Summer fishing seasons are now in full swing, requiring anglers to make some tough decisions about how to spend their time on the water in the days ahead. Salmon, steelhead, trout, crab, sturgeon, bass and walleye – all are now available for harvest.
But for thousands of anglers, nothing beats the thrill of reeling in a big chinook salmon. Many are doing just that as waves of chinook move south toward the Washington coast, then east into the Strait of Juan de Fuca, coastal streams and the Columbia River.
“This season is off to a good start, and it should only get better,” said John Long, statewide salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “Right now, anglers are catching chinook salmon from the Washington coast and Puget Sound to the upper Columbia River, with additional fisheries opening in the next few weeks.”
Page 1 : Chinook salmon are king in coming weeks
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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Starting July 8, the catch limit off the coast will increase from one adult chinook salmon to two as part of anglers’ daily limit. Beginning July 16, anglers will be able to catch and keep hatchery chinook in marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) of Puget Sound.
Fishery managers estimate that nearly 653,000 fall chinook will return to the Columbia River this season, about 234,000 more than last year. Another 226,500 chinook are expected to return to rivers flowing into Puget Sound.
“The majority of the chinook salmon caught in statewide fisheries are hatchery fish, specifically raised for harvest,” Long said. “The regulations include a number of provisions designed to protect weak, wild runs and it is essential that anglers know the rules and follow them out on the water.”
Fishing regulations for salmon and other fisheries are outlined in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet, available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm. In-season updates are also posted on that website and are also available by calling WDFW’s Fishing Hotline at 360-902-2500.
Anglers and others spending time on Puget Sound should also be aware that most areas of the Sound are now open for crabbing. In fact, two additional areas – 7 South and 7 East – near the San Juan Islands open for crabbing July 14. For more information on that and other outdoor activities now available throughout the state, see the regional reports below.