OLYMPIA – The first selective fishery on hatchery chinook salmon opens Sunday (July 15) on the lower Skykomish River.
Enforcement officers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will be patrolling the river to ensure that fishers comply with the selective fishing requirement, which requires that wild chinook be released and returned to the river unharmed. Hatchery fish are identifiable because their adipose fin, just above the tail, is removed.
Selective fisheries for coho salmon already are in place in a number of areas of the state, including the Washington coast and south Puget Sound.
The Skykomish River fishery, targeting chinook returning to the Wallace River hatchery, is scheduled to continue through July 31, from the mouth of the Skykomish River to the mouth of the Wallace River, just upstream from the town of Sultan. The daily bag limit is one hatchery chinook.
The fishery, set in consultation with the National Marine Fisheries Service and tribal co-managers, is possible because the numbers of fish returning to the hatchery are in excess of those needed for future broodstock.