Anglers can start to make plans to head out salmon fishing this summer in Puget Sound and many other freshwater areas.
“Conservation is key in developing these fisheries, especially in a year with such low returns expected back to the Sound,” John Long, the state Fish and Wildlife leader salmon policy coordinator said in a news release. “We worked hard to meet those conservation needs and provide fisheries that are meaningful for both state and tribal fishers.”
State fisheries closed many marine and freshwater areas on May 1, after the previous federal authorization to conduct fisheries expired.
“We plan to re-open those waters as soon as we have federal approval,” Long said. “We anticipate getting the new permit within a few weeks.”
Most Read Sports Stories
- Russell Wilson's time with Broncos has gone from bad to worse
- Here's a look at the Sounders' new crest and colors
- After another September loss, the Mariners' season is slip-sliding away
- Listless Mariners fall to Astros as playoff hopes take a hit
- Where Seahawks stand in NFL power rankings after Week 3
More information on the fisheries that closed May 1 is available on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/pugetsound_salmon_update/.
Changes in Puget Sound salmon fisheries since last summer can be found on the state Fish and Wildlife website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/, where information on the state’s salmon fisheries in ocean waters and the Columbia River is also available.
Here is a rundown on upcoming fisheries by marine area and for some freshwater areas that are part of a planned proposal by state Fish and Wildlife, and must be approved first by federal fishery agencies:
- Fishing will be closed on the following rivers during September and October to protect coho: Skagit, Cascade, Snohomish, the mainstem Stillaguamish, Green and Nisqually. Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish will also be closed to fishing in September and October.
- The Puyallup River will be closed to recreational salmon-fishing this year. The Carbon River will open for 15 days to recreational salmon-fishing in which anglers may keep up to two hatchery chinook.
- The Skykomish River, however, will be open to fishing for hatchery chinook salmon and hatchery steelhead June 1 (or as soon as WDFW has federal authorization to open) through July 30.
- Anglers can retain two hatchery chinook, plus two sockeye, when fishing in marine areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait) from July 1 to Aug. 15.
- Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) can retain two salmon, including two hatchery chinook, in July and can retain one hatchery or wild chinook in August and September as part of their two salmon daily limit.
- The forecast for sockeye returning to Baker Lake is strong enough to allow for both a lake fishery, open mid-July through early September, and a fishery on the Skagit River, which will be open June 16 through July 15 with a guideline of 4,600 fish.
- Marine Areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Ports Susan and Gardner) will remain closed to salmon fishing until November, when anglers will be allowed to retain hatchery chinook but must release coho.
- Marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) will be open July 16 to Aug. 15 to fishing for hatchery chinook. The areas could close early if the chinook quota in each area – 3,056 fish in 9 and 1,395 fish in 10 – is met.
- Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) will be open to coho fishing both north and south of Ayock Point starting Aug. 16 and July 1 respectively.
- Anglers fishing south of Ayock can retain up to four hatchery chinook, 20 inches or bigger, July through Sept. 30. Anglers with a two-pole fishing endorsement can fish with two poles from July through October. Those fishing north of Ayock can fish for hatchery chinook beginning Oct. 1.
- Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) will be closed to salmon-fishing in September and October to protect coho. The area also will be closed to fishing for blackmouth (winter hatchery chinook) November through January. The area typically is closed to salmon fishing in January.
- Piers that are typically open year-round will be closed to salmon fishing during September and October to protect coho, except for the piers within Sinclair Inlet, which will be open year-round. When piers are open, anglers may retain one chinook but must release all coho, except at Sinclair Inlet piers, where anglers may retain hatchery coho.
- The lower mainstem of the Skokomish River will be closed to non-tribal fishing this year due to a claim by the tribe that the river is part of the Skokomish Reservation and public access is prohibited. WDFW is working to evaluate this claim. The closed area includes the section of river from the Tacoma Public Utilities power lines (near the mouth of the river) upstream to the Bonneville Power Administration power lines (upstream and west of Highway 101). The department advises anglers to observe this closure of the state’s fishery that will be monitored by WDFW police.
- A complete description of Puget Sound salmon fisheries can be found in the 2016-17 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in the coming weeks. Check WDFW’s fishing regulations webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ for more details.
OCEAN SALMON SEASONS
A federal fishery council in mid-April also approved a limited summer sport ocean salmon fishing season set to begin July 1 at Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay.
The overall ocean sport quota this season is 35,000 chinook (64,000 last year) and 18,900 hatchery-marked coho (150,800).
The only fishing area where anglers will be able to target hatchery-marked coho this summer is Ilwaco, and all other areas will be limited to just chinook.
On the northern coast, the Neah Bay (Area 4) sport fishery will be open daily for chinook salmon only from July 1 through Aug. 21 or until a catch quota of 6,200 chinook is achieved. Catch limit is two salmon daily with no retention of coho and no chum beginning Aug. 1. Also beginning Aug. 1 there is no chinook retention east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.
Just south at La Push (Area 3) the fishing season will be open daily from July 1 through Aug. 21 with a catch quota of 2,000 chinook. Catch limit is two salmon daily with no retention of coho. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.
On the south-central coast, Westport (Area 2) will be open July 1 through Aug. 21 with a catch quota of 16,600 chinook. Catch limit is one salmon daily with no retention. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.
Ilwaco (Area 1) on the southern coast will be open July 1 through Aug. 31 with a catch quota of 10,200 chinook and 18,900 hatchery-marked coho. Catch limit is two salmon daily and no more than one may be a chinook. Chinook minimum size limit is 24 inches long.
The popular Buoy-10 salmon fishery at the Columbia River mouth will open Aug. 1 with an expected catch of 20,000 hatchery-marked coho in August and September.
The forecast this season calls for 549,200 coho to arrive off the Washington-Oregon coast, compared to a preseason forecast of 1,015,000 last year and an actual return of 322,100.
The Columbia River forecast last year was 777,100, but less than a third actually returned – 242,300.
The only highlight this summer is an expected Columbia River fall chinook return of 951,300, which would be the fourth largest on record dating back to 1938.