600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
June 24, 2016
Contact: Laurie Peterson, (360) 902-2790
Puget Sound-area waters reopen for fishing
OLYMPIA – Puget Sound-area fisheries that closed during an impasse in salmon-season negotiations will reopen immediately, state fish managers announced today.
Regulations for fisheries in Puget Sound marine waters, rivers and lakes through June 30 are listed in the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which is available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/01726/. Beginning July 1, anglers should check the 2016-17 sport fishing rules pamphlet (available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/) for fisheries information.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) closed many Puget Sound-area fisheries on May 1, after the previous federal authorization to conduct fisheries expired.
The annual season-setting process, known as North of Falcon, typically concludes by mid-April. The state and treaty tribes did not reach an agreement this year until May 26, which led to a lapse in federal approval needed to conduct fisheries in Puget Sound, where some fish stocks are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The OK given today by NOAA clears the way for reopening the Puget Sound-area fisheries that closed May 1.
"We know Puget Sound anglers have been frustrated by the late start to this year's salmon season," said John Long, salmon fisheries policy lead for WDFW. "This opening puts the year's salmon fisheries back on track."
Long noted additional restrictions are in place to protect coho salmon. Anglers will be required to release coho in most of Puget Sound this season. Those restrictions are also in effect for marine areas open in June, including marine areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island), 13 (south Sound) and in the Tulalip bubble fishery, where wild chinook must also be released.
Anglers fishing at most year-round piers within Puget Sound must release all coho while those fishing at year-round piers within Sinclair Inlet near Port Orchard are only required to release wild coho. Anglers should check the WDFW webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for other exceptions to the published fishing rules.
Salmon and steelhead fisheries in Puget Sound-area waters that are open in June include:
- The Skykomish River for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead fishing.
- The Cascade River for hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead fishing.
- The Skagit River for sockeye salmon, hatchery chinook and hatchery steelhead fishing.