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.

 

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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.

Low returns expected to restrict Washington’s salmon fisheries

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

http://wdfw.wa.gov/

February 27, 2018

Contact: Kyle Adicks, 360-902-2664

Low returns expected to restrict Washington’s salmon fisheries

OLYMPIA – Projected poor returns of several salmon stocks are expected to limit fishing opportunities in Washington’s waters this year, state salmon managers announced today.

Forecasts for chinook, coho, sockeye, and chum salmon – developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty Indian tribes – were released during a public meeting in Olympia.

The forecast meeting marks the starting point for crafting 2018 salmon-fishing seasons in Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas. The annual salmon season-setting process is known as “North of Falcon.” Fishery managers have scheduled a series of public meetings through early April before finalizing seasons later that month.

Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for WDFW, said numerous salmon runs are expected to be lower this year compared to last season, including several key chinook and coho stocks. As a result, a number of fishing opportunities from Puget Sound south to the Columbia River will likely be restricted.

“We will definitely have to be creative in developing salmon fisheries this year,” Adicks said. “I encourage people to get involved and provide input on what they see as the priorities for this season’s fisheries.”

Adicks said the low salmon returns are the result of a variety of factors, including another year of poor ocean conditions.

The forecasts are based on varying environmental indicators, such as ocean conditions, as well as surveys of spawning salmon, and the number of juvenile salmon migrating to marine waters.

Columbia River

Roughly 236,500 “upriver brights” are expected to return to areas of the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam. That is down more than 50 percent from the most recent 10-year average. 

An estimated 286,200 coho are projected to return to the Columbia River this year, down nearly 100,000 fish from the 2017 forecast. About 279,300 actually returned last year to the river, where some coho stocks are listed for protection under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Some salmon fisheries in the Columbia River will likely be more restrictive than last year, Adicks said.

Washington’s ocean waters

A lower return of coho and chinook to the Columbia River, combined with a poor forecast of coho returning to the Queets River, will likely mean further restrictions to Washington’s ocean salmon fishery as compared to last year, Adicks said.

This year’s forecast of about 112,500 hatchery chinook expected to return to the Columbia River is down more than 50 percent from last year’s forecast. Those hatchery chinook, known as “tules” are the backbone of the recreational ocean fishery.

Puget Sound

The expected return of 557,150 Puget Sound coho is down about 6 percent from the 10-year average. Very low returns to certain areas, such as the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Snohomish River, could limit salmon fishing in those regions.

While the 2018 forecast of 227,400 Puget Sound hatchery chinook is up 38 percent from last year, continued low returns of ESA-listed wild chinook to some rivers will limit fisheries this year.

Conservation objectives

With the population of Puget Sound wild chinook in decline, salmon managers are working to finalize conservation goals for managing chinook fisheries in 2018.

“We’ll have a better idea of how restrictive Puget Sound salmon fisheries will be this year when NOAA provides its guidance in March,” Adicks said.

A 10-year management plan for harvesting Puget Sound chinook is being developed and will likely be submitted to NOAA Fisheries in late summer. More information on the plan can be found on the department’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/conservation/fisheries/chinook/, where WDFW will also post NOAA’s guidance for this year’s fisheries.

NOAA also may ask for additional restrictions on fisheries as the federal agency weighs conservation measures for southern resident killer whales, whose population has been declining along with salmon. State, tribal and federal fish and wildlife managers, together with their Canadian counterparts, are discussing how to recover the whale population. Some options include limiting fisheries, increasing hatchery production for salmon, improving water quality, and reducing boating activities in key killer whale habitat.

Salmon managers will continue to discuss the issue at upcoming meetings.

Also at those meetings, state salmon managers plan to discuss with the public ways to simplify salmon-fishing regulations. Anglers are invited to share ideas for making salmon fishing rules less complex during public meetings or by using an online commenting tool.

Public meetings and comment opportunities

A meeting schedule, salmon forecasts, and information about the salmon season-setting process are available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/. An online commenting tool will be available on the website later this week.

Upcoming meetings include:

  • Ocean options: State, tribal and federal fishery managers will meet March 9-14 in Rohnert Park, Calif., with the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) to develop options for this year’s commercial and recreational ocean chinook and coho salmon fisheries. The PFMC establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters 3 to 200 miles off the Pacific coast.
  • Regional discussions: Additional public meetings have been scheduled into April to discuss regional fishery issues. Input from these regional discussions will be considered as the season-setting process moves into the “North of Falcon” and PFMC meetings, which will determine the final 2018 salmon seasons.
  • Final PFMC: The PFMC is expected to adopt final ocean fishing seasons and harvest levels at its April 6-11 meeting in Portland, Ore. The 2018 salmon fisheries package for Washington’s inside waters is scheduled to be completed by the state and tribal co-managers during the PFMC’s April meeting.

Persons with disabilities who need to receive this information in an alternative format or who need reasonable accommodations to participate in WDFW-sponsored public meetings or other activities may contact Dolores Noyes by phone(360-902-2349), TTY (360-902-2207), or email (dolores.noyes@dfw.wa.gov). For more information, see http://wdfw.wa.gov/accessibility/reasonable_request.html.

WDFW approves 7 days of razor clam digging

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

January 24, 2018

Contact: Dan Ayres, (360) 249-4628

WDFW approves 7 days of razor clam digging

OLYMPIA – Seven days of razor clam digging will get underway beginning Sunday, Jan. 28, on various coastal beaches.

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

Four beaches will be open for digging on different days throughout the seven-day period, said Dan Ayres, coastal shellfish manager with WDFW.

“Not every beach is open every day – so folks need to be sure they know if the beach they are headed for is open,” Ayres said. “We’ve staggered the days various beaches are open to maximize the length of the opening.”

The best digging typically occurs one to two hours before low tide, said Ayres, noting that digging is not allowed at any beach before noon.

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

Jan. 28, Sunday, 4:06 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Mocrocks
Jan. 29, Monday, 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Copalis
Jan. 30, Tuesday, 5:47 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Jan. 31, Wednesday, 6:33 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 1, Thursday, 7:17 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 2, Friday, 8:00 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 3, Saturday, 8:42 p.m.; -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Under state law, diggers 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.

All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 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.

WDFW will review harvest levels after this opening and announce a tentative schedule for upcoming digs in the next few weeks, Ayres said.

For updates on upcoming openings, see WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html.

Public survey available on Puget Sound recreational fisheries enhancement program

Public survey available on Puget Sound
recreational fisheries enhancement program

OLYMPIA – One lucky person will win gift cards to a variety of local sportfishing businesses by taking a short survey on a state program established to enhance recreational fisheries in Puget Sound.

The survey is designed to gauge public understanding of the Puget Sound Recreational Salmon and Marine Fish Enhancement Program. The survey is available through March 31 on the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/about/advisory/psrfef/survey.html.

The program was created by the state Legislature in 1993 to improve and promote recreational fishing for Washington citizens and support sustainable populations of salmon and marine bottomfish in Puget Sound. The program is supported by revenue generated from the sales of certain fishing licenses.

Participants in the survey will be entered into a random drawing, which will take place in April. The winner will be awarded a total of $200 in gift cards from sportfishing businesses.

Information from the survey will help state fishery managers shape future fishing opportunities, said Ryan Lothrop, Puget Sound recreational salmon fishery manager for the department.

“This is a short survey designed to give us a better idea of people’s understanding of the program and where our efforts should be focused in the future,” Lothrop said. “We are looking at how best to improve recreational fisheries in this state, particularly in Puget Sound, and our efforts to introduce people to sportfishing.”

Tokul Creek to open early for hatchery steelhead and other gamefish

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

December 20, 2017

Tokul Creek to open early for hatchery steelhead and other gamefish

Action: Open Tokul Creek from the Fish Hatchery Road Bridge to the posted boundary marker downstream of the diversion dam fish ladder for trout and other gamefish.

Effective dates: 7 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 23, 2017, through Feb. 15, 2018.

Species affected: Trout, hatchery steelhead and other game fish.

Location: Tokul Creek from the Fish Hatchery Road Bridge upstream to the posted boundary marker below the diversion dam fish ladder.

Rules: Tokul Creek is closed to fishing daily from 5 p.m. 7 a.m. Anti-snagging rules are in effect.

Reasons for action: This section of Tokul Creek is closed in the permanent regulations until Jan.15 to allow for winter steelhead broodstock collection at the Tokul Creek Hatchery. The Tokul Creek Hatchery facility has met those egg take goals for winter steelhead, allowing for expanded fishing opportunity in Tokul Creek.

Other information: Tokul Creek remains open from the mouth to the downstream edge of the Fish Hatchery Road Bridge as listed in the fishing rules pamphlet. Tokul Creek will close to fishing Feb. 16, 2018, to protect wild steelhead.

Information contact: WDFW Mill Creek Office, 425-775-1311

WDFW plans first razor clam digs of 2018, starting New Year’s Day

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

December 13, 2017
Contact: Dan Ayres, WDFW, (360) 249-4628

WDFW plans first razor clam digs of 2018, starting New Year’s Day

OLYMPIA – State shellfish managers have proposed the first round of razor clam digs in 2018, starting with the addition of New Year’s Day on two beaches followed by a weeklong dig extending from late January into early February.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will confirm that schedule prior to each dig, provided that upcoming marine toxin tests show the clams are safe to eat.

Under WDFW’s plan, Twin Harbors and Mocrocks beaches will open for digging at noon Jan. 1, extending a dig previously scheduled for New Year’s Eve dig at four ocean beaches. Starting Jan. 28, WDFW then plans to open various beaches for razor-clam digging through Feb. 3.

No digging will be allowed at any beach before noon.

Dan Ayres, WDFW coastal shellfish manager, said the Jan. 1 opening is designed to give families a chance to ring in the new year digging clams on the beach.

“We know that digging razor clams is a New Year’s tradition for many families and we want to help them keep tradition alive,” Ayres said.

That and other digs are proposed on the following beaches, dates and evening low tides:

Dec. 31, Sunday, 5:12 p.m.; -1.2 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis, Mocrocks (previously announced and pending final toxin results)
Jan. 1, Monday, 6:02 p.m.; -1.7 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Jan. 28, Sunday, 4:06 p.m.; -0.4 feet; Mocrocks
Jan. 29, Monday, 4:59 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Copalis
Jan. 30, Tuesday, 5:47 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Jan. 31, Wednesday, 6:33 p.m.; -1.6 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 1, Thursday, 7:17 p.m.; -1.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
Feb. 2, Friday, 8:00 p.m.; -1.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 3, Saturday, 8:42 p.m.; -0.4; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
All diggers age 15 or older must have an applicable 2017-18 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. Each digger’s clams must be kept in a separate container.

For updates on upcoming openings, see WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/razorclams/current.html

Cowlitz, Green, North Fork Toutle rivers will close to chinook salmon fishing

johns_river_31

 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Starting Oct. 2, anglers will be required to release any chinook salmon they intercept on the Cowlitz, Green and North Fork Toutle rivers due to low returns of hatchery chinook.

State fishery managers at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) said the closures are necessary to ensure that enough fall chinook return to those rivers to support hatchery production during the coming year.

All three rivers will remain open to retention of other fish species, as listed in the 2017 Sport Fishing Rules.

“This was a tough decision for fishery managers, but we can’t ignore the lagging chinook returns,” said Dan Rawding, acting WDFW regional fish manager. “We have to think about producing fish for next year too.”

According to the pre-season forecast, 3,900 hatchery fall chinook were expected to cross Barrier Dam this year, with a goal of collecting 1,900 fish for hatchery broodstock. So far, only 700 chinook have returned to the river, and Rawding said fish managers are now hoping to get 1,400 back to the hatchery.

The Cowlitz River remains open to fishing for coho salmon, summer steelhead, and sea-run cutthroat trout.

On the Green River, only 400 chinook have been collected this year out of an expected return of 1,000 hatchery fish. The broodstock goal is 800 fish at the hatchery, which produces chinook returning to the Green and North Toutle rivers.

Two other large Columbia River tributaries – the Kalama and the Washougal – will remain open to fishing for chinook salmon. There, too, chinook returns are lower than expected, but fishery managers still expect to meet hatchery broodstock goals on those rivers, Rawding said.

Rawding said WDFW will continue to monitor salmon returns in area rivers, and will consider reopening rivers to chinook fishing if returns improve in the coming weeks.

More information about these rule changes can be found on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/