OLYMPIA – Anglers must release any chinook salmon they catch in ocean waters off Washington’s coast beginning Aug. 29, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Anglers’ total catch of chinook salmon this summer is nearing the overall harvest quota for chinook in Washington’s ocean waters, requiring the change in fishing rules for marine areas 1-4, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW.
The requirement to release chinook salmon in those waters does not affect fishing for hatchery coho or other salmon species.
“Catch rates in the ocean for chinook salmon have been strong throughout much of the season, but we still have substantial numbers of coho remaining under the quota,” Pattillo said. "This change allows anglers to continue catching coho, while ensuring catch limits for chinook will not be exceeded.”
As of Aug. 21, coastwide catch totals for the recreational salmon fishery had reached 90 percent of the overall chinook guideline of 30,100 fish, said Pattillo.
Until the change takes effect Aug. 29, anglers can continue to keep one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport). Anglers fishing marine areas 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) can continue to catch and keep two chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 are also allowed one additional pink salmon each day.
Marine areas 1, 3 and 4 are open daily. Marine area 2 is currently open through Aug. 25, and will be closed Aug. 26-27. Marine Area 2 will then re-open to salmon fishing seven days a week beginning Aug. 28.
Barring any further actions, ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/.
Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.