OLYMPIA – A late, robust return of sockeye salmon to Lake Washington this summer is strong enough to support a recreational fishery in the lake that will be open Friday, July 26 through Sunday, July 28, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Fishing will be allowed from one hour before sunrise to one hour after sunset each day. There will be a two-sockeye daily limit, with sockeye retention limited to those fish measuring at least 15 inches. All other salmon must be safely released. No fishing will be allowed within 100 yards of the floating bridges. Additionally, there will be a 1,000-foot closure from the mouth of the Cedar River in Renton.
Announcement of the fishery comes after several days of higher-than-anticipated sockeye counts at the Ballard Locks fish ladder, where WDFW and the Muckleshoot Indian Tribe collect daily run-size data.
State and tribal fisheries managers concluded in a conference call on Monday, July 22 that the updated strength of the Lake Washington sockeye return this year would be at least 400,000 fish, well above the escapement threshold of 350,000 salmon.
"We will continue to assess the run strength and catch rates to see if there are additional fishing opportunities that can be provided later this summer," said Fishery Manager Dick Geist.
WDFW enforcement officers will observe the fishery to ensure regulations are being followed and salmon are properly recorded on a salmon catch record card. Anglers must have a freshwater fishing license and a salmon catch record card.
Under freshwater fishing rules, individual anglers may only fish with one rod and must stop fishing once their personal daily limit has been retained.
Boat-launch access is limited in the fishery, and fisheries managers advise anglers to scout out boat-launch areas in advance of the fishery opening Friday morning.
More than 77,000 recreational anglers participated in the last Lake Washington sockeye fishery, July 4-16, 2000. Anglers took an estimated 62,237 sockeye during the 13-day fishery.
Lake Washington sockeye fishing tips and other sockeye-related information can be found on the WDFW website on Internet.