OLYMPIA – Starting Monday (Feb. 24), anglers fishing the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) will be limited to one salmon per day.
State fishery managers approved the new limit – down from two fish per day – to control the fishery’s impacts on stocks of concern.
“Nice weather and calm days on the water have led to a productive winter salmon season for anglers fishing in the San Juan Islands,” said Ryan Lothrop, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 must release any chinook not specifically marked with a clipped adipose fin as a hatchery fish. However, since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline of 4,888 total encounters with legal-size chinook during the fishery.
According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 4,572 chinook salmon in Marine Area 7 as of Feb. 16.
The new catch limit will ensure compliance with conservation objectives and state-tribal management plans in Puget Sound, said Lothrop. WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 7 through April 30, when it is scheduled to close.
Lothrop reminds anglers that Bellingham Bay and Samish Bay will be closed to salmon fishing for the month of April.
Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.