Salmon fishing in Washington state traditionally kicks into high gear around the Fourth of July, although this year’s celebration started early in waters stretching from the upper Columbia River to the Pacific Coast. In saltwater and fresh, anglers have been reeling in bright hatchery-reared chinook salmon since various dates in June.
“The ocean fishery has been up and down from one day to the next, but anglers have definitely been taking home some nice chinook salmon,” said Doug Milward, ocean fisheries manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Chinook caught off Westport have been averaging around 15 pounds, which is big for this point in the season.”
Page 1 : WDFW Weekender Report - Fishing for The Fourth
Page 2 : North Puget Sound
Page 3 : South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
Page 4 : Southwest Washington
Page 5 : Eastern Washington
Page 6 : Northcentral Washington
Page 7 : Southcentral Washington
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But there are still plenty of fireworks left over for July Fourth. By then, several new areas of Puget Sound will be open for salmon fishing, and anglers fishing off the coast also will be able to open their creels to hatchery coho and unmarked chinook.
Rather catch some crab? Seven popular areas of Puget Sound open to fishing for Dungeness crab July 1, including marine areas 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 8-1 (Deception Pass/Skagit Bay), 8-2 (Port Susan/Port Gardner), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal).
Just as July Fourth is a big day for outdoor recreation, it is also a busy day for law enforcement, said Mike Cenci, WDFW deputy enforcement chief. He said the department’s officers will be working overtime throughout the holiday weekend to enforce state fishing regulations and protect public safety.
“My main message to anglers and crab fishers is to make sure you understand the fishing regulations before you head for the water,” Cenci said. “Our goal is to protect the resource and keep people safe. We really don’t enjoy issuing citations, but a violation is a violation, whether or not it’s intentional.”
With regard to public safety, Cenci noted that the weekend of June 26-27 is Operation Dry Water, when law enforcement officers throughout the nation will crack down on boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. “Boaters in Washington state need to know that WDFW’s authority does not end with enforcing fishing and hunting regulations.”
State fishing regulations are outlined in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet, available from license vendors statewide and posted on the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm. Anglers can also call WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) for updates.
With regard to public safety, Cenci noted that the weekend of June 26-27 is Operation Dry Water, when law enforcement officers throughout the nation will crack down on boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs. “Boaters in Washington state should be aware that WDFW’s authority does not end with enforcing fishing and hunting regulations,” he said.
With that in mind, anglers and others planning to spend some time outdoors can find highlights of recreational opportunities now available throughout the state in the regional reports below.