in, when you get in close enough to see the shore well enough to pick out landmarks, if you happen to be way north, there are a couple of hills in the background called “saddle mountain”. If you are on the north side slightly, the condominiums at Ocean Shores will be visible behind the beach. If you are coming straight in, a white roof of one of the shipyard buildings will show up in the town close to where you launched the boat. And if you are slightly south, the Westport water tower will be more visible. From the south you should be able to see the south buoy line, as they run at a southwesterly direction & GH, the last buoy is about ˝ way to the Willapa River entrance. Or if you south & are out farther so you can not see the buoy line, there will be clay banks behind the cranberry bogs of Grayland. If you happen to be way south, the landmarks are totally different as you will be looking toward the Willapa valley.
Crossing The Bar Coming Back In: This will be pretty much like going out, with the exception you will usually be riding in on a wave instead of heading into it. The situation can also be different if there is a tide & or wind involved where you will have to quarter the wave. You can be riding the back of a wave like a surfboarder but on the back side. It may run out from under you (going faster than you are) & you will then have to straighten up the boat so that when you are being pushed into the trough of the next wave you are going straight with the wave. You do not want to be in the bottom or trough at an angle. As soon as you start riding the backside again power up & run your intended course till it outruns you again. Some boats will get on the backside & have enough power to stay there & ride it all the way across. This can work, is a very smooth ride, but be aware that IF something goes wrong, it will go wrong VERY FAST, as these waves are usually doing in excess of 30 MPH.
There is also a situation of a "Trailing Sea". In this situation you will probably be bucking some chop, a slight crosswind & the waves are coming in on your stern. With the waves coming in like this you won't have the steerage you would like & if the stern of your boat is low, you may need the bilge pumps running. Here is where you may have to go where you really did not intend to go for a ways, & then quarter the other way to get back to your intended course.
The above information is not to scare you off, just to make you very cautious and possibly realize that you have to be VERY OBSERVANT as to all the conditions around you. I might just be leaning slightly over more on the side of safety, but I do not want a greenhorn to this area to think this is a ride in the lake.
GPS/ Plotter: It is recommended that small boats acquire a GPS, learn how to use it and put in some locations to come home to. Here it can be foggy all day offshore, but will usually be clear during the regular salmon season on shore.
It is recommended to use as a head in location, from the north or straight out, buoy #3 (46-55-00, 124-14-82) if coming in from south then head for #8 (46-54-32 , 124-11-00). You should also probably enter “A” buoy (46-55-04, 124-06-86) to get back to the basin, although the fog will usually clear off once you get inside the river.
Salmon Locations: The bulk of these Westport salmon will probably be Columbia River fish, so the school will tend to move in that direction (southerly) as the season progresses. The salmon will concentrate where the bait is, the best will be where you find shrimp, which the herring will be feeding on. The salmon will be feeding on both.
If fishing tends to be slow, when you catch the first salmon, cut its stomach open to see what it has been feeding on and try to match your bait to these stomach contents.
Currently, for the last few years early in the season, a mix of both Coho & Chinook seem to be concentrating in 200 to 240’ of water 270 degrees west from the harbor (46-56-55, 124-25-78). This location is about 18 miles from the boat basin. Early in the season, (first few weeks) they tend to be from there to slightly north of this location, then they start moving south as the season progresses.
You will find the Coho from right on top to down 25-30’, however we have pulled one at 130’. The Chinook will also be in the top water column if early in the morning or it is foggy. Later if / when the sun comes out the Chinook may decide to move down to from 50’ to the 100’ level.
At times, salmon can be found around buoys #6 to #2, so don’t just run offshore because your buddy said that is where he caught his last weekend. Stop in and at least take a look or make a pass along the south buoy line before you make a long run to open water.
If you plan on heading south, it may well be beneficial to stop the last buoy of the south Grays Harbor line, # GH (about 4 miles SW of #8) and make a pass or two there. We have, the last of the season, pulled a 32# Chinook here, mooching 20’ deep, targeting Coho, on a steelhead rod and spinning reel & 12# line, late in the afternoon. These fish apparently are Willapa fish that are just waiting for the right river conditions to develop.
Another salmon location farther south, is just off the Willapa River mouth (46-44-88, 124-18-80 in about 185’ of water. This however is a rather long run south.
With the fish in the top part of the water column, you will probably not be able to see them on your fishfinder.
Late Fall Salmon inside Locations: After the ocean fishery, (marine area 2 closes), the season, marine area 2-2, opens east of buoy #13. This buoy is about straight between Westport and Ocean Shores. To fish this location, launch as usual and go out past “A” buoy. Number 13 will be north of there basically on the center of the river. Fishing will concentrate from just east of #13 to upriver on a high incoming tide. This is essentially a mini version of the Columbia River Buoy #10 fishery. Here, this time of the year, the Coho will probably dominate. However there are some large Chinook heading up the Chehalis, Satsop, Humptulips, etc., so your chances of picking up one of them is possible.
The Humptulips River empties into the bay off the north side east of Ocean Shores. You can also try this channel for salmon.
It is advisable to enter in the GPS locations for these buoys, as this late in the year it can be foggy up until noon at times, if you intend to fish the lower bay.
Ocean Shores #3 46-56-60 , 124-06-00 John’s River #8 46-55-40 , 124-00-57
Buoy #14 46-55-27 , 124-06-43 Buoy #24 46-55-59 , 124-01-97
Buoy #SC 46-55-33 , 124-02-85 Buoy #25 46-55-70 , 124-01-17
Buoy #21 46-55-29 , 124-03-46
You may have heard of the fall Chinook fishery at Johns River. This is a small river that empties into the Chehalis from the south shore, just upstream from Westport. Much of this fishing is in the South Channel (15’ of water) from upriver of the Johns River #8 about a mile, to back to the range markers at #SC and the main shipping channel near #24.
To get to Johns River from #14, the main river shipping channel heads east, and at #21 a northeasterly bend to #25. You can enter the South Channel between #SC buoy and #24. Just to the east of #24 are the range markers for the upper crossover channel. Johns River empties into the south channel a little over a mile east of #24 at it’s own marker #8.
There is a launch on Johns River, just upriver from the Hiway bridge at Markham. The launch is on the old Hiway just east of the current one. It is however not recommended for larger prop boats, as the channel out to the Chehalis South Channel is shallow at low tide (5’) and narrow. If you do decide to use this, stay to the west of #1 & #3 markers, and follow the small trees that have been pushed into the mud by local fishermen.
Fishing here is usually a slow troll just off the bottom with a Fish Flash and a large plug cut herring. Floating weeds can become entangled in the line & gear, so it is advisable to pull in every 15 min. or so to clean the weeds off. The tide usually preferred is the incoming high to half way back out. However don’t pull out and leave just because the tide has changed.
Upriver of this area, to Cosmopolis can be fished for these late fish, but it seems that most of them will wait in tidewater until the river conditions are right, and then quickly move on upriver, and not much interested in taking a bait.
There are Coho raised in net pens inside the Westport boat basin off the point. The info that I have is the pens are owned by WDFW and that the Kiwanis Club is the sponsor with the local high school pupils feeding the fish as a project. These fish are released here and return in the basin in the fall. There is a special season for them. Charter boat personnel tell me that you can buy live anchovies from the bait float, hook one in the back, fish off the docks & just let it free swim. If these salmon are there you can have a ball. This is just another attractor for the local businesses.
Bottomfish Locations: There are not any islands, very few uncharted rock reefs,
and no kelp beds to attract bottom fish in this area. Some fishermen will
bottomfish inside the South Jetty, or the bulk of them will go out and then pull
in behind and south (outside) the South Jetty, & fish for sea bass & lingcod.
The main bottomfish location is usually north quite a ways and off of Moclips. (47-13-48 , 124-19-49). This location is in 100’ of water, but the fish can be found out to 200’. Do not go to this location & set down hoping to be on “the” spot. The bottom here is gravel, and it seems that this is a spawning spot for candlefish in the late spring and early summer. The sea bass and lingcod will tend to move around to where these baitfish are. So you will have to get near these spawning beds, and then start watching the fishfinder.
Off the south buoy line at 370’ of water there is a sunken ship at about 46-46-353, 124-31-166. The ships name was the Camden. This GPS has not been confirmed after the selective availability was removed, so it might not be exact. In past years this proved to be worthwhile to investigate if you were south off the Willapa as decent lingcod have been pulled from this hull’s remains. You can pick the ruins up on your depthfinder.
Crabbing Locations: There is one thing to consider here in the river, is that you need plenty of pot weights & lots of line out, as the currents will pull a single pot float under if you drop it off on a low tide & come back to pick it up on a high tide that has lots of exchange. You will come back and swear that someone has stolen your pot. But the float is just under water. You might have to come back next weekend at a low tide to try to retrieve it. However with the tidal currents, it may have been pushed even a couple hundred yards.
The old standby crabbing spot used to be half-moon bay by the Coast Guard tower. However recently this area’s bottom seems mostly covered with the green slimy aquatic vegetation and mostly void of crab.
One crabbing spot would maybe be in Elk River, which is the body of water you enter just as you exit the boat basin from the launch. You might run to the right slightly, (south) up this small river to get away from boating traffic coming into the launch, and try a pot or two.
Probably a better location for crabbing would be the flats upriver from #14. This area is a large area that covers most of the center of the river and is about 25’ deep from #25 on the south to the Ocean Shores channel on the north.
Sturgeon Locations: One thing that is unique on this river is that it is open for sturgeon fishing 24 hours a day. There are launches at Aberdeen, Cosmopolis, Friends Landing and Montesano. Most of the sturgeon fishing occurs from Aberdeen upriver to Friends landing below Montesano. However there should be about the same opportunity in bay here as in the lower Columbia River. It is suggested that you try some of the troughs around Sand Island or Goose Island. Or even the upper part of the South Channel, or in the back side of Whitcomb Flats off Elk River. There appears to not be much of this type of fishing done in the bay, maybe simply because there is so many other fishing opportunities during the summer, and winter winds could set the stage for it too rough to keep an anchored boat steady enough to hold the bait down.
Most of the lower river tidewater sturgeon fishing is usually is out of the Cosmopolis launch. This is located at the east end of the short side street next to the police department, which is located close to the Weyerhauser mill on the main Hiway through town.
There is also bank fishing done at this launch area. Most of the boat fishing will occur either below the launch or upriver at the next 2 bends. The second sharp bend has a deep hole where many boats do anchor.
During the winter when a high runoff is in process, you can slip into the 2 soughs, Preacher or Blue Slough. These give both the fish and the fisherman a little protection.
There are not as many sturgeon in this river as the Columbia, and the Quinault Indians do net them usually at the 2nd bend above Cosmopolis. Therefore I would recommend trying to fish below or above this netting area.
above information was used with the permission
LeeRoy Wisner had posted several EXTREMELY informative articles on the Puget Sound Anglers website and we strongly recommend visiting that website or click here to email him directly. As an editor's note I must say that in my lifetime of searching every available resource I have never come across so many helpful and informative articles as those written by LeeRoy Wisner. Thanks again and hats to LeeRoy for giving us permission to post these articles so that you can learn more about fishing and hopefully you catch more fish!