August 19, 2003
Contact: Thom Johnson, (360) 765-3979
WDFW cautions Quilcene River anglers: Follow the rules
OLYMPIA - The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is cautioning anglers who plan to fish for salmon on the Quilcene River this year to observe state fishing rules, avoid disturbing salmon spawning nests (redds) and obtain permission before crossing private property.
The fishery, which opened Aug. 16 from Rodgers Street upstream to the Highway 101 Bridge, is confined to hatchery coho salmon measuring at least 12 inches in length. Anglers may keep up to four hatchery coho per day, but must release any other species they catch. Hatchery fish are readily identifiable by their missing adipose fin.
WDFW Enforcement Officer Phil Henry said the popular fishery presents several management challenges, including limited public access, shallow water and the presence of summer chum salmon listed as "threatened" under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"Like last year, we'll be keeping a close eye on this fishery to avoid the kind of problems we've seen in the past," he said. "We're going to need cooperation from everyone involved if this fishery is to continue in future years."
In particular, Henry asks that anglers observe the following rules:
- Don't disturb the redds: Anglers should stay out of the river to avoid trampling eggs laid in nests (redds) by naturally spawning summer chum salmon. Redds appear as depressions in the gravel, with a mound of gravel on the downstream end. Progress made in recent years to rebuild depressed summer chum stocks could be set back by anglers wading through shallow water without regard for salmon redds.
- No snagging: With migrating salmon clearly visible in areas of the Quilcene River, some anglers may be tempted to resort to snagging. This is a violation of state fishing rules, except in the case of tribal anglers conducting subsistence fisheries. "Unless you're a member of a treaty tribe, you can expect a citation if we catch you snagging fish," Henry said.
- No trespassing: WDFW has a marked, 25-foot easement on the north side of the river that extends approximately one mile below Highway 101, providing public access to fishing on the river. Most of the land downstream of the easement and on the south side of the river is privately owned, and anglers should obtain permission from landowners before crossing it, said Officer Henry. He noted that the department recently completed a new trail from Fremont Street to the river mouth, which provides access to fishing in Quilcene Bay (under fishing rules for Marine Area 12). "Fishing is closed from Rodgers Street to the mouth of the Quilcene River, but the bay is open and we'd encourage anglers to give it a try," Henry said.
As with other fisheries, anglers are encouraged to review regulations detailed in the WDFW Fishing in Washington pamphlet before fishing the Quilcene River.