Baker River sockeye salmon season and counts

Baker sockeye are native to Baker Lake and Baker River, a tributary to the Skagit River. Each year, sockeye returning to the lake are trapped below two dams before they are transported above the facilities where they are placed at artificial spawning beaches, used for production at the lake’s hatchery facility, or released into Baker Lake to spawn naturally.

Natural spawning takes place mostly in seeps and springs at the head end of the lake and in the lower Baker River, although some sockeye may also enter other tributaries. Fry from the artificial spawning beaches and from hatchery production are released into Baker Lake and Shannon Lake, where they rear naturally.

At the smolt stage, sockeye are captured at both the lower and upper dams and released downstream for their seaward journey.

Baker River 2022

Baker Lake, Action: Baker Lake, open July 9 through August 31.

Baker Lake, Rule: Min. size 18". Daily limit 2 sockeye. Release al salmon other than sockeye. Each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon angling gear until the salmon limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. 

Skagit River, Action: As of July 21, 2022, portion of the Skagit River to open for sockeye fishing, effective date: June 22 through July 29, 2022. Skagit River (Skagit Co.); from the Hwy. 536 bridge (Memorial Hwy Bridge) in Mt. Vernon to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete (CRC 830). 

Skagit River, Rule: Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2 sockeye. Release all salmon other than sockeye. Night closure in effect. Selective gear rules are not in effect for salmon.  

Reason for action: Harvestable numbers of sockeye are forecast to return to the Baker system.   

Additional information: Selective gear rules remain in effect for gamefish. If anglers are not following selective gear rules, all species other than sockeye must be released. Please see pamphlet for gamefish rules in these sections. The current Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet is in effect through June 30, 2022. The 2022-2023 pamphlet goes into effect July 1, 2022. The new regulations should be available in late June. 

Sockeye harvest in the river fishery will be limited to 20 percent of state share. The remaining 80 percent will be reserved for Baker Lake opportunity. The split was agreed to between anglers during public sockeye workshops held in 2014 and 2015. Current river sport share is over 1,600 fish, but the exact number could change with in-season run-size updates.  

There will be periodic closures to prevent conflicts during tribal fisheries. In-season closures will be announced as soon as possible. Consider downloading the Fish Washington app or signing up for fishery change notifications by email at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists

The fishery will be actively monitored by WDFW. Anglers are asked to cooperate with creel personnel collecting catch information. Monitoring and evaluation of fisheries is an important part of ensuring we are meeting our conservation goals for salmon. 

Anglers should continue to regularly check the WDFW emergency rule updates web page and consider signing up for emailed regulation updates and rule change notifications for the latest information on Baker Lake. These web pages can be found at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ and https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/lists.

Puget Sound Energy employees operate and maintain the facilities at the Baker River Project under the directives of WDFW and tribal co-managers. These facilities not only include the hatchery and spawning beaches, but also an upstream trap-and-haul facility, and floating surface collectors for juvenile fish at Baker Lake and Lake Shannon.

Hatchery broodstock and natural spawner schedule

Fish that return to the Baker trap are prioritized to first meet our hatchery broodstock needs. Once the hatchery goal is met for the week, all remaining fish are transferred to Baker lake for the recreational fishery and to meet natural spawning goals in the lake.

2022 Hatchery Broodstock collection (8,500) 

Week AI Goal Beach Goal Total Broodstock
6/6 - 6/12 0 0 0
6/13 - 6/19 14 9 23
6/20 - 6/26 181 121 302
6/27 - 7/03 563 375 938
7/4 - 7/10 1,094 730 1824
7/11 - 7/17 1,425 950 2375
7/18 - 7/24 958 638 1596
7/25 - 7/31 520 334 854
8/1 - 8/7 219 159 378
8/8 - 8/14 77 51 128
8/15 - 8/21 30 20 50
8/22 - 8/28 19 13 32
After 8/29 0 0 0
Total 5100 3400 8500

Sockeye returns

Adult Baker sockeye enter the trap from mid-June to mid-October. Numbers of returning fish peak in mid-July. Spawning occurs from mid-September through December, peaking from late September to late November.

2022 daily counts

Date

Baker Lake Broodstock Spawn Beach Total
6/1 - 6/15 1 0 0 1
6/16 0 0 0 0
6/17 0 0 4 4
6/18 0 0 2 2
6/19 0 13 3 16
6/20 0 17 0 17
6/21 0 23 0 23
6/22 0 23 0 23
6/23 0 41 0 41
6/24 0 45 0 45
6/25 0 33 35 68
6/26 0 0 85 85
6/27 0 104 0 104
6/28 0 125 0 125
6/29 0 46 0 46
6/30 0 79 0 79
7/1 0 126 0 126
7/2 0 83 55 138
7/3 0 0 132 132
7/4 0 199 0 199
7/5 0 187 0 187
7/6 0 88 0 88
7/7 0 241 0 241
7/8 0 379 235 614
7/9 374 0 685 1,059
7/10 739 0 0 739
7/11 0 1,425 705 2,130
7/12 1,473 0 245 1,718
7/13 1,346 0 0 1,346
7/14 743 0 0 743
7/15 877 0 0 877
7/16 563 0 0 563
7/17 730 0 0 730
7/18 0 958 475 1,433
7/19 650 0 163 813
7/20 884 0 0 1,384**
7/21 669 0 0 818**
7/22 497 0 0 1,076**
7/23 136 0 0 136
7/24 760 0 0 760
7/25 64 520 334 918
7/26 0 0 0 715**
7/27 0 0 0 547**
7/28 956 0 0 956
7/29 533 0 0 533
7/30 308 0 0 308
7/31 106 0 0 106
8/1 0 219 68 287
8/2 0 0 91 469**
8/3 46 0 0 187**
8/4 0 0 0 189**
8/5 159 0 0 188**
8/6 22 0 0 22
8/7 159 0 0 159
8/8 257 77 51 385
8/9 113 0 0 113
8/10 161 0 0 161
8/11 0 69 0 69
8/12 0 34 0 34
8/13 0 29 0 29
8/14 0 67 0 67
8/15 0 73 20 93
Total number of fish transferred to Baker Lake 13,325 - - -
Total number of fish transferred to Broodstock - 5,564 - -
Total number of fish transferred to Spawning beach  - - 3,388 -
Cumulative Total number of fish  - - -

25,264**

**Total Includes Trap Harvest

 

Baker River sockeye salmon trap counts

On desktop/laptop, move the cursor over a data point to see the exact date and count. To zoom in or out on the chart, use the mouse scroll wheel. Click and drag the graph to pan the data left or right.

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To view and compare counts from previous years, click/tap the year in the legend below the chart to toggle it on or off.

Baker River sockeye salmon trap counts by year

Year Trap Count
2021 26,808
2020 15,896
2019 13,016
2018 17,609
2017 16,703
2016 24,986
2015 32,736
2014 14,176
2013 12,534
2012 28,410
2011 27,195
2010 18,809
2009 6,486
2008 3,211
2007 2,763
2006 8,325
2005 3,192
2004 9,113
2003 20,236
2002 4,023
2001 4,942
2000 10,404
1999 4,654
1998 13,187
1997 7,099
1996 7,769
1995 2,181
1994 15,991
1993 3,818
1992 2,443
1991 480
1990 1,977
1989 536
1988 818
1987 683
1986 542
1985 99
1984 358
1983 735
1982 1,869
1981 208
1980 499
1979 865
1978 2,716
1977 1,707
1976 1,518
1975 1,303
1974 3,611
1973 3,656
1972 10,031
1971 2,931
1970 821