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September 2018
Region 4: North Puget Sound
(Island, King, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish and Whatcom counties)
Young man holds ups coho salmon he caught in Puget Sound.
Young man holds ups coho salmon he caught in Puget Sound.
Photo credit: Ryan Lothrop

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

Marine Area 5 (Sekiu and Pillar Point): Open for hatchery coho and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish plus two additional sockeye salmon.

Marine Area 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait): Open for hatchery coho and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish plus two additional sockeye salmon.

Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands): Open for coho and sockeye salmon with a daily limit of two fish, plus two additional sockeye. Anglers must release chinook and chum salmon.

  • Bellingham Bay Fishery: Opens Aug. 16 to salmon fishing. Anglers have a daily limit of four salmon (two of which may be chinook).

Marine Area 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay): Open to salmon fishing with a daily limit of two fish. Anglers must release all chinook salmon.

Marine Area 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner): Open to salmon fishing through Sept. 23 with a daily limit of two fish. Anglers must release all chinook salmon.

Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet): Open for hatchery coho salmon fishing with a daily limit of two fish.

  • Hood Canal Fishery: Open to shoreline fishing only with a daily limit of two fish. Anglers must release all chinook, chum, and wild coho.  

Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton): Open for salmon fishing with a daily limit of two fish. Anglers must release all chinook. From Sept. 1-15, anglers must also release all chum salmon.

  • Sinclair Inlet, a portion of Marine Area 10, is open through Sept. 30. Anglers have a daily limit of three salmon. All wild coho, chinook, and chum must be released. Anglers are allowed to use two fishing poles with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement.

Marine Area 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island): Open for coho salmon fishing with a daily limit of two fish.
Always make sure to check the sport fishing rules pamphlet and emergency fishing rules webpage before heading out.

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. 3. 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 2018 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.

Pheasant rooster flies through the field.
Pheasant rooster flies through the field.
Photo credit: Richard Eltrich

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. 28, while archery hunts for elk are open Sept. 8-20. 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. Refer to the Migratory Waterfowl and Upland Game Pamphlet for more details.

Pheasant: Youth-only pheasant hunts are open Sept. 22-23. Hunters 65 years or older and hunters with disabilities will also have the chance for an early hunt Sept. 24-28. The regular season for western Washington begins Sept. 29, 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.

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

Puget Sound Bird Fest: Birdwatchers have an opportunity to do some birding in the Edmonds area during the Puget Sound Bird Fest Sept. 14-16. 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. 23 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. 10. 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.

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