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July 2017
Region 4: North Puget Sound
(Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties)
Scenic view of Mount Baker while fishing on Baker Lake.
Photo credit: Erik Caldwell

Salmon: Anglers will have plenty of options to fish for salmon in Puget Sound waters this summer. Most marine areas in Puget Sound and Juan de Fuca open for salmon fishing July 1. Marine areas 9, 10 and 11 are anticipated to have good hatchery coho fishing as resident coho tend to feed in central Puget Sound in July.

  • Marine Area 5 (Sekiu and Pillar Point): Open for hatchery chinook, hatchery coho, pink and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish.
  • Marine Area 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait):
    • East of the #2 buoy/Ediz Hood line:  Open for hatchery chinook, hatchery coho, pink and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish.
    • West of the #2 buoy/Ediz Hood line: Open for hatchery coho, pink and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish.
  • Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands): Open for hatchery chinook, pink and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish.
  • Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet): Opens July 16 for hatchery chinook, hatchery coho, and pink salmon with a daily limit of two fish (one of which can be a hatchery chinook).
  • Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open July 1-15 for hatchery coho and pink salmon with a daily limit of two fish. Starting July 16, Marine Area 10 is open for hatchery chinook, hatchery coho, and pink salmon with a daily limit of two fish (one of which can be a hatchery chinook).
  • Marine Area 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island): Open for hatchery chinook, coho, and pink salmon with a daily limit of two fish.

Baker Lake (pictured above) in Whatcom County opens for salmon fishing July 8, giving anglers the chance to reel in a daily limit of four sockeye salmon.

The Cascade River is open for salmon fishing through July 15, while the Skagit River is open to salmon fishing through July 21 from Hwy. 536 at Mt. Vernon to the mouth of Gilligan Creek. This section of the Skagit River was previously scheduled to close July 16, but sufficient numbers of sockeye salmon have returned to allow for another few days of fishing. The Skagit River will be closed to all fishing July 12 and 13 from the mouth to the Highway 530 Bridge in Rockport to avoid gear conflicts with tribal fisheries.

Check the new Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet and emergency rules before heading out for details on salmon fishing rules.

Trout: The statewide trout fishing derby 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.

July is also prime time to fish in the alpine backcountry. Visit our Fish Washington High Lakes webpage to plan your adventure!

Warmwater: Fishing for largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and panfish (yellow perch, pumpkinseed sunfish, bluegill, and black crappie) is in full swing. Most species have completed spawning, and are entering the post-spawn phase. During the heat of the day, look for bass and panfish on the outside edge of weed beds. Yellow perch feed actively throughout the day, making them a great target for beginner anglers.

Crab: Several Puget Sound marine areas will open for crabbing July 1, including Marine Areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 8-1 (Deception Pass to East Point), 8-2 (East Point to Possession Point), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton). Recreational crabbing is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays in all areas of Puget Sound through Labor Day, Sept. 4.

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 ¼ inches. Crabbers may catch six red rock crab of either sex, at least 5 inches across, per day. Information on crab limits and rules, including how to properly record and report catch information is available on our recreational crab fishing webpage.

Students listen to an instructor at an outdoor hunter education class.

Summer hunter education: Avoid the autumn rush and sign up now for a hunter education class. All hunters born after January 1, 1972 must complete a hunter education course to purchase a hunting license. WDFW offers both traditional and online options to complete the hunter education training requirement.

The traditional classroom experience includes practical exercises and live-firing activities taught by certified volunteer instructors. The online class offers the same classroom content, but on the student's schedule. An in-person Field Evaluation Course is required with the online class for students to demonstrate what they have learned.

Great blue heron standing in a marsh
Photo credit: Jim Cummins

Enjoy a visit to the beach: Located about 20 miles northwest of Bellingham, Birch Bay State Park offers visitors a half-mile self-guided walk through forest and marsh environments with opportunities to see songbirds and waterfowl. Visitors can also explore 1.5 miles of saltwater shoreline and see intertidal species and shorebirds. The park is equipped with an automated pay station for visitors to purchase a one-day or annual Discover Pass and boat launch permit. Visit the Washington State Parks website for more information.

Salmon passing at Ballard Locks: July is a good time to head to the Ballard Locks to check out salmon passing the fish ladder viewing windows. The Ballard Locks are located in northwest Seattle where the Lake Washington Ship Canal enters Shilshole Bay and Puget Sound. The Visitor Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call the Locks' Visitor Center in Seattle at 206-783-7059.

Prevent wildfires: With wildfire season already underway, it is important for outdoor recreationists to do their part to prevent wildfires. Fireworks are prohibited year-round on all 33 WDFW wildlife areas and 700-plus water access sites. In addition to complying with the year-round fireworks ban, recreationists can help prevent fires by following these practices:

  • Cook camp meals on small camp stoves and light your camp with battery-operated lanterns.
  • If you must have a campfire, keep it small, in the open away from trees, preferably within a metal or stone ring, and put it out cold with water rather than letting it slowly die out through the night.
  • Don't toss cigarettes or other smoking materials outside.
  • Keep motor vehicles off vegetation and don't travel off-road.
  • Avoid using chainsaws or other equipment that can emit sparks.
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