SEATTLE– Thousands of enthusiastic anglers turned out for the opening of sockeye salmon fishing yesterday on Lake Washington, but some found themselves going home with a ticket as well as a catch.
That's because a number of those fishers neglected to fill out their sportfish catch record cards, say Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) enforcement officials.
The officers issued a number of citations and warnings for catch record card violations and other lapses, including exceeding the two-sockeye daily limit and fishing in closed areas.
An estimated 9,600 anglers hit the lake in 3,700 boats July 4 when recreational sockeye fishing opened there for the first time in four years. Over 13,000 sockeye were caught on the opening day, according to WDFW preliminary estimates.
"There are a lot of first-time fishers out there who are not up on the rules and regulations,"said Capt. Bill Hebner, who heads enforcement in WDFW's North Puget Sound regional office in Mill Creek.
"This is a phenomenal fishery in the backyard of one of the nation's largest cities," Hebner added. "People are out there having a good time. We don't want to have to write them tickets."
Failing to possess or to properly fill out a catch record card carries a $95 fine, while over fishing carries penalties of $95 and up, depending on the severity of the offense.
The catch record card, which must be carried in addition to the required state freshwater fishing license, is used to record the area and date of the catch, as well as the species that was caught. Fishers are required to fill in the card immediately upon catching a fish.
Anglers are reminded of these regulations affecting the Lake Washington sockeye fishery:
- The daily limit is two sockeye at least 15 inches long. If any chinook salmon are caught they must be immediately released.
- The area open for sockeye fishing is south of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge, except for closed waters within 100 yards of both floating bridges and within 1,000 feet of the mouth of the Cedar River
- Sockeye fishing is open only in the daytime, from one hour before official sunrise until one hour after official sunset. Fishing for all species is closed at night in waters south of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge.
- There will be noon-to-noon sport fishing closures July 10 to 11; July 12 to 13; July 17 to 18, and July 19 to 20, to allow tribal commercial fishing to take place
State law requires that children 12 and under wear a personal floatation device (life jacket) in boats.
In addition, anyone parking in a WDFW access site must have a WDFW access decal affixed to their vehicle. The decals are issued free with the purchase of a fishing license.
For more information on fishing regulations, anglers should consult the WDFW 2000 "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet.
Lake Washington sockeye information, including angling techniques and daily counts of fish passing the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks in Ballard, can be found on WDFW's website.