OLYMPIA – Anglers won't be the only people walking the banks of the Dungeness River when the hatchery-bred coho season begins there Oct. 16.
Enforcement officers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will also be patrolling the riverbanks to ensure that anglers follow the rules.
"Lack of rainfall has created extreme low-water conditions in the river, which leaves the fish especially vulnerable to snagging and other illegal activities," said Bill Freymond, WDFW fish biologist. "Anglers should know that enforcement officers will be there to ensure an orderly fishery."
Freymond cautioned anglers to observe the following rules:
- No snagging.
- Only hatchery coho (those with missing adipose fins) may be retained. Any coho with an intact adipose fin must be released.
- The daily bag limit is four hatchery coho, with a minimum size of 12 inches.
The coho fishery on the Dungeness River in Clallam County is confined to the area from the river mouth to the Dungeness Hatchery intake pipe at river mile 11.3.
Freymond reminds anglers that much of the property along the riverbank is privately owned, and they should enter private property only with the permission of the landowner.
"Anglers have a great opportunity to harvest hatchery coho that exceed the needs of the hatchery," Freymond said. "Fishing responsibly is important for those who want this opportunity to continue in this and future years."