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July 2018
Region 6: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
(Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, Kitsap, Mason, Pierce, Thurston and Pacific counties)
Fisherman holding the King salmon caught in Puget Sound
Fisherman holding the King salmon caught in Puget Sound
Photo credit Danny Garrett

Salmon (ocean): The ocean salmon fishery is underway. Marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (La Push), and 4 (Neah Bay) are open daily. Marine Area 2 (Westport) is open Sundays through Thursdays.

In marine areas 1, 2, and 4, anglers will be allowed to retain two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. However, beginning July 14, anglers fishing in area 4 can keep two chinook as part of the two salmon daily limit, per an emergency rule. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 3 will have a two-salmon daily limit. In all marine areas, anglers must release wild coho.

Anglers can check for updates on the ocean salmon fisheries on WDFW’s website.

Salmon (Puget Sound): Marine areas 5 (Sekiu) and 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait) open July 1 and July 3 respectively for salmon fishing. Anglers fishing in area 5 and in area 6 (west of the north/south line through Buoy #2) can retain two salmon but must release chum, wild coho, and wild chinook. In area 6 east of the north/south line, anglers have a daily limit of two salmon but must release chinook, chum and wild coho. Anglers fishing in areas 5 and 6 can also keep two additional sockeye.

Anglers can start fishing for salmon July 16 in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet), where the daily limit is two salmon, only one of which may be a hatchery chinook. Anglers must release chum, wild coho, and wild chinook. 

Marine Area 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) opened to salmon fishing in June but anglers should be aware of new rules this month. Through July 15, anglers fishing area 10 can keep two salmon but must release chinook and chum. Beginning July 16, anglers can keep one hatchery chinook as part of their two salmon daily limit. Anglers must release chum and wild chinook. The Sinclair Inlet section of area 10 opens to fishing July 1. Anglers have a daily limit of 3 salmon but must release wild coho and wild chinook.

In Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) salmon fishing opens July 1 south of Ayock Point and in the Hoodsport hatchery zone. Anglers fishing here have a daily limit of four salmon. Anglers must release chum and wild chinook. Night closures are in effect in the Hoodsport hatchery zone.  (The 2018-19 sportfishing pamphlet incorrectly lists the limit for hatchery chinook south of Ayock as two fish, instead of four).

Salmon fishing continues in areas 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island) and 13 (south Sound). In area 11, anglers can keep one hatchery chinook as part of a two-salmon daily limit.

Beginning July 17, area 11 will be closed to boat angling for salmon Tuesdays through Thursdays, per an emergency rule. Anglers can still fish daily from shorelines and piers. Wild chinook must be released. Anglers fishing area 11 are reminded Commencement Bay is closed to salmon fishing until Aug. 1. Anglers fishing area 13 can keep two salmon but must release wild coho and wild chinook.

Marine areas 5, 9, 10, and 11 may close early if the quota (guideline in area 5) is met. Anglers can check WDFW’s website for the latest information in those areas.

Rivers: Several rivers in the area open July 1 for salmon fishing including the Bogachiel, Calawah, and Dickey rivers. These rivers join the Quillayute and Sol Duc in the Quillayute River system, which remains open.  Hatchery chinook are returning to the Sol Duc hatchery, and hatchery summer coho will start showing up in July as well. Anglers can keep two adult fish as part of the six salmon daily limit but must release wild adult chinook and wild adult coho. The Quinault River also opens July 1 with a daily limit of six jacks only.

Other rivers opening July 1 for salmon fishing include the Nisqually and the Deschutes rivers. Anglers fishing these rivers can keep two adult fish as part of a six salmon daily limit. When fishing the Deschutes, anglers must release coho. Those fishing the Nisqually must release chum, coho, and wild chinook. The Nisqually is closed to salmon fishing on Sundays.

More details can be found in the 2018-2019 Washington sport fishing rules pamphlet.

The Chehalis Basin offers several opportunities to fish for summer-run steelhead this month. The Humptulips and Wynoochee rivers are good bets in the basin.

Hatchery steelhead should also be increasing in number in the Bogachiel and lower Calawah rivers.

Lingcod: The lingcod fishery closes at the end of the day June 15 in all marine areas of Puget Sound (except Hood Canal, which is closed) for both spearfishing and hook and line fishing. Lingcod fishing continues in the ocean.

Shrimp: Recreational spot shrimp harvesting is open only in marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line) and 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca).

The daily limit for all shrimp in most Puget Sound marine areas is 10 pounds, with a maximum of 80 spot shrimp (in areas open for harvesting spot shrimp). The one exception is that shrimpers in Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), will have a limit of 120 shrimp per day regardless of species. Shrimpers should be aware that some areas are open only for coonstripe and pink shrimp fishing with depth restrictions. Shrimpers should note that per emergency rule, Marine Area 6 closed to spot shrimping July 9, when Marine Area 7-West closed to all shrimping.

Marine areas 1-3 and 4 (west of Bonilla-Tatoosh line) are open year-round for all species. Check WDFW’s recreational shrimp fishing webpage for more information.

Crab: Sport crabbing is underway in several Puget Sound marine areas, including areas 4 (Neah Bay - East of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu), 6 (East Juan de Fuca Strait), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan/Everett), 9 (Port Gamble and Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), and 12 (Hood Canal). Check the department’s recreational crab fishing webpage for more details.

Recreational crabbing in Puget Sound will be open Thursdays through Mondays each week. Crabbing is closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week, which means crabbers should be aware that sport crab fisheries will not be open Wednesday, July 4.

All shellfish gear must be removed from the water on closed days. Crabbers are reminded that areas 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island) and 13 (south Puget Sound) will not open for crab fishing this summer to allow Dungeness crab populations to rebuild.
Meanwhile, Washington’s ocean waters remain open to recreational crabbing year-round.  

Trout: Regional lakes recently stocked with trout include Sandy Shore Lake (Jefferson County), Panhandle Lake (Mason County), Lake Louise (Pierce County) and Lake Saint Clair (Thurston County). Trout anglers can check regional trout-stocking reports online for the latest information. 

Catch a fish; win a prize:  WDFW's lowland lake trout derby continues through Oct. 31. Anglers with an applicable 2018-19 freshwater, combination, or all-in-one Fish Washington fishing license who catch one of more than 1,000 tagged fish can claim prizes provided by license dealers located across the state. A list of lakes with prize fish and details on how to claim prizes is available at the derby website.

Bass Week (July 8-14): With more than 1,000 lakes containing bass statewide, and some outstanding river fishing opportunities, both smallmouth and largemouth bass are plentiful in Washington waters. Some of the state’s best fishing can be done from docks or along the shoreline. WDFW’s first Bass Week will take place July 8-14, when department staff highlight some of the best bass water in Washington, provide fishing tips, and answer questions. Submit your best bass fishing photos to be featured on our Facebook and Instagram.

Students with instructors at a Hunter Education class
Students with instructors at a Hunter Education class

Black bear:  Hunters can start looking forward to general hunting seasons for black bear. The season opens Aug. 1 in the coastal and east Cascades zone and Aug. 15 in the south Cascades zone. More information can be found in Washington’s 2018 Big Game Hunting Season and Regulations pamphlet.

Hunter Education Courses: Avoid the autumn rush and sign up now for a summer hunter education class. All hunters born after Jan. 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.

Panoramic view of the Olympic Mountains with chipmunk in the foreground.
Marmot Pass in the Olympic National Forest

Olympic National Park: Warmer weather in July makes for a pleasant time to visit Washington's coast to view wildlife. Olympic National Park provides information online about exploring tidepools at its beaches. The Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary has posted an online guide of seabirds, marine mammals, fish and invertebrates (sea stars, anemones and jellyfish) that beach-goers may find. 

All summer long, Olympic National Park is offering ranger-led walks and educational programs at a variety of locations, including Kalaloch Beach, Hurricane Ridge, and the Hoh Rain Forest. A list of times and locations are available on the park's events webpage.

Meet the beach: Wander a south Sound-area beach with a naturalist as part of the South Sound Estuary Association’s “Meet the Beach” program. Naturalists will be available on weekends at various beaches through mid-August.

State Parks: State Parks is also offering several beach walks with biologists and naturalists throughout the month at beaches such as Penrose Point and Fort Warden. Check Parks’ events calendar for details.

Whale-watching: Resident orcas are traveling through Washington’s waters, with multiple sightings reported on Orca Network. WDFW reminds boaters to keep their distance from these and other marine mammals and asks boaters to observe the new voluntary no-go zone for boats along western San Juan Island. For information on Washington’s regulations regarding boaters and whales, visit WDFW’s orca whale management webpage. Federal guidelines can be found online.

Fire restrictions: WDFW land managers are urging everyone planning to spend time outdoors to take precautions to avoid sparking a wildfire. Fireworks are prohibited year-round at all 33 WDFW wildlife areas and 700-plus water access sites around the state. So is throwing a lit cigarette or any other burning material from a motor vehicle on a state highway.

Region One: Eastern Washington Region Two: North Central Washington Region Four: North Puget Sound Region Six: South Sound/Olympic Peninsula Region Five: Southwest Washington Region Three: South Central Washington