Anglers will be able to fish beyond Halloween on the Skagit for coho, thanks to a stronger run than expected.
WDFW announced this afternoon that the fishery from the mouth to Marblemount will stay open through the end of the year, two months longer than initially scheduled.
That’s based on “continued strong returns of coho to the Baker River and holding coho observed during flight surveys of the mainstem Skagit River.”
Last week, biologists revised their forecast from 49,000 to nearly 87,000 wild and hatchery coho, based on inseason state-tribal test fisheries near the mouth led.
That led managers to bump the sport limit from two coho, hatchery or wild, to four with the addition of two clipped silvers in the bag through the end of October.
“While the hatchery run is pretty much in, the wilds continue to show in good numbers and we had no concerns extending the season another couple months,” said Andrew Fowler, WDFW district fisheries biologist.
The bulk of retained Skagit coho are hooked this month, a quick look at WDFW catch card reports for recent years does show, but a fair number have been kept in past Novembers and even Decembers.
In 2013, 1,240 of that year’s 11,242 were kept during the turkey month, while 90 were bonked during yuletide.
Do be aware that there will be another sportfishing closure between the Highway 9 bridge and mouth of the Baker to accommodate a tribal coho fishery scheduled in those waters Thursday and Friday, Oct. 15-16.
WDFW also advises anglers not to target chum or Chinook.
“The Skagit has had several years of poor chum returns and anglers are encouraged to help conserve these species by reducing stress caused by catch and release encounters,” an agency emergency rule change notice out this afternoon states.