Where are all those area 13 hatchery coho coming from?

Aug 25, 2021
6
22
44
Barlife, WA
Name
John S
Boat
Long Legs
I live deep in area 13, like WAAAAY deep. The last 3 years has seen a strange addition of hundreds (maybe into thousands some days) of hatchery coho staging up in front of the stream near my house. I've been loading up my catch card on them with rotators, spinners, and micro-spoons. Sometimes they can be as aggressive as cutthroat in a river just gang slamming my lures and chasing to the tip of the rod. We have a small native run that's been here forever, but the hatchery fish now outnumber them 10:1, easily. I haven't seen this huge number of staging fish here since the mid 1980's, which were insane years for massive south sound runs. Although today we don't see the 50+ lb nook-zillas like we used to.

Now, it is fact that salmon DO indeed spawn in streams or rivers for which they did not originate. It's how they populate new streams. But, what I am curious about, are these hatchery fish some sort of program by the WDFW to repopulate area 13 streams and rivers? Or are these fish coming from a state or tribal hatchery setup? The increase in coho running around the place seems to coincide with Minter Creek hatchery increasing their coho release significantly in the last few years. The thing is, I'm quite far from Minter Hatchery, or any hatchery that I know of that releases coho. Coulter Creek hatchery I don't think has released a run in 20 years? I would assume that if it was tribal, they would be out here netting them up, right? No nets anywhere in sight.

My personal theory is that these are Minter fish that have schooled up and followed the native fish back to the wrong stream. Many of the streams in this area come from the same small area where the soil composition is incredibly uniform due to the massive amount of glacial till that blankets the region. It's all mostly the same stuff. Maybe this confuses the coho more than usual and they are more inclined to be tricked into going up streams they were not released from. My only other idea is that the WDFW is releasing them in the streams? But why would they do this to streams that have self-sustaining wild runs?
 
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fishbadger

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  • Apr 6, 2012
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    fishbadger
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    .Grady Gulfstream 232 "Herd of Turtles"
    Squaxin Island net pen fish?

    Kudo's to you for getting them to bite, I can't get them to open up for anything, by the time they go by me they are lockjaw AF.

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    Ugly Bayliner

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Sep 18, 2008
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    Olympia, Wa USA
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    Steve Ericsson
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    Squaxin Island net pen fish?

    Kudo's to you for getting them to bite, I can't get them to open up for anything, by the time they go by me they are lockjaw AF.

    fb
    This. The net pen coho school up and down the shoreline from Squaxin island all the way down to Preist Point Park. They Mill around until they get netted because they are pen raised and have no river imprinted for spawning.
     
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    Aug 25, 2021
    6
    22
    44
    Barlife, WA
    Name
    John S
    Boat
    Long Legs
    This. The net pen coho school up and down the shoreline from Squaxin island all the way down to Preist Point Park. They Mill around until they get netted because they are pen raised and have no river imprinted for spawning.
    Not in the area I fish or live. Are those tribal fish clipped? It appears the fish that come by my place end up spawning in the stream with the wild fish once the rain hits.

    Either way, I think this boom in A13 coho will eventually get shut down in one way or another. I would imagine the biologists are not too keen on thousands of aimless hatchery coho infiltrating native streams by the hundreds or thousands.

    On the plus side, I got a hatchery A13 coho last year just shy of 14 lbs. Sucker was a coho-monster by A13 standards.
     
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    Ugly Bayliner

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Sep 18, 2008
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    Not in the area I fish or live. Are those tribal fish clipped? It appears the fish that come by my place end up spawning in the stream with the wild fish once the rain hits.

    Either way, I think this boom in A13 coho will eventually get shut down in one way or another. I would imagine the biologists are not too keen on thousands of aimless hatchery coho infiltrating native streams by the hundreds or thousands.

    On the plus side, I got a hatchery A13 coho last year just shy of 14 lbs. Sucker was a coho-monster by A13 standards.
    I don’t know where you live but most fisherman down here in Olympia are very familiar with the Squaxin net pen coho, I’ve been chasing them for 15 years or more. Sense they have no river imprinted, they end up up and down Budd Inlet, all around Harstene Island, in Hammersly Inlet, clear up into Rocky Bay by Vaughn and over by Allen. Last few years I caught them off of Burfoot Park. The Biologists aren’t concerned with them, they are raised by and netted by the Squaxin island tribe, they are a big resource for them and the state isn’t going to mess with that. Most are clipped but a few get away of course. Usually Blue Fox chartreuse #4 vibrax spinner will coax a bite now and then but they get lock jaw pretty bad.
     
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    Aug 25, 2021
    6
    22
    44
    Barlife, WA
    Name
    John S
    Boat
    Long Legs
    I don’t know where you live but most fisherman down here in Olympia are very familiar with the Squaxin net pen coho, I’ve been chasing them for 15 years or more. Sense they have no river imprinted, they end up up and down Budd Inlet, all around Harstene Island, in Hammersly Inlet, clear up into Rocky Bay by Vaughn and over by Allen. Last few years I caught them off of Burfoot Park. The Biologists aren’t concerned with them, they are raised by and netted by the Squaxin island tribe, they are a big resource for them and the state isn’t going to mess with that. Most are clipped but a few get away of course. Usually Blue Fox chartreuse #4 vibrax spinner will coax a bite now and then but they get lock jaw pretty bad.
    Did the tribe increase their release numbers the last few years? The coho never swarmed in my part of the sound like this until around a couple years ago after not being around for decades.

    Either way, I can't complain. Last year we had big bright coho show up all the way into late October and early November.

    Now, for a more interesting thread topic, trying to figure out why I've also been seen spring coho spawning in June. LOL Seriously, we had full firetruck spawning mode coho show up at our place in June a couple years ago. That was a trip. LOL
     
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    Ugly Bayliner

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    Sep 18, 2008
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    I have no idea, they might have. I know far fewer people have been fishing for them last few years as there were in years past.
     
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    koopa

    Arima Adventures
    Feb 3, 2018
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    Puget sound
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    Koopa
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    Arima
    Not sure they are springer coho per say but resident coho that spawn throughout the season. The bulk head north around Seattle and the charters hammer them hard in June/July but some stay south year around like blackmouth.
     
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    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
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    WOW interesting and meaningful post!
    With more fish per mile, they're hungry!
    I could why they might bite most lures. LOL
     
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