A stronger-than-expected return of coho salmon to the Lake Washington system will allow for a recreational fishery for coho in the northern portion of the lake beginning Thursday, Oct. 4, through Oct. 31, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
More than 30,000 coho have cleared the fish ladders at the Army Corps of Engineers' Chittenden Locks in Ballard, leading fisheries managers to open Lake Washington to coho fishing for the second year in a row.
In the fishery that begins Thursday, anglers can take two coho per day with a minimum length of 12 inches. Only the portion of Lake Washington north of the Evergreen Point Floating Bridge (State Route 520) will be open to coho fishing, except within 100 yards of the bridge. All chinook and sockeye salmon must be released unharmed.
"Closing the southern half of Lake Washington helps protect wild chinook returning to the Cedar River, and the majority of the returning coho are concentrated in the north end of the lake," said Chuck Phillips, WDFW regional fish program manager.
"The extensive surveys that we've done of the spawning grounds in Bear Creek indicate that many chinook have already migrated from Lake Washington into northern tributaries to spawn," he said.
Puget Sound chinook, including those spawning in the Lake Washington system, are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
For more information on fishing rules and license requirements, check the WDFW's 2001/2002 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet.