THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Summer salmon fishing season will get underway when south-central Puget Sound (Marine Area 11) opens for hatchery Chinook fishing beginning June 1, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery managers announced today.
The June 1 opener is more than two weeks earlier compared to 2021 and prior to that had been closed in June since 2018.
“We are really excited to be able to offer early June opportunities to south Puget Sound anglers this year,” said Dr. Kirsten Simonsen, WDFW’s Puget Sound recreational salmon manager.
This summer’s hatchery Chinook retention fishery in Marine Area 11 – from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the northernmost part of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge – is split into two distinct seasons.
The first part is open daily from June 1-30 with an allowable catch quota of 580 hatchery-marked Chinook. The total encounter limit is 432 wild Chinook and 752 sublegal fish (Chinook under the 22-inch minimum size limit). The second half is open daily from July 1 through Sept. 30 with an allowable catch quota of 2,816 and a total sublegal encounter limit of 3,373 during this timeframe.
State fishery managers indicate the two summer segments were modeled separately due to the stock composition found in Marine Area 11 during June and the July to September time periods.
“By keeping this fishery as two separate, distinct parts, we can meet all of our management objectives for stocks of concern and add time on the water in June,” Dr. Simonsen said. “So really it’s a win-win.”
Daily limit for Marine Area 11 is 2 salmon and only 1 hatchery-marked Chinook may be retained. The Chinook minimum size is 22 inches. Release chum and wild Chinook. Commencement Bay.is closed to salmon fishing from June 1 through July 31. A coho only fishery is planned for Oct. 1-31 and a winter Chinook fishery from Nov. 1-Dec. 31.
WDFW fishery managers are also calling 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.
During summer months, large schools of dogfish migrate into Marine Area 11 so many anglers prefer to use lead-style salmon jigs. Others will troll with downriggers and use a plug, spoon or plastic squid attached to a dodger or flasher. A whole or cut-plug herring is another option but dogfish feed heavily on baitfish, and their sharp teeth and sandpaper-like skin can ruin fishing gear and leaders.
There are many places to fish in south-central Puget Sound, including the Clay Banks off the north side Point Defiance Park in Tacoma; the Tacoma Yacht Club breakwater; the “flats area” outside of Gig Harbor; Colvos Passage; Dolphin Point on northeast side of Vashon Island; Redondo Beach to Dash Point; Browns Point; Point Robinson; and Point Dalco on southwest side of Vashon Island.
The 2022 Puget Sound hatchery Chinook forecast of 201,059 is slightly better compared to 2021 and the 10-year historical average. The hatchery coho forecast of 387,722 shows a slight improvement from 2021 and is rebounding from poor ocean conditions seen between 2015 and 2017.