THE FOLLOWING IS THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE BREAKDOWN OF 2018 SALMON FISHERIES
Below is key information for Puget Sound salmon fisheries this year. More details will be available in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in June.
Marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Marine Area 9 will be open July through September with a chinook quota of 5,563 fish, which is similar to last year’s quota. Marine Area 10 is scheduled to be open June through mid-November for coho fishing with hatchery chinook retention allowed mid-July through August. The chinook quota for Marine Area 10 is 4,743 fish, up significantly from 2017.
Baker Lake sockeye: The forecast for sockeye returning to Baker Lake is strong enough to allow for a lake fishery, open July 7 through early September, and a fishery on the Skagit River.
North Sound freshwater: Anglers will have the opportunity to retain wild coho in the Nooksack River and coho in the Skagit and Cascade rivers, where gamefish fisheries have been restored this year.
Skokomish River: A portion of the Skokomish River remains closed to non-tribal fishing this year, due to an ongoing dispute over whether the river is part of the Skokomish Reservation. WDFW will continue to work with the Skokomish Tribe to resolve the matter. The closed area includes the section of river from the Tacoma Public Utilities power lines (near the mouth of the river) upstream to the Bonneville Power Administration power lines (upstream and west of Highway 101).
Marine areas 8-1 and 8-2: Both areas will be open to fishing for coho in August and September. The areas will re-open to fishing for hatchery chinook in December.
Marine Area 7: Anglers can fish for chinook and coho in Marine Area 7 beginning July 1. The area closes after Labor Day to chinook retention but remains open for coho fishing through September. The area re-opens for salmon fishing in January.
Marine areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait): Both areas open in early July (July 1 in Marine Area 5, July 3 in Marine Area 6) for hatchery chinook and hatchery coho. Anglers can retain hatchery chinook through mid-August and hatchery coho through September. Marine Area 6 reopens Feb. 1 while Marine Area 5 reopens Feb. 16 for hatchery salmon.
South Sound freshwater: Anglers will have the opportunity to fish for coho in Minter Creek beginning Oct. 16. Strong hatchery chinook returns are expected to several south Sound rivers this year.
Southern Resident Killer Whales: The governor and NOAA Fisheries have instructed WDFW to take steps to help recover killer whales. In meeting conservation objectives for wild salmon, the co-managers are also limiting fisheries in areas where southern resident killer whales are known to feed. The adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for chinook and other salmon in these areas critical to the declining whales.
Washington’s Ocean Waters (Marine areas 1-4)
More details on these fisheries will be available in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in June.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a recreational chinook catch quota of 27,500 fish, which is 17,500 fewer fish than 2017’s quota of 45,000. The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, also adopted a quota of 42,000 coho for this year’s recreational ocean fishery – the same as last year’s coho quota.
Recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho will be open daily beginning June 23 in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push), and 4 (Neah Bay). Marine Area 2 (Westport) will be open Sundays through Thursdays beginning July 1. All areas will close Sept. 3 or when the catch quota is met.
In marine areas 1, 2, and 4, anglers can retain two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 3 will have a two-salmon daily limit. In all marine areas, anglers must release wild coho.
Coastal fisheries including Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay
Below is key information for coastal salmon fisheries this year. More details will be available in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in June.
Grays Harbor Area
The Area 2-2 Humptulips North Bay chinook fishery begins in August and runs through Sept.15.
The Area 2-2 East Bay coho fishery begins two weeks later than 2017 and is scheduled Oct. 1-Nov. 30.
The Chehalis River spring chinook fishery is scheduled May 1-June 30 while the jack fishery in the lower river runs Aug. 1-Sept. 15.
The Humptulips River is scheduled to be open for salmon fishing Sept. 1-Nov. 30, about two months fewer than last year. Anglers can keep one wild chinook during the month of September but must release wild chinook the remainder of the fishery.
Willapa Bay Area
The season in Willapa Bay (Area 2-1) is similar to last year and is scheduled Aug. 1-Jan. 31. Anglers can keep three adult salmon, one of which may be a coho.
The freshwater rivers in the Willapa Bay area have similar seasons to 2017. Anglers may retain one wild coho.
Below is key information on the major Columbia River salmon fisheries this year. More details will be in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in June.
The summer season on the mainstem Columbia River from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open from June 22 through July 4 for hatchery (adipose fin-clipped) summer chinook. Bonneville Dam to Hwy. 395 near Pasco is open from June 16 through July 31. The daily limit will be two adult hatchery salmonids. All sockeye must be released.
During fall fisheries, anglers fishing from the same boat may continue fishing for salmon until all anglers have reached their daily limits in the following areas of the mainstem Columbia River:
- Buoy 10 salmon fishery will be open from Aug. 1 through Aug. 24 for chinook retention. The daily limit is one salmonid (chinook, hatchery coho or hatchery steelhead). From Aug. 25 through Dec. 31, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmonids, but chinook must be released and no more than one hatchery steelhead may be kept.
- Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the Lewis River will be open from Aug. 1 through Sept. 2 for chinook retention. The daily limit is one adult salmonid. From Sept. 3 through Dec. 31, anglers will have a daily limit of two adult salmonids, but chinook must be released and no more than one hatchery steelhead may be kept.
- Lewis River upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open Aug. 1 through Sept. 14 for chinook retention. The daily limit is one adult salmonid. During Sept. 15 through Dec. 31, anglers will have a daily limit of two adult salmonids, but chinook must be released and no more than one hatchery steelhead may be kept.
- Bonneville Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 with a daily limit of two adult salmonids with no more than one chinook and no more than one hatchery steelhead.
Sockeye, chum and jacks
Columbia River anglers are reminded that retention of sockeye and chum salmon is prohibited. Catch limits for jack salmon – salmon that return at a younger age – follow typical permanent regulations and will be listed in the 2018-19 pamphlet.
THE FOLLOWING IS A JOINT PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AND THE NORTHWEST INDIAN FISHERIES COMMISSION
With low returns of chinook and coho salmon expected back to numerous rivers in Washington, state and tribal co-managers Tuesday agreed on a fishing season that meets conservation goals for wild fish while providing fishing opportunities on healthy salmon runs.
The 2018-19 salmon fisheries, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s meeting in Portland, Ore.
Information on recreational salmon fisheries in Washington’s ocean waters and the Columbia River is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/. The webpage also includes information on some notable Puget Sound sport fisheries, as well as an overview of chinook and coho fishing opportunities in the Sound’s marine areas.
A variety of unfavorable environmental conditions, including severe flooding in rivers and warm ocean water, have reduced the number of salmon returning to Washington’s rivers in recent years, said Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s fish program.
In addition, the loss of quality rearing and spawning habitat continues to take a toll on salmon populations throughout the region, where some stocks are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act, he said.
“It’s critical that we ensure fisheries are consistent with ongoing efforts to protect and rebuild wild salmon stocks,” Warren said. “Unfortunately, the loss of salmon habitat continues to outpace these recovery efforts. We need to reverse this trend. If we don’t, salmon runs will continue to decline and it will be increasingly difficult to develop meaningful fisheries.”
A bright spot in this year’s salmon season planning process was a renewed commitment by Indian and non-Indian fishermen to work together for the future of salmon and salmon fishing, said Lorraine Loomis, chair of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission.
“No fisherman wants to catch the last salmon. We know that the ongoing loss of habitat, a population explosion of hungry seals and sea lions and the needs of endangered southern resident killer whales are the real challenges facing us today. We must work together if we are going to restore salmon to sustainable levels,” she said.
Low returns of some salmon stocks prompted state and tribal fishery managers to limit opportunities in many areas to protect those fish.
For example, recreational anglers will have less opportunity to fish for chinook salmon in both the Columbia River and Washington’s ocean waters compared to recent years. Tribal fisheries also will be restricted in certain areas to protect weak stocks.
In meeting conservation objectives for wild salmon, the co-managers are limiting fisheries in areas where southern resident killer whales are known to feed. The adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for chinook and other salmon in areas critical to the declining whales.
Details on all recreational salmon fisheries will be provided in the 2018-19 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which will be available in late June.
For information on tribal fisheries, contact the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (http://nwifc.org/).