WDFW Officially Announces Early Sekiu Chinook Closure
Editor’s note: WDFW sent out corrected bottomfish season information and the seventh paragraph has been tweaked from the original post.
THE FOLLWOING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) fishery managers today announced a salmon fishing closure in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu and Pillar Point) to support conservation objectives. The closure goes into effect April 9.
Current catch totals in Marine Area 5 have likely exceeded pre-season Fishery Regulation Assessment Model (FRAM) projected catch. High effort and high catch per angler have led to higher than predicted harvest in the month of March.
“Due to ongoing concerns for numerous Puget Sound salmon stocks, we need to take a conservation-minded approach to continue responsibly managing this fishery,” said Kirsten Simonsen, Ph.D., WDFW Puget Sound Recreational salmon biologist.
The Marine Area 5 winter-spring salmon fishery in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca covers an area from the mouth of the Sekiu River east to Low Point near the mouth of the Lyre River. The season was originally scheduled to close on April 30.
“Sekiu has become a very popular fishery destination in recent years—for winter blackmouth as well as spring bottomfish and summer salmon,” said Kelly Cunningham, WDFW fish program director. “We share the disappointment in this season’s conclusion alongside the broad community invested in Chinook fishing in the western Strait this spring. However, given the high catches thus far, this closure is a necessary decision to support conservation.”
Anglers should check the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations and WDFW’s emergency rules page at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ before heading out, and download the Fish Washington mobile app for up-to-date regulations at their destination.
Marine Area 5 opens for lingcod, cabezon, and rockfish beginning May 1, and halibut opens May 5. Visit WDFW’s webpage for additional halibut season details: wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut/puget-sound. Summer salmon fishing seasons for the 2022-23 season will be announced before the end of April, after the current planning season concludes.
Puget Sound salmon seasons are a result of an annual collaborative state and tribal salmon season-setting process, commonly known as North of Falcon, which is currently underway this spring. More information about the process and upcoming opportunities to get involved are available at wdfw.wa.gov/nof.