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Thread: Reading Tide tables

  1. #1

    Default Reading Tide tables

    This is a rookie question but everybody needs to learn some how.

    We will be fishing salmon in river and streams locations where tides are important. My questions are two fold: How do you read the tide tables. The tables that I've read list times and numbers, an example of one such table that I'm reading is as follows:

    01:37 +17.1 H
    08:26 -0.6 L
    15:04+16.1 H
    20:28 +4.8 L


    I would assume that at 1:37 the high tide will be reached and the low tide will be at 8:26 after this time the tide will start rising till 15:04 when it will go down till 20:28. Is this the correct way to read these tables?

    With this information what is the best time to be fishing streams and rivers. Do you want to start fishing as the tide is rising or falling? Again basic rockie questions from a guy in Minnesota who does not need to worry about tides, appreciate insight

    Thks
    Last edited by rgobell; 02-17-2007 at 16:24. Reason: formating

  2. #2
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    Default Tides

    You're reading it right. When is the best time to fish is another matter. It depends on what you are fishing for and how far from the mouth of the river you are. There are different theories but most salmon fishermen like to fish the incoming tide. The theory is that the fish are holding off waiting for the flood tide (high) to make their run up the river. Don’t wait for the top of high tide. If I'm fishing Deep Creek for instance I have had the best luck right after low tide and the flood tide begins. If you are way up river on the Kenai it might be 6 or more hours before a new run of fish would reach you and you don't usually worry about the tides so much. However, I have found that the best time to dip net at the mouth of the Kenai is during low tide.

  3. #3
    Member fishNphysician's Avatar
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    Default

    Also look at the magnitude of the exchange. Big swings between tides means lots of fish push up with the flood, and very few during low water.

    Smaller exchanges will bring a smaller bolus of fish with the flood, but fish tend to continue to trickle in all day, even at low water.

    I think it took most seasoned anglers a LONG time to figure that one out.
    "Let every angler who loves to fish think what it would mean to him to find the fish were gone." Zane Grey
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    The KeenEye MD

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    Member AKducks's Avatar
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    Default

    ok if you are worried aboutt tides for like boats on beachs the deal is the tide is pretty close to its full hight about an hour before high tide ( it will still get higher but it is pretty close) the tide will start rapidly leaving about an half hour after high tide.
    the best way to keep a boat safe form the tide is to anchor it away from shore where the tide won't effect it as much. a
    as for fishing I really don't have anything to add.

  5. #5

    Default

    Thanks for help, I hope other rookies out there learn something also.

    It appears that the tides are more important the closer you are to coastal water, the farther away you get the less important it is? The theory is that fish will enter the river or stream in greater numbers during a raising tide? So the optimal time to fish is when the tide is rising rather than falling because more fish are entering the waters?

    The numbers next to the times? What significance are they? I would assume that the larger the swing between them indicates the velocity of the tide and the time between them will be an indication of how fast this will happen? I've heard the term "flood" does this refer to a large incoming tide? Are these numbers of any help in timing your fishing time?

    Thanks again for all the insight.

  6. #6
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    Default Tides

    Your right, the closer to the mouth of the river the more tides effect it. This is how Lewis and Clark knew they were getting close to an ocean long before they actually saw it.

    Flood tide is just another name for high tide. The numbers after the time in the tide book are important as the greater the difference between the numbers the more water that is rushing in or out. This is what fisNphysician was referring to when he said to pay attention to the “big swings.” The difference between how high the flood tide was compared to how low the low tide was.

    On Bird Creek near Anchorage the water raises about an inch a minute on the incoming tide, so in 24 minutes it has come up 2 feet and you might find your tackle box floating away. It can really make a difference if you are trying to reach the bottom when saltwater fishing for any bottom fish like halibut.

    Most salmon fishermen feel that the flood tide is the best time to fish, but fishNphysician is right as fish are where you find them and some will be entering the system right along. I have found that Kings especially will often hole up and stay in an area long after the flood is over.

    The actual time between tides doesn’t vary a whole lot but enough that the times change and rotate around the clock. You will also hear about “high slack” and “low slack,” those are the times from about a half hour before and a half hour after the top of the tide or the low point of the tide. These are the best times to cross the bar of a river that empties into the ocean. Even the mighty Columbia River bar can be crossed without difficulty at those times.

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    Default Comm.. nets

    I used to fish the tide especially on the Kasilof 2 hours before high tide then fish it out going,,,,,,, but now i fish the Kasilof only if the commercial nets are not in the water not so much the tide. Just because iv gotten skunked to many times these last couple years with no fish in the river when the nets are out. <*))))))))))Z

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    Default One more point

    When you read a tide table it is referenced to a location. For example Seldovia or Anchorage in Upper Cook Inlet ( tables also have the Kenai River entrance, Deep Creek - you get the point). If you are away from these reference locations you need to adjust the height and time of the tides. The correction figures are usually in the back of a tide table.

  9. #9

    Default

    Thanks for everybody's views, insight and opinions. I'm just hoping to get the chance to land some fish that look anything like the ones fishnphysican has shown us.

    I now have a better idea of what to look for when looking at those tables.

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