Puget Sound Conditions Forecasting


Sep 1, 2018
Boat Name
Hi Everyone, I'm new to fishing the puget sound and wanted to start doing so this summer but had a question on how to do it safely since I'm new to it. I'll be in a 18' nw style aluminum boat and wasn't sure how to determine when is a good day to go out and when is it best to stay home. I'll be fishing the narrows area and I've been over the narrows bridge before and seen white caps, and also been over it and seen it look like glass. My question is, what causes the change in the waves out there? Is it just wind? Is it tide change? Is it both? Is it something else completely? I have seen people say to check the forecast before going out but what should I be checking? For example, if I were to go out this Friday it looks like low wind conditions, does this guarantee that the waves won't be crazy or do I need to look at something other than the wind? Just trying to stay safe out there and try going out a few times before I take the kids out, thanks for the help!
Randy G
Randy G
Tomorrow we have one of the lowest tide of the year -4.2. The narrows in some places almost turns into white water conditions. Just saying be careful because the water really rips through there on extreme tide exchanges.
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Oct 25, 2018
Boat Name
North River Seahawk
download a few of the weather apps, when you're out there, check them and compare it to what you're seeing on the water. that will also help you figure out what you;re comfortable with.
but yes, wind, currents, tides etc all play a role in the conditions. in areas like the narrows where when there's a big tidal exchange (like this weekend) there will be some strong rips, couple that with wind and you may or may not enjoy certain areas.
stay safe and have fun.
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Salmon King

I Should Upgrade My Account
Mar 29, 2013
Everett, WA, USA
Boat Name
Salmon King 21' Custom Pilothouse
What part are you looking to fish? You mention the narrows, so maybe south?

Windy is great, but local wind conditions are sometimes missed. You will get to know the daily wind patterns that are based on pressure. (e.g. W wind in the straights on clear, high pressure afternoons, N wind in the afternoon in Saratoga passage, etc).
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Captain Decent

The Bert makes ‘em Squirt
Nov 2, 2017
Covington, wa
Boat Name
The Bert Makes ’em Squirt
I like windy. I recently started cross referencing with wind finder and notice they are usually at odds with windy saying more and wind finder saying less.

The more sources I add to the repertoire the crazier they make me.

However I have found windy to be pretty accurate compared to the others. Particularly noaa which has fallen out of favor with me.
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Jun 12, 2011
Port Angeles, WA
Big John
Boat Name
Classic MAKO 22
I walk out to the beginning of the driveway and look across the Straits to Victoria. If I see whitecaps the boat stays in the barn.

Wind against the tide, no no. Consult the tide tables and wind forecast.

Back in the older days we just watched the stacks at the Crown Zellerbach paper mill. If the west wind was pushing the plume 45 degrees or more, boat stayed in the barn.

Back to the future, once you boat a little bit and begin to understand the tide/current/wind in your area you will have it down.

Today's forecasts are pretty good.

My rule: If the wind is above 10 to 15, boat stays in the barn.

Wind bucking the tides, boat stays in the barn.

You gotta know your local conditions.

Easy as pie.
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Pipe Dream

Jun 15, 2009
University Place Washington
Boat Name
20 foot Grady-White, Pipe Dream
Lots of very good advice already but let me repeat an earlier question. Where do you intend to fish (and launch)? You are from Tacoma so are you launching at Pt. Defiance? Fishing MA 11? If so there are plenty of great spots to fish without becoming too hung up on weather. If you launch at Pt. D and really want to fish MA 13 then watching wind and current is a good idea. By the way it was flat calm at Pt. Defiance this afternoon as we pulled the net pen frame after releasing 54K young Chinook last week. Puget Sound Anglers Gig Harbor will be starting up in person meetings in Sept at Tacoma's Tower Lanes. We are also having our Salmon Derby second Saturday of August which you might want to check out.
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Notable Member Gate Keeper to the Great Northwest
  • Apr 3, 2008
    Stanwood, WA
    Boat Name
    Pipe Dream Mentioned the PSA Club. You will meet and learn from some of the old salts. How to fish the area and they will pass on that info.

    As to Fishing in a small boat winds over 10mph watch it. White caps on the water means wind is getting over 15. There are areas to fish on the lee side of the wind blocks. getting there might be sporty. I like Windfinder. Spend the $4 for the pro version. You can save areas to your favorites. The Map shows wind direction, Velocity, and rain overlay. They use weather sites all around the country and the rest of the world. NOAA, Windy, and Swell Watch are some others I use.

    If going to the ocean I want a Improving Forecast not one where a storm is coming. A south wind SUXS.

    Open Bow?
    Stick a cooler there and stick a piece of Plywood with a cooler cutout to enclose it. Just incase.
    My 2 Cents
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    Bobber down!
    Jul 18, 2010
    Mt Vernon
    Boat Name
    20’ Glasply
    Weather.com is NOAAs weather service.

    (My opinion)
    5-15 kts 1-2 feet you’re good to go.
    10-15kts 2 feet starts getting crappy.
    15kts+ Over 2 feet don’t go.

    Also download sailflow app and/or windy both.
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