WDFW News Release: WDFW announces razor clam dates for this weekend April 20th, 21st & 22nd 2019.

WDFW announces razor clam dates ahead of Long Beach Razor Clam Festival; Asks beachgoers to avoid snowy plovers

OLYMPIA – Razor clam diggers can return to various ocean beaches for a three-day opening beginning Saturday, April 20 and extending through Earth Day, April 22.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on morning low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and low tides:

  • April 20, Saturday, 7:58 a.m.; -1.1 feet; Long BeachTwin Harbors, Copalis;
  • April 21, Sunday, 8:42 a.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • April 22, Monday, 9:25 a.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks

Washington’s salmon fisheries set for 2019-20

WDFW NEWS RELEASE 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

April 15, 2019
Contacts:
 Kyle Adicks, 360-902-2664;
Michelle Dunlop, 360-790-6151

Washington’s salmon fisheries set for 2019-20

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. – Washington anglers can expect a mixed bag of salmon fisheries this year with increased coho opportunities in the ocean and the Columbia River, but additional necessary restrictions to protect chinook in Puget Sound.

The state’s 2019 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized today during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif.

This year’s fisheries were designed to take advantage of a higher number of coho salmon forecast to return to Washington’s waters as compared to recent years, said Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for WDFW. However, projected low returns of key chinook stocks in Puget Sound prompted fishery managers to restrict fisheries in Puget Sound.

“We’re able to provide more opportunities to fish for coho in some areas, particularly in the ocean and Columbia River, than we have been able to do for several years,” Adicks said. “But continued poor returns of some chinook stocks forced us to make difficult decisions for fisheries in Puget Sound this year.”

Puget Sound

Again in 2019, fishery managers projected another low return of Stillaguamish, Nooksack and mid-Hood Canal chinook and took steps to protect those stocks. Notable closures of popular fisheries include: the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) in August; Deception Pass and Port Gardner (areas 8-1 and 8-2) in December and January; and Admiralty Inlet (Marine Area 9) in January.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind acknowledged the reductions in Puget Sound salmon fisheries are difficult for both anglers and the local communities that depend on those fisheries.

“Reducing fisheries is not a long-term solution to the declining number of chinook salmon,” Susewind said. “The department will continue working with the co-managers, our constituents, and others to address habitat loss. Without improved habitat, our chinook populations will likely continue to decline.”

Limiting fisheries to meet conservation objectives for wild salmon indirectly benefits southern resident killer whales. The fishery adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for chinook and other salmon in these areas critical to the declining whales.

Anglers will also have limited opportunities to fish for pink salmon in Puget Sound due to projected low returns this year. There are no “bonus bag” limits for pink salmon in 2019.

Columbia River

The summer salmon fishery will be closed to summer chinook (including jacks) and sockeye retention due to low expected returns this year.

Fall salmon fisheries will be open under various regulations. Waters from Buoy 10 upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco will open to fall salmon fishing beginning Aug. 1.

“While we anticipate a robust coho fishery in the Columbia River this year, we’re taking steps to protect depleted runs of chinook and steelhead,” Adicks said.

Steelhead fisheries in the Columbia and Snake rivers this season will be similar to those in 2017, when a similarly low run was projected, he said.

Washington’s ocean waters

“We expect some good opportunities for fishing in the ocean this summer,” Adicks said.

For 2019, PFMC adopted a significantly higher quota for coho, and a similar quota for chinook compared to last year. All four of Washington’s marine areas will open daily beginning June 22.

More information

Notable changes to this year’s Puget Sound sport salmon fisheries can be found on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon, where information on recreational salmon fisheries in ocean waters and the Columbia River also is available.

For information on tribal fisheries, contact the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission (http://nwifc.org/).

Halibut fishing to open May 2 under higher halibut quotas

WDFW NEWS RELEASE 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

April 10, 2019
Contact: 
Heather Hall, (360) 902-2487

Halibut fishing to open May 2 under higher halibut quotas

OLYMPIA – Anglers fishing for halibut in Washington waters will have more halibut to catch during the 2019 season compared to recent years.   

Recreational halibut seasons announced today by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) are based on a statewide quota of 277,100 pounds, up by an average of 19 percent over the past three years.

Those fisheries are set to get underway May 2 in both state coastal waters and in marine areas 5-10 in Puget Sound.

Heather Hall, WDFW coastal policy coordinator, said the higher annual catch quota is the result of a new fixed allocation for fisheries in Washington, Oregon, and California approved by the International Pacific Halibut Commission in January.

Hall said that unique approach will allocate a total of 1.5 million pounds to halibut fisheries off the coast of those three states each year through 2022, barring any “substantive conservation concerns.”

“The Makah Tribe proposed a fixed quota for all recreational and commercial fisheries, not just for tribal fisheries,” Hall said. “That initiative will help to stabilize fisheries in all three states.”

Hall said the 2019 season is structured similar to recent years, with many of the fishing areas open at the same time. However, Hall noted that WDFW met with stakeholders last fall to establish halibut season dates that accommodate preferences in each management area.

Through that process, WDFW staff learned that Saturdays are important for the north coast (Neah Bay and La Push), while a Sunday opening is generally preferred on the south coast (Westport). The opening in the Columbia River subarea reflects requests that season dates overlap with those on the south coast off Westport. 

Unlike previous seasons, anglers fishing for halibut in Marine Area 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) will not be able to retain lingcod incidentally caught when fishing for halibut seaward of the 120-foot depth boundary. Hall said the depth restriction is designed to protect rockfish species, including yelloweye rockfish, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

“Higher halibut quotas in the next few years will likely mean more fishing days, which increase the chance that anglers fishing for halibut will encounter ESA-listed rockfish,” she said. “If we continued to allow lingcod retention outside of the depth restriction in Marine Area 6, it could affect rockfish recovery.”

However, lingcod retention will still be allowed seaward of the 120-foot depth restriction in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu), which is outside of the area where yelloweye rockfish are listed.

In all marine areas open to halibut fishing, there is a one-fish daily catch limit and no minimum size restriction. Anglers may possess a maximum of two halibut in any form while in the field, and must record their catch on a WDFW catch record card. There is an annual limit of four halibut.

Because halibut fisheries are managed to a quota, anglers should check the WDFW website to ensure a specific area is open prior to fishing. Complete information on recreational halibut regulations and seasons is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut.

Season details are listed below. Because halibut are regulated by the National Marine Fisheries Service, these dates are considered preliminary until the federal rulemaking process is complete.

Proposed 2019 Puget Sound halibut seasons

  • Marine areas 5-10 open May 2, 4, 9, 11, 18, 24, 26, June 6, 8, 20, and 22 as long as there is sufficient quota. Puget Sound will be managed to an overall quota of 77,550 pounds.
  • Marine areas 11, 12, and 13 will remain closed to halibut fishing to protect threatened and endangered rockfish species.

Proposed 2019 Pacific Coast halibut seasons

  • Marine Area 1 (Columbia River) opens May 2, 5, 9, 12, 24 and 26 as long as there is sufficient quota. If quota remains after May 26, the Columbia River subarea would be open two days per week, Thursday and Sunday, until the remaining quota is achieved. The nearshore area opens to fishing May 6 on a Monday-through-Wednesday schedule. Coordinates for the nearshore fishery are available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut/columbia-river. The all depth-fishery will be managed to 14,627 pounds; the nearshore quota is 500 pounds.
  • Marine Area 2 (Westport): The all-depth fishery opens May 2, 5, 9, 12, and 24 as long as there is sufficient quota. If sufficient quota remains, the northern nearshore area will open on the Saturday after the all-depth fishery closes and will continue seven days per week until the overall quota is taken. Coordinates for the nearshore fishery are available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut/south-coast. This area will be managed to an overall quota of 62,896 pounds.
  • Marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) will open May 2, 4, 9, 11, 18, 24, 26, June 6, 8, 20, and 22, as long as there is sufficient quota. The combined quota for both areas is 128,187 pounds.

Fishing regulations include depth restrictions and area closures designed to reduce encounters with yelloweye rockfish, which must be released under state and federal law. Anglers are reminded that a descending device must be onboard vessels and rigged for immediate use when fishing for or possessing bottomfish and halibut.

Information about descending devices can be found on WDFW’s webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/species-habitats/at-risk/species-recovery/rockfish

WDFW approves 5-day razor clam dig starting Jan. 17 Kalaloch closed by fed shutdown

WDFW NEWS RELEASE
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov/

January 11, 2019
Contact: Dan Ayres, 360-249-4628

WDFW approves 5-day razor clam dig starting Jan. 17

OLYMPIA – The next round of evening razor clam digs will run Jan. 17-21 at various ocean beaches, including the first opening of the season at Kalaloch.

State shellfish managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) approved the dig on evening low tides after marine toxin tests showed the clams are safe to eat. No digging will be allowed on any beach before noon.

The upcoming dig is approved on the following beaches, dates, and evening low tides:

Jan. 17, Thursday; 3:39 p.m.; 0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
Jan. 18, Friday; 4:30 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors
Jan. 19, Saturday; 5:18 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
Jan. 20, Sunday; 6:05 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Kalaloch
Jan. 21, Monday; 6:51 p.m.; -1.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks, Kalaloch
Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, recommends that diggers hit the beach about an hour or two before low tide for the best results.

“Diggers should always keep an eye on the surf and come prepared with good lighting devices for the digs that occur after dark,” Ayres said.

Ayres said the department has also tentatively scheduled a dig in early February, pending the results of another round of marine toxin tests. If those tests are favorable, that dig will run Feb. 1-3.

More information on planned digs can be found on WDFW’s razor clam webpage at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2018-19 fishing license to harvest razor clams on any beach. Licenses, ranging from a three-day razor clam license to an annual combination fishing license, are available on WDFW’s website at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov and from license vendors around the state.

Under state law, diggers at open beaches can take 15 razor clams per day and are required to keep the first 15 they dig. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

Most of the Columbia River closIng to salmon and steelhead fishing

WDFW NEWS RELEASE 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

September 11, 2018

Contact: Bill Tweit, 360-902-2723
Ryan Lothrop, 360-902-2808

Most of the Columbia River closIng to salmon and steelhead fishing

OLYMPIA – Starting Thursday (Sept. 13), fishing for salmon will be closed on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Hwy 395 in Pasco under new rules approved today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon

Deep River in Washington and other tributaries in Oregon (Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough) are also closed to salmon and steelhead angling.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) already prohibited steelhead retention in much of the same area of the Columbia River several weeks ago, and the new emergency rule closes angling for both salmon and steelhead in those waters as well.

Bill Tweit, Columbia River fishery coordinator for WDFW, said the counts of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam are 29 percent below preseason forecasts, and on-going fisheries are approaching the allowable catch limits under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

“We recognize that this closure is difficult for anglers, but we have an obligation to meet our ESA goals so that fisheries can continue in the future,” he said.

Tweit said the upriver fall chinook run provides the bulk of the harvest opportunity for fall fisheries, but that returns in recent years has been declining due to unfavorable ocean conditions. The preseason forecast for this year is 47 percent of the 10-year average return of upriver bright fall chinook.

The new emergency fishing rule is posted on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

 

WDFW schedules tentative razor clam digs through December

WDFW NEWS RELEASE 
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091 

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

September 5, 2018
Contact:
 Dan Ayres, 360-249-4628

WDFW schedules tentative razor clam digs through December

OLYMPIA – The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has announced a tentative schedule for the fall razor clam season set to begin in early October.

Final approval of all scheduled openings will depend on results of marine toxin tests (https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/domoic_levels.html), which are usually conducted about a week before a dig is scheduled to begin.

“We’re releasing a tentative schedule to give people plenty of time to make plans to go digging this fall,” said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager for WDFW.

State shellfish managers are also seeking public input on management options, including scheduling for spring digs. Comments on the spring digs can be sent via email to razorclams@dfw.wa.gov.

A summary of last season and an overview of the recently completed razor clam stock assessment is available via WDFW’s 2018-19 Razor Clam Management Plan at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/seasons_set.html.

Based on beach surveys conducted this summer, WDFW estimates the total razor clam population on most Washington’s beaches has increased significantly from last season, which means more days of digging this season. The exception is Long Beach, an area that is recovering after a decline in clam survival due to low salinity in winter 2017.

“The good news is that future digging opportunities look really great, with some opportunity even at Long Beach,” Ayres said. “This is shaping up to be a great season for digging on the coast.”

Proposed razor clam digs through December are listed below, along with evening low tides and beaches:

  • Oct. 11, Thursday, 8:58 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 12, Friday, 9:41 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Oct. 13, Saturday, 10:26 p.m.; +0.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 25, Thursday, 7:55 p.m.; -0.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Oct. 26, Friday, 8:36 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Oct. 27, Saturday, 9:19 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Oct. 28, Sunday, 10:08 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 8, Thursday, 6:57 p.m.; -0.8 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 9, Friday, 7:36 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 10, Saturday, 8:15 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 11, Sunday, 8:56 p.m.; 0.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 22, Thursday, 5:55 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Nov. 23, Friday, 6:36 p.m.; -1.1 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 24, Saturday, 7:20 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks
  • Nov. 25, Sunday, 8:05 p.m.; -1.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 6, Thursday, 6:01 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Dec. 7, Friday, 6:40 p.m.; -0.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 8, Saturday, 7:16 p.m.; -0.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Dec. 9, Sunday, 7:53 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 20, Thursday, 4:51 p.m.; -0.3 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 21, Friday, 5:35 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis
  • Dec. 22, Saturday, 6:20 p.m.; -1.4 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
  • Dec. 23, Sunday, 7:05 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Twin Harbors, Copalis

Skagit River to open June 16 for sockeye fishing

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE   
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov

May 10, 2018

Skagit River to open June 16 for sockeye fishing

Action: Opens part of the Skagit River (Skagit County) for the retention of sockeye salmon.

Effective dates: June 16 through July 15, 2018.

Species affected:  Sockeye salmon.

Location: Skagit River from Hwy. 536 at Mt. Vernon (Memorial Hwy. Bridge) to the mouth of Gilligan Creek.

Daily limit: 3 sockeye salmon only.

Reasons for action: This action will implement the 2018/19 salmon rules recently adopted during the North of Falcon salmon season-setting process. These dates are not listed in the current (2017/18) fishing rules pamphlet.

Other information: The season may close earlier than anticipated if the guideline is attained. Night closures are in place but selective gear rules will not be in effect for the sockeye fishery.

During the fishery, WDFW anticipates closing the Skagit River from the mouth to the Highway 530 Bridge at Rockport on specific days to avoid gear conflicts with tribal fisheries. When those dates have been determined, the department will announce the area closures through emergency rule changes, which can be found online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Please refer to the Baker sockeye webpage located at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/sockeye/baker_river.html for further information on sockeye seasons, fishing rule updates, and fish counts.

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

 

Anglers can keep 2 hatchery Chinook per day in Marine Area 9 beginning March 30

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE   
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
http://wdfw.wa.gov

March 27, 2018

Anglers can keep 2 hatchery chinook per day
in Marine Area 9 beginning March 30

Action: Increases the daily limit for salmon to two fish in Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet).

Effective Date: March 30 through April 15, 2018.

Species affected: Chinook salmon.

Location: Marine Area 9, excluding year-round fishing piers.

Reason for action: Preliminary estimates through March 18 indicate that the number of chinook retained or released by anglers is at 77 percent of the chinook encounter guideline of 11,053 fish for Marine Area 9. State fishery managers anticipate that sufficient encounters remain to allow the fishery to run through April 15as scheduled with a daily limit of two hatchery chinook. The changes to the chinook fishery are consistent with conservation objectives and agreed-to management plans.

Other information: Anglers must release coho and wild chinook. Weekly updates on the Marine Area 9 fishery can be found at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports_plants.html

For specific regulations, anglers should consult the 2017-18 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

Information contact: Mark Baltzell, (306) 902-2807.