Puget Sound Salmon Season 2015 Begins
It’s that time of the year when anglers everywhere are gearing up for that big catch…salmon. This year anglers will get the opportunity to take advantage of solid returns of coho, pink and Skagit River sockeye salmon. There will be adjustments to hatchery chinook fisheries because of a weaker return of both wild and hatchery chinook but the others should make up for that.
Anglers fishing Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) will see a change. The area will be closed to chinook retention as part of an effort to rebuild stocks returning to Lake Washington. Marine Area 10 will still be open for coho and pink salmon retention which should fill in the gap. Neighboring Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) will be open the same dates as last year, with anglers allowed to retain hatchery chinook from July 16 through Aug. 15. The area could close sooner if the quota of 2,483 fish is met.
A portion of the estimated 14 million pink salmon returning to Canada’s Fraser River will hit the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the San Juan Islands. Approximatley 6.5 million pink salmon will return to Puget Sound. Anglers fishing in most marine areas will be allowed to keep two pink salmon in addition to daily catch limits for other salmon during July through September.
The sockeye return 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 quota.
Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) will remain a non-mark-selective fishery for the month of July, when anglers can keep one chinook per day with a two fish limit, plus two additional pink salmon. Also in July, the southern Rosario strait/eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca will be closed for salmon. The Dungeness Bay section of Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles) will be open July 16 through Aug. 15 for pink salmon fishing only with gear restrictions. Anglers can keep four pink salmon daily. Elliott Bay will be open for pink and coho retention Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays starting Aug. 14. Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) north of Ayock Point will be open to coho and pink salmon fishing starting in July with gear restrictions for that month only.
Marine area 8 will open July 1. Marine Area 8-1 is contained within Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay. Fishing within this marine area is protected by Whidbey Island and offers a diversity of fishing opportunities that range from coastal cutthroat trout, bottomfish, and various salmon species. Chinook, pink, coho and sockeye are primarily returning to the world renowned Skagit River.
The mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook on the Skykomish River is not scheduled to open this year. However, the fishery could open (by emergency rule) if brood stock goals are met. Anglers on the Skokomish River should be aware of a new “bobber only” section of the river, from the Highway 106 Bridge to Highway 101. Upstream of Highway 106 will be open in late July for “bobber only” fishing which means that fly fishing is not allowed; this is due to an obscure regulation by Fish and Wildlife that is designed to stop “snagging”. Additionally, the free-flowing freshwaters near the mouth of the river (below the Tacoma Powerlines) will be closed this year. Tahuya River is closed to coho fishing due to several issues including trespassing, littering, and snagging. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 5 will be able to retain wild coho for eight days in September, in addition to the entire month of October. Marine Area 7 also will be open for wild coho retention in October. Puyallup River will have closures similar to last year, while the Nisqually River will have additional closures. Lake Sammamish will be closed to salmon fishing this year.
Puget Sound Salmon Season 2015/ Grays Harbor
Although this is covering the Puget Sound Salmon Season area there are many fishermen out there that head south to Grays Harbor. The Grays Harbor/Westport areas are active this year. Area 2 will be open May 30-June 12 for Chinook only with a minimum size of 24″. The daily limit is 2 and must be hatchery origin. There is a 7 days per week, 2 fish bag limit of 10,000 Chinook quota coast-wide. Beginning June 13 through Sept. 30 all species chinook (non-selective), Coho (selective) are allowed. The season may close earlier if a quota of 69,200 coho or chinook is met. The Westport Chinook guideline has been set at 27,900 and the Westport Coho guideline has been set at 52,840. Both of these numbers are 10-20% higher than last year’s actual catches. Area 2-2 west of Buoy 13 begins May 31 – Aug. 10. This is open concurrent with the ocean for salmon. (Area 2 rules apply.) In Area 2-2 east of the Buoy 13 all salmon is required to be released except for anglers fishing from boats 30′ or longer as listed on either their state or Coast Guard registration. Finally, the Westport Boat Basin and Ocean Shores Boat Basins are opening Aug. 16-Jan. 31 with a minimum size of 12″ and a daily limit of 6. No more than 4 adults may be retained. Night closure and anti-snagging rules are in place so only single-point barbless hooks may be used.
Some of the changes to Puget Sound salmon season for 2015 are significant and everyone is encouraged to check the regulations before hitting the water. Specific fishing seasons and regulations for marine areas in Washington and a portion of the Columbia River are posted on WDFW’s North of Falcon website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.