Saltwater Fishing San Juan Island - Mid-March

PEEPLES72

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Aug 19, 2009
71
5
Montana
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Flycaster
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None
Going with the family in mid-March to San Juan Island. Any possibilities for kayak/small boat fishing for me and my kids. Salmon prob not a target since we'll be on kayaks and kids attention span is limited. Looked on the https://wdfw.wa.gov/ site to see regs, but not a lot of clarity there (or maybe I'm dense).
Catching anything would be fun though. If you have quick input, i'd appreciate it, otherwise I'll continue to call charter's etc...
 
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Sep 2, 2009
13
3
SD
Name
Steve
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Lund 16
Fished in kayaks with the kids a couple summers ago. Lots of action 0-20yds off the rocky shoreline. I think a little lazor minnow did best, but little plastics worked too. Also recalling might have crimped the barbs on the hooks. Kids really enjoyed an eagle diving on us until we could release the fish. Regs confusing for me too.
 

Salmon King

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Mar 29, 2013
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Everett, WA, USA
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Salmon is closed in the winter, not that you would be successful in a kayak.

Look into surf perch or kelp greenling. If you can find a sandy bottom then starry flounder or rock sole are easy to catch. Learn what a descender is and have it board.

Also, the water is cold enough to be fatal in March. Unless you have proper gear and know how to roll a kayak, you have a good chance of dying if you flip.
 

Tish

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Jun 27, 2019
117
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Shoreline WA
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Grant
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1991 Achilles SGX-122, 1997 Boston Whaler Dauntless 17
+1 to Salmon King's feedback, and as southernhemi points out you will need to be fishing with barbless hooks to be legal in the salt in WA.

If the goal is just "catch something in the salt" you should have some success even just casting from the beach. I would suggest looking at Eagle Point/Eagle Cove or Cattle Point, and I believe the docks in the marina at Friday Harbor are also open to fish, Expect to get sculpin, sand dabs, rock sole, greenling, potentially some surf perch... surf perch, sole and greenling are all good eating, sand dab is similar to sole, but sculpin you toss back (and be careful when you do, they have horns on them). I believe (but you should double check) that these species are open all year round.

Even on the beach you need to watch yourself... the wave action (especially on the west side of the island) can get pretty serious, any rocks are going to be slick and treacherous, and that water is pretty damned cold so be safe.
 
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Barracuda1

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Jul 7, 2011
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Fred
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Enjoy your trip to the San Juan's! It's beautiful scenery and townies are friendly. Others have posted some good safety tips about the waters. The marina areas are pretty protected though and would be a good kayak option with kids. As for fishing.. Enjoy the beautiful scenery.
 

Hard Chargin'

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Aug 11, 2019
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Andre
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+1 to flounder fishing!

I love catching flounder- banana weight, #1 hook and chunks of herring will get you in the money. I'll frequently catch them in the 5# range with this setup. Sometimes it's hard to keep the dogfish off though. I'm not sure how thick they will be in March.

Keep Chargin'
 
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sgwill122

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Feb 21, 2011
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+1 to flounder fishing!

I love catching flounder- banana weight, #1 hook and chunks of herring will get you in the money. I'll frequently catch them in the 5# range with this setup. Sometimes it's hard to keep the dogfish off though. I'm not sure how thick they will be in March.

Keep Chargin'

Dogfish are a great idea for kids. Having a kid unhook one from a kayak might be challenging. I have even cooked one before when I took my boys scout troop out. The boys claimed it was not bad. I cleaned it immediately and rinsed in saltwater for a few minutes before frying in a lot of butter.
 

Tish

Almost A Member
Jun 27, 2019
117
58
Shoreline WA
Name
Grant
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1991 Achilles SGX-122, 1997 Boston Whaler Dauntless 17
Dogfish are a great idea for kids. Having a kid unhook one from a kayak might be challenging. I have even cooked one before when I took my boys scout troop out. The boys claimed it was not bad. I cleaned it immediately and rinsed in saltwater for a few minutes before frying in a lot of butter.
Good call, PEEPLES72 doesn't say how old his kids are but based on the "attention span is limited" comment I'm guessing younger. I bet a kid from Montana would be thrilled to pull up a SHARK! When I was a kid I would've gotten a lot of mileage from that story... I had to avoid the mouth filled with razor sharp teeth!
 

PEEPLES72

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Aug 19, 2009
71
5
Montana
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Flycaster
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None
Thanks for all the comments, appreciate it!
My kids are 10 and 11, so we should be in the right attention zone. I grew up kayak fishing in CA, so I am very well aware of the dangers/benefits to kayak fishing as well as the dangers of the ocean. :) Top priority, don't die, then catching fish.
Sounds like the kelp greenling and flounder/dabs would be perfect. We're staying near at Mosquito Bay/Mitchell Bay on the NW part of the island.
Thank you again for the guidance.
 
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wdlfbio

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Sep 15, 2008
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laurence
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You’ll probably be there and gone before I put the new boat in the water. If you get delayed, let me know. We can get you and the kids fishing greenling and sand dabs.
 

Salmon King

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Mar 29, 2013
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You’ll probably be there and gone before I put the new boat in the water. If you get delayed, let me know. We can get you and the kids fishing greenling and sand dabs.

That’s an offer worth rescheduling your trip for! I’d jump at an open sand dab seat on Lawrence’s new cat. 😋
 

PEEPLES72

Newbie
Aug 19, 2009
71
5
Montana
Name
Flycaster
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None
You’ll probably be there and gone before I put the new boat in the water. If you get delayed, let me know. We can get you and the kids fishing greenling and sand dabs.
A ride on an old cat would be amazing... :) Those are amazing. Thanks Lawrence (@wdlfbio ) I'm bring some light tackle gear and will post what we come up with. Been a year since I've been on the ocean.
 

RedRunner

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Jul 15, 2016
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Josh
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Northwest SeaStar
Thanks for all the comments, appreciate it!
My kids are 10 and 11, so we should be in the right attention zone. I grew up kayak fishing in CA, so I am very well aware of the dangers/benefits to kayak fishing as well as the dangers of the ocean. :) Top priority, don't die, then catching fish.
Sounds like the kelp greenling and flounder/dabs would be perfect. We're staying near at Mosquito Bay/Mitchell Bay on the NW part of the island.
Thank you again for the guidance.


Weighted soft baits with a tail that flutters on the retrieve. The entrance to Mosquito bay has a few rock piles by the resort dock. We catch greenling just north of Roach
 

Pipe Dream

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Jun 15, 2009
252
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University Place Washington
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Larry
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20 foot Grady-White, Pipe Dream
It was mentioned earlier in this string but please be sure that ALL of your barbs are pinched. Also, if you are fishing for bottom fish you must have a descender device on board ready to be used. Generally speaking you cannot fish for bottom fish in waters deeper than 120 feet (exception may be in effect during halibut openers). You cannot fish for, retain or possess rockfish in MA 7. Daily limits within MA 7 are set forth in the pamphlet or on line. Ling season doesn't open until 1 May.