A section of the lower Skagit River is opening immediately through May 31 for hatchery spring Chinook, WDFW announced in a 24 hours rife with king salmon fishing news across the state.
Fishing is open from the Highway 536 bridge, also known as the Memorial Highway Bridge, in Mount Vernon upstream to Gilligan Creek.
Daily limit is two clipped kings, minimum size 12 inches, release all other salmon. A night closure is also in effect.
WDFW says there are enough harvestable Chinook returning to its Marblemount hatchery to allow the opener. The upper river and Cascade will open June 1.
This is the third year in a row that this stretch of the big North Cascades river will host fishing for springers in May, following 2019’s first-since-the-birth-of-the-Seahawks opener, which we covered here.
WDFW says it will be actively monitoring the fishery over the ESA-listed stock and urged anglers to cooperate with creel samplers.
WDFW also reopened Area 13 because “Federal Endangered Species Act consultations on 2021-22 Puget Sound salmon fisheries have been completed (NMFS Consultation #WCR-2021-01008), and a Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement have been issued. Accordingly, Marine Area 13 salmon fisheries can be reopened consistent with preseason fishing plans.”
That completed consultation also allowed the state agency to open the lower Skagit for springers as well.