Fishing Guide for Salmon in Rivers in Bellingham, Washington

Fishing Guide for Salmon in Rivers in Bellingham, Washington
Bellingham is located in northeast Washington, just south of the Canadian border. The coastal region has several popular fishing rivers with annual runs of steelhead and salmon. Salmon can be found in different rivers around Bellingham throughout the year, and anglers have the opportunity to catch large fish on conventional or fly-fishing tackle.

Seasons and Regulations

All anglers fishing for salmon in Washington rivers must have a current sportfishing license. The regulations for salmon always are subject to change, and anglers must stay current with changes throughout the season. Anglers can keep two salmon and have up to 40 pounds of frozen salmon in their possession. Once the daily limit of two salmon has been reached, you can no longer pursue salmon for the remainder of the day. The Nooksack River is open for salmon fishing from Sept. 1 to Dec. 1 and has a minimum size limit of 12 inches. You also must release pink salmon, wild Chinook and wild coho salmon.



The Nooksack River is the main salmon fishery in the Bellingham area. The river runs for 75 miles before entering the Bellingham Bay. The river has three forks, with the north fork and main stem being the dominant salmon fisheries. The river receives strong runs of Chinook, coho and pink salmon in the fall and winter. The Skagit, Sauk and Stillaguamish Rivers are all within 2 hours driving of Bellingham and are productive salmon fisheries. The Skagit is one of the most popular steelhead fisheries in Washington, but it also offers the opportunity to catch all five species of salmon, including large king salmon.


The salmon fishing rivers around Bellingham are large rivers and can be fished from shore or with a drift boat. Spey rods are a standard with fly fisherman. Spey rods allow anglers to make long casts and access the entire river. Swinging wet flies and streamers through the deep pools is productive for salmon. It is also popular to drift yarn egg patterns under a bobber with a fly rod or spin fishing rod. The salmon in the Bellingham Rivers are visible in some cases, but anglers must be prepared to fish the deep pools where salmon will rest before continuing the journey upstream. Fishing the deep water from a boat with weighted plugs and spoons will produce salmon and steelhead. Live bait also is effective, but with declining salmon runs, catch and release with a single hook is recommended by numerous conservation organizations in the area.


Article Written By Zach Lazzari

Zach Lazzari is an outdoor writing specialist. He has experience in website writing as well as standard newspaper writing. He wrote an outdoor column for the Silver World in Lake City, Colo., and articles for Lazzari is currently completing his bachelor's degree online through Arizona State University and lives in southwest Montana.

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