Skagit River rules change to protect returning Chinook

September 9, 2022

Action: Implements Selective gear rules downstream of Gilligan Creek and closes all fishing upstream of Gilligan Creek to Cascade River Road.

Effective dates: Sept. 10, 2022, until further notice

Species affected: All species

Locations and rules: Skagit River (Skagit County)

  1. From the mouth to Gilligan Creek: Selective gear rules in effect for all species.
  1. From Gilligan Creek to Cascade River Road (Marblemount Bridge): Closed to all fishing.

Reason for action: To date, preliminary monitoring data indicates the Skagit River coho sport fishery has used approximately 73% of allowable Chinook encounters for the entire season (through Oct. 31). Test fisheries show that more than 20% of the salmon moving through lower river areas are Chinook. The number of Chinook encounters this coho season have already exceeded the total number from the entire 2021 season.

These emergency measures are necessary to preserve opportunity later in the season. Keeping the sport fishery within the Chinook conservation goal will allow for the possibility to shift remaining coho shares to later in the year. Going over the allowable Chinook conservation goal would cause complete closure with no possibility to reopen coho later in the season.

Additional information: The higher-than-expected Chinook encounter rate is presumed to be partly due to low flows and low and clear conditions upstream of the Sauk. WDFW will continue to analyze the existing creel data to ensure accuracy, and will monitor available incoming data, including Chinook movement through the river, to find any opportunity possible.

In-season closure, reopening, or other management actions will be announced as soon as possible. Please consider downloading the FishWA app or signing up for fishery change notifications by email at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.

Information contact: Mill Creek Regional Office, 425-775-1311

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on definitions and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change. Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at 360-902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call 360-796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

Individuals who need to receive this information in an alternative format, language, or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact the Title VI/ADA Compliance Coordinator by phone at 360-902-2349, TTY (711), or email (Title6@dfw.wa.gov).