Having just returned from a family vacation and catching up with work and unpacking it was time to hit the Skokomish river to fuel up on some Hood Canal King salmon. When this river comes up thoughts of anglers lined up shoulder to shoulder come to mind with chuck, duck, and ripping corkies and yarn with copious amounts of pencil lead conjure disgust, head shaken no-no’s and frustration. I fish this river because I like the tidal flats, plenty of back casting room, fantastic scenery with the Olympic range to the west and of course Chinook salmon on the fly.
I invited Ching W. to join me as our last 4 outings had proved to be a bust and I had to redeem myself for the sake of showing him that King salmon can be caught on the fly. We arrived at the Skok a little after 9 am with heavy parked cars along both the Purdy cutoff road and lined along the 106 near most of the gear and traditional access points. Upon our access to the river saw a school of 4-6 fish that were making their way up but was greeted with gear guys tossing every sort of lead and yarn in front of the Chinook faces. I found a spot that looked like it might hold fish and within my third cast connected with a nice hen which for me was relief, having broken the skunk of not being able to bonk a legal fish with Ching. I was telling him on the drive down that perhaps he was the reason why we didn’t get any fish, joking of course.
I hit another smaller fish of about 6-7 pounds, decided to release her in favor of the cookie cutter teens fish that were swimming around. There was a nice pod of 5 fish that ran up but for some reason I couldn’t get any to coax until I checked my hook, or rather lack of hook! I was using a purple peril I tied specifically for steelhead and replaced the smaller hooks with 3/0 sickle hooks. Somehow the junction of the eyelet between my last fish I release came apart with the hook eye and I had been ghost casting for those fish.
I was able to punch out another legal fish and ended the morning with a pair of nice Kings for the barbeque. Ching wasn’t so successful on his first Skok outing but he definitely got the hang of this fishery and will hope to get another stab at getting a fish on his own another day.