Fishing in the City

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Perhaps you’ve seen them fishing off the pier along Ruston Way in Tacoma, or casting from the beach in West Seattle. Have you wondered what those people are fishing for?

Photo by Bryan Davidson va Flickr Creative Commons

That depends on the season. And of course, the time of day.

This coming August we’ll host a run of pink salmon in Puget Sound. They surge into our waters every two years, millions of them returning to spawn. Anglers will follow, lined up along piers and shorelines. Our last big run was 2011, and I wrote about the fishermen we encountered at West Seattle’s Lincoln Park.

But what about those folks out on the lighted pier at night? They’re out there in frigid temperatures in the middle of winter, especially in the early morning and late evening. Watch and you’ll notice they might shine a light into the water at the exact spot their pole has dropped a jig. They huddle and wait.

They’re jigging for squid, or calamari. These small cephalopods are attracted to the lights from the pier and handheld flashlights.

To fish for squid you’ll need a Washington state shellfish license, a trout rod, fishing line, a bucket and a squid jig (a baited squid jig or an artificial squid jig that looks like prey to a squid.) Read more about squid fishing in Puget Sound here.

What about you — have you ever gone fishing in the city? What did you catch?

Good Fish by Becky SelengutGood Fish: Sustainable Seafood Recipes from the Pacific Coast

Pacific Northwest chef and seafood advocate Becky Selengut knows good fish, and tells all in a voice that’s informed but down-to-earth.  From shellfish to finfish to littlefish, fifteen good fish are featured, and the accompanying seventy-five recipes will appeal to a wide range of home cooks.


Photo above: fishing from the pier in Tacoma, by Bryan Davidson via Flickr Creative Commons

Lauren Braden’s new book, 52 Ways to Nature, Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year, is now available for pre-order
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One Response

  1. A few years ago, I went out on a fishing boat in the Sound, which was a pal’s idea of a bachelor party.

    Turns out there was plenty of beer, and somebody who would stick something at the end of the line, throw the line in the water for you, and pull it out when you called. After my line jiggled a bit, I called for the, uh, “line man,” who dutifully retrieved my “catch,” disconnected it from the hook, told me it was worthless, and threw it back in.

    As he was getting ready to re-bait the line, I asked him if it was necessary for me to keep hurting tiny fish so I could drink beer, and we agreed it was not. Someone in the party, other than the groom, caught a couple of fish they were really proud of, though!

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