OLYMPIA - For the sake of the fishery, bank anglers fishing for chum salmon near the Hoodsport Hatchery on Hood Canal should avoid trespassing on private property.
That's the word from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), which operates the facility and allows anglers to fish from the shore on department property near the hatchery outfall.
"Our neighbors to the north are getting pretty upset waking up to the sight of a bunch of anglers wading around on their beach," said Ron Warren, regional WDFW fisheries manager. "If this keeps up, it could ultimately threaten the future of this popular fishery."
The boundary between the WDFW hatchery complex and the neighboring property is clearly marked by a buoy line running out into the Canal, Warren said. Signs on the hatchery grounds warn against trespassing, although one atop a piling near the buoy line was knocked down last week.
"We're working to get that sign back up before the weekend," Warren said. "We're trying to be a good neighbor, but people aren't making it easy."
Thanksgiving traditionally marks the peak of the chum salmon return to Hoodsport Hatchery, which is already attracting dozens of anglers per day, fishing from shore or from boats.
"Property rights are not an issue for anglers fishing from boats, but they do apply to those fishing from the shoreline," Warren said. "If bank fishers fail to respect property rights, landowners may ultimately decide to take actions that affect individual anglers and the fishery itself."