We know firsthand the joys and challenges of fishing off the rocks. One of the most common questions we receive is, "what can you catch off the jetty?" The answer is that there is a wide variety of fish species that can be caught off jetties in the Pacific Northwest (PNW), depending on the location and time of year. We've compiled a list of some of the most common species that we've encountered and caught ourselves!
Rockfish - The PNW is home to several species of rockfish that can be caught off jetties. These fish are typically found near the rocky structure of the jetties and are extremely common. While Black Rockfish are the most prevalent, we occasionally encounter other species as well. These fish can range in size from a few inches to as large as 10lbs!
Lingcod - Lingcod are a popular gamefish that can be found near jetties and other rocky structures. While they are less common than rockfish, they are still a viable target for fishermen. We've caught quite a few off the rocks, though they tend to be smaller than the ones found offshore. They put up a serious fight, so be prepared to hold on tight and not let them swim back into the rocks!
Greenling - Greenling are bottom-dwelling fish that are often caught near jetties. They have a smaller mouth than some of the other species we encounter, so we typically use smaller shrimp flies when targeting them. They can be incredibly beautiful, with unique spot patterns.
Perch - The PNW is also home to several species of perch, including surf perch and striped seaperch, which can be caught off jetties. We've had success using a handful of different flies, but generally find them when using smaller hooks similar to those used for greenling. These are not common and generally not a species we target unless we can visually see them feeding or swimming around near the rocks!
Salmon - Depending on the location and time of year, salmon can also be caught off jetties in the PNW. Coho Salmon are the most likely of the salmon species to be caught, though there is always a chance of catching a chinook as well! When targeting salmon, we switch up our tactics, stripping as fast as we can and then recasting in front of the fish as they swim by. We often see these fish swimming close to the rocks, hugging the jetty on their migratory route.
Please keep in mind that fishing regulations and seasons may vary depending on the location and species, so be sure to check the current regulations before heading out to fish off a jetty in the PNW. Tie up some flies, bring out the 8wt and with a little research and a lot of patience, you're sure to have a great time fishing off the rocks and maybe even catch some of these amazing species!