When kayak anglers dream about fishing for salmon, the wilds of Alaska may be first to come to mind. And, while it's true that salmon fishing gets better and better the further north one travels, there is quite a bit of happy hunting grounds in the lower 48 as well. We tapped into the knowledge of a few West Coast kayak fishermen who are well-known for spectacular salmon experiences. Their stories reflect not only successful techniques and strategies, but each angler evidences a love and respect for their locale. With this level of fishing, how could anyone NOT love it?
I'm normally in the Puget Sound or the Strait of Juan De Fuca. It starts in June with some Chinook filtering in, and then species after species comes through. From Chinook to Pink (odd years), then on to Coho and Chum. They usually end around November but if you look you can find some late runs into Christmas. I think the sheer amount of fishing water makes this area great for salmon. There's lots of different rivers that they're returning to and each has their own unique characteristics. It not only makes it fun but there's always another place and technique to try out. Definitely doesn't get stale!
WA regs are absolutely nuts! The Puget Sound area is broken up into 12 "areas" and each has different regs throughout the year. T hey also can change from day to day whether or not they are running on a quota system. Rigs allow only 2 single point barbless hooks.
Most of the time I mooch for salmon, but I also use a downrigger too (see Bryce's on downrigger here). Mooching (or drifting with a cut plug herring) just makes sense for a kayak. There's minimal effort involved in getting to where you need to fish and you drift your gear through the largest concentrations of fish. Mooching, no question it's a northwest classic and the most fun and effective way to fish for salmon in my opinion. I run a sliding sinker on a 12 pound mono mainline with anywhere from a 1-6 ounce cannonball sinker on it. That goes to a chain swivel. Then I have pre-tied leaders of 6'-8' leader of 15 pound mono leader to two 4/0 quality hooks. Well cooled brined bait is always essential so I bring along a small bait cooler.