Local Shark Questions

Fish & Invertebrate sightings and descriptions, hosted by resident NWDC ID expert Janna Nichols (nwscubamom).
Post Reply
User avatar
MichaelCasanova92
Hi, I'm New To NWDC!
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:40 am

Local Shark Questions

Post by MichaelCasanova92 » Mon Jan 06, 2020 7:44 am

Hey guys,


When I come over in the summer, I'm very keen to photograph some of the local shark species. I saw a documentary ages ago about the Sixgills in Puget sound and I was wondering if they've made any sort of return? If so what depths can you usually find them at? I know theyre a deep water shark usually, but would an Open Water Certification get me in the general area?

Also, where are some good dive sites or areas to encounter Spiny Dogfish and Ratfish?

Thanks for the help guys!

User avatar
YellowEye
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2594
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:08 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by YellowEye » Mon Jan 06, 2020 8:42 am

Hi!
The six gills are still around but consider yourself very lucky if you see them. I've only seen 2 in about 2000 dives.
Most of the sixgills are down at about 90, but can sometimes be found shallower. Dogfish are also rare, but can more easily be found shallower.
Ratfish we can probably find you at Three Tree North pretty easily.

User avatar
Penopolypants
NWDC Moderator
NWDC Moderator
Posts: 3887
Joined: Sun Jan 07, 2007 7:37 pm

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by Penopolypants » Mon Jan 06, 2020 9:00 am

Welcome! Yelloweye is right, sixgills are usually deeper, although Bob and Lynne saw one at about 40' at the jackstraw pilings at Cove 2. That was a lucky dive!

Summer is the best time to find them, if you find them. Cove 2 and Redondo are both easy sites that are accessible to all, and you might get lucky there.

There's a boat dive in the Hood Canal that has frequent dogfish sightings, but I can't recall which one. Ratfish are quite common at Three Tree North, although you'll sometimes see them at Cove 2.

Happy diving!
Come to the nerd side, we have pi!

User avatar
BillZ
Aquanaut
Posts: 680
Joined: Mon Mar 03, 2008 12:23 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by BillZ » Mon Jan 06, 2020 10:59 am

The best place for Rat Fish is under the Boeing pier in Mukilteo. They come up from the depths to eat the muscles on the pilings and your almost guaranteed to see a ton of them on every dive.

Dogfish are all over the Puget Sound but are skiddish and relatively rare to see on a dive. The only dive that I've seen them with any regularity is the Tacoma Narrows.

Six Gills are extremely rare - My first sighting was after 10 years of diving. That said, divers have been seeing them with some regularity on night dives, at Redondo in August. My theory (with no basis in fact) is that they come up for the easy meal provided by the salmon fishermen on the Redondo pier. Here's a video I shot two years ago:

https://vimeo.com/283886250

User avatar
Jeff Pack
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2955
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 8:51 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by Jeff Pack » Mon Jan 06, 2020 1:47 pm

We've seen 6 or 7 now, but all 150ft and deeper. Deepest was 230. All have been in Hood Canal.

They seem more attracted to HID lights.
=============================================

- I got a good squirt in my mouth
- I would imagine that there would be a large amount of involuntary gagging
- I don't know about you but I'm not into swallowing it

CCR discussion on Caustic Cocktails.

User avatar
H20doctor
I've Got Gills
Posts: 4066
Joined: Fri Apr 18, 2008 12:13 pm

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by H20doctor » Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:37 pm

summer seems to be when we see sixgills , July and August .. being able to see a sixgill is like winning the lottery , with the odds slim to none
rat fish are common if you night dive , many dive sites have them
NWDC Rule #2 Pictures Or it didn't Happen

User avatar
Waynne Fowler
I've Got Gills
Posts: 1042
Joined: Tue Oct 13, 2009 7:57 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by Waynne Fowler » Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:56 pm

We've been visited by 6 gill at Stillicoom in 25' of water.
A few months later at 30' in the shallows at Days Island.
fairly regular at the right time of year at Point Defiance Zoo near the barge @ about 90'
Ripper of drysuits, mocker of divers...there are no atheist divers in a mistimed Deception Pass dive. Jeremy

User avatar
oldsalt
Pelagic
Posts: 982
Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:02 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by oldsalt » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:20 am

I dived in northwest waters for over 50 years and never saw a sixgill. This included going on a "Sixgill expedition" with a group of photojournalists near Hornby Island. We were skunked. I made several dives seeking the elusive shark, including return trips to Hornby, Tyler Rock in Barkley Sound, and all of the Puget Sound hot spots. That said, I found the search to be a great adventure. As far as ratfish and dog fish, they are numerous. My coolest dogfish encounter occurred while diving the G.B. Church off Portland Island. A school of dogfish circled the mast while we descended. One actually swam out and attacked my son. Cheeky little bugger. Although I've never seen a sixgill, I did run into a salmon shark off Turn Island in the San Juans. Good luck.
-Curt :rawlings:
Happy to be alive.

User avatar
MichaelCasanova92
Hi, I'm New To NWDC!
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:40 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by MichaelCasanova92 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:03 pm

Thanks for all the responses, guys!

So in short I'll be pretty lucky to see a Sixgill and far more likely to see dogfish/ratfish. I'll be over during the peak sighting time, so hopefully I might get lucky.

Are ratfish usually only out at night or can you see them during the day?

User avatar
MichaelCasanova92
Hi, I'm New To NWDC!
Posts: 4
Joined: Sun Dec 08, 2019 4:40 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by MichaelCasanova92 » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:04 pm

oldsalt wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:20 am
A school of dogfish circled the mast while we descended. One actually swam out and attacked my son. Cheeky little bugger. Although I've never seen a sixgill, I did run into a salmon shark off Turn Island in the San Juans. Good luck.
-Curt :rawlings:
Yikes! haha

That sounds awesome. didn't know you guys got Salmon sharks as far south as Puget Sound

User avatar
YellowEye
I've Got Gills
Posts: 2594
Joined: Sun Oct 29, 2006 8:08 am

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by YellowEye » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:48 pm

You can see ratfish during the day... last couple times I went to three tree I saw then during the day at about 50'.

User avatar
orcasc205
Aquaphile
Posts: 101
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:36 pm

Re: Local Shark Questions

Post by orcasc205 » Sat Jan 11, 2020 10:21 am

I've seen ratfish pretty reliably during the day at Edmonds Underwater Park as well.

Post Reply