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State Fish and Wildlife has decided to reopen the San Juan Island chinook fishery this Saturday (March 25) through April 30 with a two salmon daily limit, and only one may be a hatchery-marked chinook (release all coho and wild chinook).

The San Juan Islands – known as Marine Catch Area 7 – was closed on Feb. 11 as anglers achieved 82 percent of the allowable guideline. There was an estimated 8,385 chinook encounters under a guideline of 10,248.

A nice catch of chinook. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter.
A nice catch of chinook. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter.

The eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (Area 6) remains open through April 15 for chinook fishing, and has been very productive.

Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Catch Area 6) has reached 87 percent of the 3,975 chinook encounter guideline with a total encounter of 3,464 through March 19. The daily catch limit for hatchery-marked chinook was reduced from two to one on Feb. 16 to help slow down the catch rates.

Northern Puget Sound, known as Marine Catch Area 9, remains open through April 15. The fishery reopened Feb. 16 after being closed since early December. The daily limit in northern Puget Sound will be one hatchery-marked chinook with a two salmon bag limit (release all coho and wild chinook).

Clyde McBrayer of Olympia reels in a chinook salmon in San Juan Islands. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter.
Clyde McBrayer of Olympia reels in a chinook salmon in San Juan Islands. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa, Seattle Times staff reporter.

Northern Puget Sound (Area 9) has reached 92 percent of the 6,081 chinook encounter guideline with a total encounter of 5,593 through March 19.

The east side of Whidbey Island (Areas 8-1 and 8-2) is open daily through April 30. Anglers have achieved 50 percent of the chinook guideline. Through March 19, an estimated 3,055 chinook encounters have been reached with a guideline of 6,125.

State Fish and Wildlife closed central Puget Sound for salmon fishing on Jan. 23, which was more than a month sooner than the original scheduled closure date of Feb. 28.

Central Sound (Area 10) – which covers an area from the Apple Tree-Kingston boundary line to Point Wells-northern Vashon Island tip – had slightly exceeded a total chinook encounter of 2,761 of the 2,597 fish. Central Puget Sound piers and the Edmonds Pier remain open year-round for salmon.

The western Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu (Area 5) will remain open through April 30, and is unaffected by any guidelines so won’t it face with any early season closures.

Elsewhere, south-central Puget Sound (Area 11) is open daily through April 30; Hood Canal (Area 12) is open daily through April 30; and southern Puget Sound (Area 13) is open daily through June 30.