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September 2017
Region 4: North Puget Sound
(Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties)
Smiling woman holds up a pink salmon.
Photo by Danny Garrett

Pacific salmon: Salmon fishing opportunities in the north Puget Sound region include: 

  • Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands): Open for chinook, pink and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish (one of which can be chinook), plus two additional sockeye. 
    • Bellingham Bay Fishery: Open for salmon fishing with a daily limit of four salmon, two of which may be chinook.
  • Tulalip Terminal Area Fishery (portion of Marine Area 8-2): Open Fridays through noon on Mondays until Sept. 4. Starting Sept. 10, the fishery is open Saturdays and Sundays through Sept. 25. Anglers have a daily limit of two salmon, and are allowed to use two fishing poles with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement.
  • Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet): Open through Sept. 4 to shoreline fishing for hatchery coho and pink salmon with a daily limit of two fish.
    • Edmonds Public Fishing Pier: Anglers have a daily limit of two salmon, one of which can be chinook. Anglers must release all chum.
  • Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open for pink and hatchery coho with a daily limit of two fish.
    • Elliott Bay, including Harbor Island/Duwamish Waterways, are open following Marine Area 10 rules. Harbor Island/Duwamish Waterways (includes Spokane Street Bridge) has a night closure, is unlawful to use forage fish jig gear, and only salmon hooked inside the mouth may be retained.
    • Sinclair Inlet, a portion of Marine Area 10, is open through Sept. 30. Anglers have a daily limit of three salmon. All wild coho and wild chinook must be released. Anglers are allowed to use two fishing poles with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement.
    • Waterman Pier, Bremerton Boardwalk, Illahee State Park Pier, Seacrest Pier: Anglers have a daily limit of two salmon, one of which can be chinook. Anglers must release all chum through Sept. 15. Elliott Bay Fishing Pier at Terminal 86 has been closed by the Port of Seattle for safety reasons.
  • Nooksack River in Whatcom County is open for salmon fishing with a daily limit of two salmon plus two additional hatchery coho. All wild coho and wild chinook must be released.
  • Samish River from the mouth (Bayview-Edison Rd.) to I-5 Bridge is open to salmon fishing with a daily limit of two fish. All wild coho must be released.
  • Baker Lake in Whatcom County is open for salmon fishing through Sept. 7 with a daily limit of four sockeye salmon.
  • Snohomish River (Skykomish and Snoqualmie) in Snohomish County is open to salmon fishing with a daily limit of three coho. Anglers must release all chinook, chum and pink salmon.
  • Lake Washington north of Highway 520 Bridge and east of Montlake Bridge in King County is open to coho salmon fishing Sept. 16 with a daily limit of four fish.
  • Green/Duwamish River in King County is open to salmon fishing with a daily limit of six fish. Anglers must release chinook salmon in all river sections except from Tukwila International Boulevard/Old Highway 99 to I-405 where anglers can keep one chinook as part of the daily limit. No more than three adults may be any combination of coho and chum. 

Always make sure to check the sport fishing rules pamphlet and emergency fishing rules webpage before heading out.

Atlantic salmon: Thousands of farm-raised Atlantic salmon recently escaped when a net pen failed at a Cooke Aquaculture facility on Cypress Island on Aug. 19. We are encouraging anglers to fish for Atlantic salmon and report their catch online in an effort to track fish being caught.

There is no size or catch limit on Atlantic salmon. However, anglers may only fish for Atlantic salmon in marine waters that are already open to fishing for Pacific salmon or freshwater areas open to fishing for trout or Pacific salmon. Anglers must stop fishing for Atlantic salmon once they’ve caught their daily limit of Pacific salmon in marine waters, or their daily limit of trout or Pacific salmon in freshwater.

To learn tips and tricks to catching these escaped Atlantic salmon, check out this instructional video. For information on how to identify Atlantic salmon, visit WDFW’s website.

Warmwater species: A variety of lowland lakes provide good opportunities for warmwater fishing throughout the region in September. Notable hot spots to catch smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, yellow perch, panfish, or catfish include larger waters such as Lake Washington (King County), Lake Goodwin (Snohomish County), and Lake Whatcom (Whatcom County).

Crab: Most areas of Puget Sound will close to recreational crab fishing at sunset on Labor Day, Sept. 4. The only two areas of the Sound that will remain open to crab fishing after Labor Day are marine areas 7-South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham) and 7-North (Gulf of Georgia). Crabbing in those areas is open through Sept. 30, Thursdays through Mondays only. See WDFW’s recreational crab fishing webpage for more information.

Crabbers are reminded that their summer catch record cards are due to WDFW by midnight Oct. 1 and must be returned whether or not the cardholder caught or fished for crab during the season. Crabbers who fail to file catch reports for 2017 will face a $10 fine, which will be imposed when they apply for next year’s Puget Sound crab endorsement. Completed summer cards can be mailed in or submitted online after Labor Day.

Winter crab seasons for Puget Sound will be announced in early October.

Fishing derby: Anglers are still reeling in prize fish as part of the statewide trout fishing derby, which continues through Oct. 31 at a number of lakes in the Puget Sound area. Anglers who catch tagged trout in lowland lakes can claim prizes – ranging from fishing gear to gift cards – offered by license dealers around the state. For a list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes, visit the derby webpage.

National Hunting & Fishing Day Celebration: WDFW is hosting a free, family-friendly event on Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Camp Pigott in Snohomish. The event will introduce youth to target shooting, hunting, fishing, and conservation in Washington. Youth 17 years of age and under who attend the event with an accompanying adult can shoot WDFW firearms, archery equipment, and air rifles. Agency staff and WDFW hunter education instructors will be on hand to teach shooting safety and provide instruction and guidance.

For those interested in learning to fish, participants will be able to fish for over 500 trout that WDFW will be stocking for the event. The event also features:

  • Free lunch for the first 500 youth attendees and accompanying adults
  • Free goodie bags with shooting safety gear for the first 500 youth attendees
  • Door prize drawings
  • Turkey hunting clinic
  • Basic knot tying lessons
  • Opportunities to make plaster casts of animal tracks and Japanese-style (Gyotaku) fish prints
For more information, and to pre-register, visit the event webpage.
Young boy learns how to shoot a bow and arrow with help from WDFW instructor at hunting and fishing day event.
Photo by Dave Whipple

Fire Danger: State land managers urge everyone planning to spend time outdoors to take care to avoid sparking a wildfire. Hunters and others also are advised to check fire conditions at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/state/49/ before they head out. An outdoor burn ban is currently in effect in Whatcom, Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan counties. (See http://www.dnr.wa.gov/news/campfires-prohibited-northwest-washington.)

Early archery hunts: In coming weeks, hunters have several options to consider as early hunting seasons open throughout September. Archery-only hunts for deer begin Sept. 1 and run through Sept. 29, while archery hunts for elk are open Sept. 9-21. Hunters who take the time to scout and learn the area will increase their likelihood of success. It is strongly encouraged to plan ahead and familiarize yourself with local conditions in advance of going on a hunt.

For information on deer and elk hunting prospects in North Puget Sound, visit WDFW’s hunting prospects webpage.

High buck hunts: For those looking to hunt black-tailed deer at higher elevations, areas within GMUs 418 (Nooksack), 426 (Diablo), and 437 (Sauk) can be accessed by USFS roads and trail systems that lead to mountain areas, such as the Mount Baker Wilderness Area in Whatcom County and northern portions of the Glacier Peak Wilderness Area in southeastern Skagit County. Both of these wilderness areas are open for the high buck hunt Sept. 15-25.

Cougar: The early hunting cougar season begins Sept. 1, and hunters may use any legal weapon. Some GMUs in North Puget Sound that provide cougar hunting opportunities include 448 (Stillaguamish), 450 (Cascade), 460 (Snoqualmie), and 466 (Stampede). For details on harvest guidelines, visit WDFW’s hunting prospects webpage.  

All successful cougar hunters must report their cougar harvest to the Cougar Hotline at 1-866-363-3868 within 72 hours and must contact a WDFW office or call to set up an appointment to have the pelt sealed within five days of notification. The skull and hide (both non-frozen) must be presented so teeth and biological samples can be taken.

Black bear: General hunting season for black bear continues through Nov. 15 in the Puget Sound Zone as shown on page 67 of the Big Game Hunting pamphlet. Hunters are allowed two bear during the general season, only one of which may be taken in eastern Washington. All hunters are urged to avoid shooting sows with cubs. Successful hunters are required to submit a bear tooth to WDFW to determine the animal's age. Tooth envelopes are available at all WDFW offices.

Forest grouse: Forest grouse hunting season opens statewide Sept. 1. The daily bag limit is four of any species, with no more than three of one species. Warmer weather experienced this spring combined with anecdotal observations collected this summer suggest grouse populations are in good numbers this year. Refer to the Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Pamphlet for more details.

Pheasant: Youth-only pheasant hunts are open Sept. 23-24. Hunters 65 years or older and hunters with disabilities will also have the chance for an early hunt Sept. 25-29. The regular season for western Washington begins Sept. 30, and hunting hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Game farm produced pheasants will be released this fall on sites mapped on the GoHunt website. For more information and complete pheasant release site maps, see the Western Washington Pheasant Release Enhancement Program booklet. Non-toxic shot is required on all pheasant release sites.

National Hunting & Fishing Day Celebration: WDFW is hosting a free, family-friendly event on Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Camp Pigott in Snohomish. The event will introduce youth to target shooting, hunting, fishing, and conservation in Washington. Youth 17 years of age and under who attend the event with an accompanying adult can shoot WDFW firearms, archery equipment, and air rifles. Agency staff and WDFW hunter education instructors will be on hand to teach shooting safety and provide instruction and guidance.

For those interested in learning to fish, participants will be able to fish for over 500 trout that WDFW will be stocking for the event. The event also features:

  • Free lunch for the first 500 youth attendees and accompanying adults
  • Free goodie bags with shooting safety gear for the first 500 youth attendees
  • Door prize drawings
  • Turkey hunting clinic
  • Basic knot tying lessons
  • Opportunities to make plaster casts of animal tracks and Japanese-style (Gyotaku) fish prints
For more information, and to pre-register, visit the event webpage.
Great blue heron standing in a marsh
Photo by Gregory Lee

Puget Sound Bird Fest: Birdwatchers have an opportunity to do some birding in the Edmonds area during the Puget Sound Bird Fest Sept. 15-17. The festival is a celebration of birds and nature around Edmonds, including Edmonds Marsh and the waterfront. The event features guided walks, speakers, field trips and educational activities. For more information, visit the Puget Sound Bird Fest website.

Orca whale watching: Whale watchers should have several opportunities in September to spot orca whales near the San Juan Islands. The resident orcas are feasting on salmon runs now making their way along the shores of the islands. One of the best spots to view whales is from Lime Kiln State Park on the western shore of San Juan Island.

The Orca Half Marathon will take place Sept. 24 along the shores of West Seattle, starting and finishing on Alki Beach. The Orca Half Marathon benefits the Whale Trail, a Seattle-based nonprofit dedicated to inspiring appreciation and stewardship of whales, especially orcas. Come cheer on the runners, learn about orcas, and keep an eye out for the Southern Resident Killer Whales!

Green Lake bat walk: Bats Northwest will lead the final bat walk of the season at Green Lake in Seattle on Sept. 8. The guided walk will start at 6:30 p.m. and continue after dark, so make sure to dress appropriately for weather conditions. Participants will learn about Washington bat species, use bat detectors to hear nearby bats, and learn the important role bats play in the ecosystem. Visit the Bats Northwest website for more information.

National Hunting & Fishing Day Celebration: WDFW is hosting a free, family-friendly event on Sept. 23 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Camp Pigott in Snohomish. The event will introduce youth to target shooting, hunting, fishing, and conservation in Washington. Youth 17 years of age and under who attend the event with an accompanying adult can shoot WDFW firearms, archery equipment, and air rifles. Agency staff and WDFW hunter education instructors will be on hand to teach shooting safety and provide instruction and guidance.

For those interested in learning to fish, participants will be able to fish for over 500 trout that WDFW will be stocking for the event. The event also features:

  • Free lunch for the first 500 youth attendees and accompanying adults
  • Free goodie bags with shooting safety gear for the first 500 youth attendees
  • Door prize drawings
  • Turkey hunting clinic
  • Basic knot tying lessons
  • Opportunities to make plaster casts of animal tracks and Japanese-style (Gyotaku) fish prints

For more information, and to pre-register, visit the event webpage.

Region One: Eastern Washington Region Two: North Central Washington Region Four: North Puget Sound Region Six: South Sound/Olympic  Peninsula Region Five: Southwest Washington Region Three: South Central Washington