More Details On ’20-21 Washington Salt, River Salmon Fisheries

Washington salmon managers are posting “tentative” information on the state’s 2020-21 fisheries, adding details on the saltwater side and revealing much about the shape of river seasons, particularly in populous Puget Sound, as well as Columbia steelhead.

PUYALLUP RIVER ANGLERS LIKE BROOKLYN FOWLER CAN LOOK FORWARD TO AN AUG. 15-SEPT. 30 HATCHERY COHO AND CHINOOK FISHERY, AND NOT HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT PICKING THROUGH PESKY PINKS LIKE LAST YEAR. (FISHING PHOTO CONTEST)

But while all fishing is shut down until at least May 4, they’re also warning that “COVID-19 remains a factor going into the upcoming summer and fall fishing seasons, with the potential to continue impacting fisheries as the year continues.”

Still, the outline presents a template to begin mulling where to go when.

Here are details from WDFW’s website for:

PUGETROPOLIS

Marine Area 6 (East Strait Juan de Fuca), is closed to salmon fishing in the winter.

Marine Area 7 is closed to salmon fishing in the winter.

Marine Area 8-1 is closed to salmon fishing for the year.

Marine Area 8-2 is closed to salmon fishing for the year, except for the Tulalip Bay area.

Marine Area 9 is closed to salmon fishing in the winter.

Elliott Bay in Marine Area 10 is scheduled only to be open the first weekend in August.

Marine Area 10 is open for salmon fishing from June-November and January through March for winter Chinook.

Marine Area 11 will open for salmon fishing from July-October and be closed to winter fishing.

Marine Area 12 (South of Ayock) will open July-November for salmon fishing and be closed to salmon fishing in the winter.

In Marine Area 13, there will be a 20-inch minimum size for Chinook July through September.

The North Fork Nooksack River will have a spring Chinook mark-selective fishery from  the Highway 9 Bridge (RM 36.7) to the yellow marker located at the upstream side of the Kendall hatchery (RM 46.7). The fishery will open June 1 and close June 30, unless the wild Chinook impacts are met prior to the anticipated end date.

The Skagit River (from the Memorial Highway Bridge in Mount Vernon to Gilligan Creek) will be open for spring Chinook angling May 16 through May 31.

The Skagit River (from the Hwy 532 Bridge at Rockport to the Cascade River Road at Marblemount) will be open June 1-July 15 for hatchery Chinook only.

The Skagit River will be open for Coho Sept. 1 – Oct. 31, 2 coho a day

The Cascade River (from the mouth to the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge) will be open June 1-July 15 Thursday-Sunday only for hatchery Chinook.

The Cascade River (from the mouth to the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge) will be open Sept. 16-Nov. 30 Thursday-Sunday only for up to 4 coho only

The Stillaguamish River will be open Sept. 1-Nov. 15 for gamefish and coho fishing. Additional gamefish opportunity was added in Pilchuck creek.

The Snohomish, Skykomish, and Snoqualmie rivers will be closed to protect coho starting Aug. 1. A mark-selective fishery for Coho on the Wallace River begins Sept. 16.

The Skykomish River will be open Saturday before Memorial Day through July 31 for Chinook fishing.

The Samish River will be closed Sept. 16 to Oct. 31 to help ensure additional Chinook broodstock collection for increasing production to benefit southern resident killer whales.

Minter Creek: Open Sept. 15 – Dec. 31 for hatchery Chinook, hatchery coho, and chum.

The Puyallup River (from 11th St. Bridge to the Carbon River) will be open Aug. 15 – Sept. 30 for hatchery chinook and coho.

The Carbon River (from the mouth to Voight Creek) will be open Sept. 1 – Oct. 15 for hatchery chinook and coho. 

 The Nisqually River (from the mouth to Tank Crossing) will be open July 1 –  Nov. 15 for hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho.

Skokomish: Conversations are continuing about a potential fishery. If any fishery is agreed to, WDFW will make an announcement.

Baker Lake sockeye: Low forecasts will limit sockeye opportunity in the Skagit River in 2020.  If enough fish return through the Baker fish trap, a fishery could begin in the lake starting July 11.

Southern resident killer whales: Fisheries are also being limited 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.

COLUMBIA RIVER

Summer salmon fishery

The summer season on the mainstem Columbia River will be closed to summer chinook (including jacks); sockeye retention will be open with a 2 fish limit.   

Fall fisheries

During fall fisheries, anglers fishing from the same boat may continue fishing for salmon until all anglers have reached their daily limits in the areas listed below.  All fisheries are subject to change based on catch rates, run size and other unforeseen circumstances. 

  • Buoy 10 salmon fishery will be open from Aug. 16 through Aug. 27 for adult Chinook and hatchery coho retention. The daily adult limit is one salmon. From Aug. 28 through Sept. 22, the daily adult limit is one salmon, but Chinook and wild coho must be released.  From Sept. 23 through Dec. 31, salmon fishing is closed.
  • Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to West Puget Island line (west end of Puget Island extending from green navigation marker #39 on the Washington shore to green navigation marker #41, then to red navigation marker #42, and terminating at red navigation marker #44A on the Oregon shore) will be open from Aug. 16 through Aug. 27 for adult Chinook and hatchery coho retention. The daily adult limit is one salmon. From Aug. 28 through Dec. 31, salmon fishing is closed. 
  • West Puget Island line upstream to the Lewis River will be open from Aug. 1 through Aug. 31 for adult Chinook and hatchery coho retention. The daily adult limit is one salmon. From September 1 through Dec. 31, salmon fishing is closed.
  • Lewis River upstream to Bonneville Dam will be open Aug. 7 through Sept. 6 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays only for adult Chinook and hatchery coho retention. The daily adult limit is one salmon.  Chinook non-retention days is closed to salmon fishing, including Sept. 7 through Dec. 31.
  • Bonneville Dam upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco will be open Aug. 1 through Sept. 8 with a daily adult limit of one salmon. Downstream of the Hood River Bridge, wild coho must be released.  From Sept. 9 through Dec. 31, salmon fishing is closed.

Steelhead

Steelhead daily limit is one hatchery fish when open as part of the adult limit, as described below. Only one hatchery steelhead may be retained.  In the mainstem, when/if salmon fishing is closed and it corresponds with the steelhead non-retention season below, then the regulation reverts to closed to angling for both salmon and steelhead.

GRAYS HARBOR AND WILLAPA BAY

Grays Harbor Area

The 2020 recreational salmon fishing season in Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2-2) west of buoy 13 is concurrent with the ocean rules for salmon (Area 2 rules apply). 2020 recreational salmon fishing seasons in Grays Harbor east of buoy 13 are:

  • North Bay: from Aug. 1 – Sept. 15, anglers can keep one salmon, but must release wild Chinook and wild coho;
  • East Bay: from Sept. 23 – Nov. 30, anglers can keep one salmon, but must release all Chinook.

Humptulips River recreational salmon fishing season and adult limits for 2020 are as follows:

  • September: anglers can keep two salmon, and must release wild Chinook and wild coho.
  • October: anglers can keep one salmon, and must release wild Chinook and wild coho.
  • November and December: only one hatchery coho may be retained.

During 2020 recreational freshwater salmon seasons for the Chehalis watershed, south bay rivers, and the Hoquiam River, anglers will be able to retain one adult salmon but must release Chinook for the full season and chum during November and December.

  • Chehalis River from Hwy 101 Bridge to South Elma Bridge: from Aug. 1 – Sept. 15, anglers must release all adult salmon. 
  • Johns, Elk, Hoquiam, Wishkah, Chehalis, Wynoochee, Satsop, and Black rivers will be open October through December, but anglers must release all Chinook in October, and all Chinook and chum in November and December. 
  • The Skookumchuck and Newaukum rivers will open Oct. 16 – December, but anglers must release all Chinook in October and all Chinook and chum in November and December.

Willapa Bay Area

The recreational salmon fishing season in Willapa Bay (Marine Area 2-1) is scheduled from June 20 through July 31, 2020, concurrent with the ocean rules for salmon (Area 2 rules apply). 

From Aug. 1, 2020 – Jan. 31, 2021. anglers can keep two adult salmon, but must release unmarked Chinook. The Willapa Bay Control Zone will also be open at that time and the North River Area Closure will be in effect from Aug. 1 through Sept. 30, 2020. 

The freshwater rivers in the Willapa Bay watershed will be able to retain two adult salmon but must release unmarked Chinook and unmarked coho.

  • North River, Smith Creek, and Bear River will be Closed to salmon angling. 
  • South Fork Willapa River and Middle, North, and South Nemah rivers will close to salmon angling Oct. 1, 2020. 
  • The section from Hwy 4 to the hatchery attraction channel in the Naselle River will be closed to salmon angling.  The remainder of salmon regulations in the Naselle River will be similar to the 2019 fishery season.
  • Regulations for Willapa River and Fork Creek will have similar opening and closing dates consistent with the 2019 fishery season.