Projected low returns of several stocks of wild chinook salmon this year prompted fishery managers to restrict salmon seasons in several Puget Sound marine areas.
“Anglers should expect shorter chinook salmon fishing seasons in several Puget Sound marine areas,” said Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We want to make sure anglers have plenty of notice about changes to some of the popular chinook salmon fisheries in Puget Sound.”
While some chinook seasons may be shorter, coho fishing in Puget Sound should be better given the higher number of coho forecasted to return compared to recent years, Adicks said.
Significant changes planned for 2019-20 include:
- Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands): Closed to salmon fishing in August.
- Marine Area 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner): Scheduled to open to fishing for hatchery coho Aug. 16-Sept. 15 only in the area south and west of the Clinton/Mukilteo line. The rest of the marine area will remain closed to salmon fishing.
- Tulalip Bay Special Area will be closed to salmon fishing Saturday, June 15, for a tribal salmon ceremony.
- Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet): Opens Thursday, July 25, to fishing for hatchery chinook salmon. WDFW intends to close the area to chinook salmon fishing beginning Monday, July 29, to determine how much quota remains. Any subsequent openings will be announced on WDFW’s website.
- Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) Opens Saturday, June 1, to fishing for coho salmon. Hatchery chinook salmon fishing starts on Thursday, July 25, and is scheduled to be open through August 31 or until the quota is achieved.
- Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Will not open to salmon fishing on June 1, as listed in the 2018-19 pamphlet. The area is scheduled to open July 1 instead.
In order to maximize opportunity for chinook, boat fishing will be open five days per week (Saturday through Wednesday) while shoreline fishing will be open daily.
Anglers can fish for free June 8-9
Washington’s “Free Fishing Weekend” is June 8-9. During those two days, no license will be required to fish or gather shellfish in any waters open to fishing in the state.
A Discover Pass will be required on Washington State Department of Natural Resources’ lands both days.
Before heading out, anglers should also check the current fishing regulations valid through June at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations. While no licenses are required on Free Fishing Weekend, other rules such as size limits, bag limits, catch record card requirements and area closures will still be in effect.
In addition, the free “Fish Washington” app, available on Google Play, Apple’s App store and WDFW’s website (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app) is designed to convey up-to-the-minute fishing regulations for every lake, river, stream and marine area in the state. The exception, for now, is the app does not yet include information on shellfish and seaweed collection rules.
Catch record cards, required for some species, are available free at hundreds of sporting goods stores and other license dealers throughout the state. See https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/dealers on the WDFW website to locate a license dealer.
WDFW is the state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish, wildlife and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing, hunting and other outdoor recreation opportunities. WDFW’s fish management work, free fishing weekend and trout derby support outdoor livelihoods and lifestyles across the state.