Baker Lake, Skagit Sockeye, Areas 5, 6 Chinook Rule Changes
THE FOLLOWING ARE RULE CHANGE NOTICES FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Sockeye limit in Baker Lake increases to 3
Action: Increases sockeye daily limit.
Effective date: July 22 through August 31, 2022.
Species affected: Sockeye salmon.
Location: Baker Lake (Whatcom Co) (CRC 825)
Rule: Min. size 18”. Daily limit 3 sockeye. Two-pole allowed with two pole endorsement. Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon angling gear until the daily limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.
Reason for action: The 2022 sockeye run size has been increased to 30,176. During public sockeye workshops held in 2014 and 2015, anglers established run size tiers to guide the daily limit allowed in the lake. Based on the tiers, if the forecast, or an in-season run size update exceeds 29,999 sockeye, the daily limit would be 3 sockeye.
Additional information: WDFW will actively monitor the fishery. Anglers are asked to cooperate with creel personnel collecting catch information. Monitoring and evaluation of fisheries is an important part of ensuring we are meeting our conservation goals for salmon.
Portion of the Skagit River to reopen for sockeye
Action: Opens sockeye retention.
Effective date: July 22 through July 29, 2022.
Species affected: Sockeye salmon.
Location: Skagit River (Skagit Co.); from the Hwy. 536 bridge (Memorial Hwy Bridge) in Mt. Vernon to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete. (CRC 830)
Rule: Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2 sockeye. Release all salmon other than sockeye. Night Closure in effect. Selective gear rules are not in effect for salmon.
Reason for action: The run size was increased to 30,176 sockeye, so additional harvest opportunity is available in the Skagit River.
Sockeye harvest in the river fishery will be limited to 20% of state share. The remaining 80% will be reserved for Baker Lake opportunity. The split was agreed to between anglers during public sockeye workshops held in 2014 and 2015.
Current river sport share is 1,991 sockeye, but 1,555 were estimated to have been caught during the initial opening. Based on catch and effort rates in the final weeks of the river fishery, the remaining river share may be harvested in seven days. Due to the limited amount of additional catch available in the river, the river limit will remain at 2 sockeye to allow for a full week of salmon fishing opportunity.
Additional information: Selective gear rules remain in effect for gamefish. If anglers are not following selective gear rules, all species other than sockeye must be released. Please see pamphlet for gamefish rules in these sections.
WDFW will actively monitor the fishery. Anglers are asked to cooperate with creel personnel collecting catch information. Monitoring and evaluation of fisheries is an important part of ensuring conservation goals for salmon are met.
Sekiu (Marine Area 5) salmon fishing returns to seven days per week; and west of Ediz Hook (Marine Area 6) opens Wednesdays through Saturdays only to extend salmon season
Salmon fishing at Sekiu (Marine Area 5) returns to permanent fishing rules beginning July 25 after Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery managers determined enough Chinook remained in the recreational catch quota following initially high catch rates.
Now that catch rates have decreased since the opener, WDFW can relax those restrictions again, allowing for more days to be open. Estimates for the Sekiu summer Chinook fishery through July 17 indicate the fishery has reached 40% of the legal-size encounters (2,967 of 7,342 fish).
“What happened in Sekiu this year is a great example of how WDFW staff work closely with constituents to manage fisheries and ensure seasons last,” said Kirsten Simonsen, Ph.D., WDFW’s Puget Sound recreational salmon manager. “While additional restrictions are never easy, we worked closely with members of the Sekiu fishing community to craft a fishery that worked for them.”
Sekiu will be open daily through Aug. 15 for salmon fishing. Daily limit is 2, with up to 1 hatchery Chinook. Chinook minimum size is 22″. Other salmon species no minimum size. Release wild Chinook, wild coho, and chum. The Sekiu salmon fishery is scheduled to switch to Chinook non-retention on Aug. 16. Season may close earlier if Chinook guideline is attained.
The Marine Area 6 Chinook Selective Fishery Area is open Wednesdays through Saturdays only from beginning July 24 through Aug. 15 west of a true north/south line through the #2 Buoy immediately east of Ediz Hook, excluding Port Angeles Harbor and Freshwater Bay areas. A reduction in days was recommended by Puget Sound Recreational Fishery Advisors and representatives of the Marine Area 6 community to extend the Chinook season as long as possible.
Estimates for the Marine Area 6 Chinook Selective Fishery Area through July 17 indicate the fishery has reached 65% of the legal-size encounters (6,155 of 9,400 fish) and catch rates have been high to date.
On the days open the Marine Area 6 Chinook Selective Fishery Area daily limit is 2, with up to 1 hatchery Chinook. Chinook minimum size is 22”. Other salmon species, no minimum size. Release wild Chinook, wild coho and chum.
Puget Sound salmon seasons are a result of an annual collaborative state and tribal salmon season-setting process known as North of Falcon. To view the Puget Sound salmon fishery guidelines and quotas, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/creel/seasonal#ps-summer-chinook.
To support conservation objectives, in areas where multiple salmon stocks overlap—including the San Juan Islands and throughout Puget Sound—state and tribal fisheries managers must abide by harvest quotas and allowable impacts that are federally approved by the National Marine Fisheries Service based on agreed-upon run forecasts prior to the fishing season.
Given this federal oversight and the challenge of accurately assessing individual salmon stocks in a mixed-stock system, WDFW cannot increase salmon harvest quotas or encounter limits while fishing seasons are underway. However, salmon managers can add or extend fishing opportunities when available salmon harvest quota and encounter limits allow, as is the case with this extension.
Several other marine areas are currently open for salmon fishing and can be found on the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon/summaries. Additional information about this year’s sport salmon fisheries and the North of Falcon salmon season setting process can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon.
WDFW fishery managers continue to call on salmon anglers to submit voluntary Salmon Trip Reports to help to increase the amount of data available for in-season management. These trip reports are just one tool in a suite of options fisheries managers use to collect biological and fishery data for Puget Sound salmon. Other monitoring tools include dockside sampling, test fishing, and boat surveys. Anglers can complete the voluntary Salmon Trip Report Form online at https://str.wdfw-fish.us/home or visit the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/licenses/fishing/trip-reporting to download a paper copy.