OLYMPIA – Starting Tuesday (Aug. 16), anglers fishing in ocean waters off Neah Bay will be allowed to keep up to two chinook salmon per day toward their two-salmon daily limit, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Since the season began, anglers fishing those waters have been limited to one chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.
The new two-chinook bag limit in Marine Area 4 will apply only to ocean waters west of the so-called Bonilla-Tatoosh line, which defines the entrance to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Anglers fishing east of that line will still be required to release any chinook salmon they catch, said Tim Flint, WDFW statewide salmon manager.
“When the season began, we limited anglers to one chinook per day to avoid taking the quota too quickly,” Flint said. “We’re now confident we can go to two chinook per day without much risk that chinook catches will shorten the season.”
Flint noted that WDFW has already liberalized daily limits for chinook elsewhere on the coast, where chinook catches have fallen short of expectations. However, unlike marine areas 1, 2 and 3 where fishing is allowed seven days per week, Marine Area 4 will remain on a five-day, Tuesday-through-Saturday schedule, Flint said.
“While chinook have dropped off, anglers are catching increasing numbers of coho and pink salmon off Neah Bay,” Flint said. “We’re keeping the five-day fishing schedule in place so we don’t reach the coho quota too fast.”
According to WDFW creel checks, anglers caught approximately 2,200 chinook and 7,300 coho in Marine Area 4 through Aug. 7. Season quotas for those species are 4,300 chinook and 12,667 coho.
In addition to rules affecting coho, anglers must release any coho salmon with an intact adipose fin and any chum salmon they catch in Marine Area 4.
Flint recommends that anglers check the WDFW Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website for season updates before fishing for salmon in any of the state’s coastal waters.