A hot start and a small quota are leading to an early salmon fishing closure in the San Juans starting tomorrow, July 8.
“Since the season kicked off July 1, Chinook fishing has really taken off in the San Juan Islands,” said Kyle Adicks, WDFW’s intergovernmental salmon manager, in a press release. “So much so that the total Chinook catch has already met the quota for the full month of July. This closure helps to support salmon conservation and preserve fishing opportunities in the future.”
The Marine Area 7 summer quota was 1,382 kings. Stats from the first few days of the fishery show catches as high as .62 and .54 Chinook per angler at the Cornet Bay launch and .5 at Washington Park, good marks.
In a Facebook post, local salmon reporter Mark Yuasa said, “Based on initial estimates the 1,382 hatchery chinook quota has been exceeded.”
It’s tough news for an area that until recent years has enjoyed months upon months of salmon fishing spread over much of the year. This summer’s Chinook quota is down from 2020’s 1,562; prior years have seen nearly that many or more kings caught in July alone, the most productive month from 2015 through 2019 in terms of sheer numbers, per state catch data.
WDFW says it will run the numbers to see if fishing for coho can reopen in the San Juans later in summer.
The List Of Agreed Fisheries with tribal comanagers had listed a two-week late August hatchery Chinook season in the islands, but it didn’t make the 2021-22 state fishing pamphlet.
“We chose to not set that season as part of the (North of Falcon) regulation package due to the minimal quota in Area 7 and our thoughts that we would likely not have enough quota to offer that opportunity late in August,” WDFW’s Mark Baltzell said a couple weeks ago when asked about it.