OLYMPIA–The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife will decide in early September if a sport pink salmon fishery will open in Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and Skagit River.
Before the decision is made WDFW and area tribes must be sure adequate numbers of pinks reach the Skagit River to spawn.
Anglers and WDFW scientists are reporting large numbers of pink salmon in Marine Areas 8-1 and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner).
But the biologists caution that two test fisheries must occur in Marine Area 8-1 and the Skagit River to determine the health of the pink salmon run returning to the Skagit River before opening the fishery. Those test fisheries are scheduled for the last two weeks in August.
State and tribal fish managers have agreed the pink salmon spawning goal for the Skagit is 333,000 fish. The sport fishery won't open unless there are harvestable surpluses above that number.
Marine Area 8-2 is open to pink salmon fishing now because the number of pink salmon returning to the Snohomish and Stillaguamish rivers exceeds spawning requirements. Area 8-1 opens Sept. 1 for coho, but chinook and pink salmon must be released unless restrictions on fishing for pinks are lifted after the test fisheries.