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2003 Chinook Selective Fishery, Marine Areas 5 and 6

Category: Fishing / Shellfishing - Selective Fishing

Date Published: January 12, 2005

Number of Pages: 34

Author(s): Steven L. Thiesfeld and Angelika Hagen-Breaux


During the summer of 2003, a pilot recreational Chinook salmon ("Chinook") fishery that was limited to retention of marked (adipose clipped) hatchery Chinook salmon occurred in Marine Area 5 and the western portion of Marine Area 6. Marine Areas 5 and 6 are located in Washington waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The Chinook Selective Fishery was scheduled to begin on July 5, 2003 and continue for 41 days or until a quota of 3,500 Chinook was kept, whichever occurred first. The fishery started on July 5, 2003 and ran continuously for 30 days through August 3. We estimated total effort, catch per angler trip, number of fish kept, the percentage of marked Chinook salmon (mark rate), and the percentage of fish greater than the 22" minimum size encountered.

We estimated fishing effort at 24,593 angler trips during the Chinook Selective Fishery. Those anglers retained an estimated 3,493 Chinook and released 14,841. In addition, an estimated 5,364 coho and 5,608 pink salmon were kept during this fishery. The majority of the fishing effort (79%) and Chinook kept (72%) occurred in Area 5. In Area 5, the number of Chinook kept per angler trip was 0.13. An estimated 5,195 anglers participated in the Chinook Selective Fishery in Area 6. In Area 6, the number of Chinook kept per angler trip was 0.19. The estimated mark rate for legal-size Chinook (greater than or equal to 22") based on test fishing during the Chinook Selective Fishery was 43% in Area 5 and 45% in Area 6. Angler effort during the Chinook Selective Fishery in 2003 was approximately double the effort compared to the same time and area fished in 2002, when a combination of 'non-selective' and 'release all' regulations applied to Chinook.

Since the Chinook Selective Fishery in Areas 5 and 6 was a pilot fishery and included a new regulation requiring anglers to release salmon without bringing the fish on board their vessel, we initiated a program to educate anglers about proper methods of releasing fish and fish identification. Anglers were offered a "dehooker" and a pamphlet describing selective fisheries, how to identify salmon species and how to use the dehooker. Anglers were also asked to avoid netting fish they were going to release if possible. Compliance with existing regulations, and the new regulation prohibiting bringing salmon on board a vessel if they were going to be released, was good. Officers contacted 846 anglers during the selective fishery, issuing seven warnings and three citations for retaining wild Chinook salmon, and no citations and two warnings for bringing fish to be released on board a vessel.

Suggested Citation:
2003 Chinook Selective Fishery, marine areas 5 and 6. January 12, 2005. Steven L. Thiesfeld and Angelika Hagen-Breaux. 2005. Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Olympia, Washington.