Recreational Salmon Fishing
Buy Your License Online! Buy Your License Online!

Selective Fishing Techniques & Information

Removed adipose fin (hatchery salmon) and intact adipose fin (wild salmon)
Removed adipose fin (hatchery salmon) and intact adipose fin (wild salmon)

As a result of declining numbers of some wild chinook and coho stocks, fisheries managers are further challenged to protect these stocks while at the same time providing angler opportunity. To enable anglers to distinguish wild from hatchery salmon, the hatchery salmon are marked by removing the adipose fin (see diagram below). This activity allows anglers to release wild coho while still retaining hatchery stocks.

Please refer to the current Fishing in Washington pamphlet to learn more about salmon fishing rules by area.


Releasing Salmon Carefully

By carefully releasing salmon, you contribute to the likelihood of improving their survival rate. Several techniques are important to the careful release of salmon. Foremost, please do not remove the fish from the water, and avoid netting the fish whenever possible. Netting a salmon can cause loss of scales and may reduce survival.

Many anglers now use a “de-hooker,” which provides the capability to release fish quickly without handling. De-hookers can be easily made at home with a wood dowel cut to your length of preference. By cutting to a preferred length, the dowel can also serve as a measuring tool while the fish is in the water. Screw a threaded cup hook into the end of the dowel, and follow the four-point outline “Using the de-hooker” shown below. Watch the video to see the de-hooker in action.