Fishing sizzles in July for salmon, steelhead, crab, trout, other gamefish.
Summer fishing seasons are now in full swing, requiring anglers to make some tough decisions about how to spend their time on the water. Salmon, steelhead, crab, trout, bass and walleye – all are now available for harvest in various waters around the state.
But for thousands of anglers, nothing beats the thrill of reeling in a big chinook salmon. Many are doing just that as waves of chinook move south along the Washington coast, then east into Puget Sound, coastal streams and the Columbia River.
“Fishing for both chinook salmon and hatchery coho should improve off the coast right through the month,” said Doug Milward, ocean salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “The same is true for Puget Sound and other inside waters.”
Six marine areas of Puget Sound open to salmon fishing July 1, joining other salmon fisheries already in progress. Various westside rivers, including the Bogacheil, Calawah and Nisqually, also open for salmon fishing that day, and Baker Lake in Whatcom County opens for sockeye salmon July 10.
Summer steelhead are another option – notably in Columbia River and many of its tributaries – where 339,200 adult fish are expected to move upriver in the coming weeks. As always, anglers are required to release any wild, unmarked steelhead they intercept in the fishery, which extends from the mouth of the Columbia to the Canadian Border.
Rather catch some crab? All but one marine area in Puget Sound will open for crab fishing July 1. The exception is Marine Area 7, where the crab fishery opens July 15 in the area’s southern portion (San Juan Islands/Bellingham) and Aug. 15 in the northern portion (Gulf of Georgia).
Crab fishing has been hot so far! Opening day we had 18 keepers in one pot out of Potlach state park on Hoods Canal. Also, on 7/4 two boats with five on one and 3 on the other amounted to 8 limits in 1 hour in the South Sound.
The crab fishery in all marine areas of Puget Sound will be open Thursday through Monday of each week. The season will get under way with a one-day opening (July 1), and will be closed July 2-3 before reopening on its regular weekly schedule Thursday, July 4.
Here are the numbers for the 2013 coastal salmon fishery as of July 4, 2013 updated.
June 22-23: 968 anglers caught 715 Chinook for 0.74 fish per rod, and 809 hatchery coho for 0.84 fish per rod and 1.57 total per rod average; and June 24-30: 2,364 anglers caught 683 Chinook (14.1 percent of Chinook quota of 9,900) for 0.29 fish per rod, and 2,607 hatchery coho (9.1 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 37,380) for 1.10 fish per rod and 1.39 total per rod average.
June 23: 694 anglers caught 215 Chinook for 0.31 fish per rod, and 173 hatchery coho for 0.25 fish per rod and 0.56 total per rod average; and June 24-30: 899 anglers caught 274 Chinook (2.1 percent of Chinook quota of 23,500) for 0.30 fish per rod, and 202 hatchery coho (1.4 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 27,660) for 0.22 fish per rod and 0.53 total per rod average.
June 29-30: 123 anglers caught 64 Chinook (3.9 percent of Chinook quota of 1,650) for 0.52 fish per rod, and 55 hatchery coho (2.9 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 1,890) for 0.45 fish per rod and 0.99 total per rod average.
June 29-30: 887 anglers caught 342 Chinook (7.0 percent of Chinook quota of 4,900) for 0.39 fish per rod, and 218 hatchery coho (2.8 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 7,780) for 0.25 fish per rod and 0.66 total per rod average.
COASTWIDE HATCHERY CHINOOK FISHERY
May 10-11: 629 anglers caught 72 hatchery chinook for 0.11 fish per rod average (0.9 percent of the total catch quota); May 17-18: 347 anglers caught 136 hatchery chinook for 0.18 fish per rod average (1.7 percent of the total catch quota); June 8-9: 762 anglers caught 208 chinook; June 10-16: 3,511 anglers caught 1,272 for 0.36 fish per rod average (20.2 percent of the total catch quota); June 17-23: 2,648 anglers caught 1,082 Chinook for 0.41 fish per rod average (33.7 percent of the total catch quota); June 24-28: 460 anglers caught 101 Chinook for 0.22 fish per rod average (35.0 percent of the total catch quota).
COASTWIDE ALL-SPECIES SALMON FISHERY
June 22-23: 1,662 anglers caught 929 Chinook (2.3 percent of Chinook quota of 40,000) for 0.56 fish per rod, and 982 hatchery coho (1.3 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 74,760) for 0.59 fish per rod and 1.15 total per rod average;
June 24-30: 4,273 anglers caught 1,363 Chinook (5.7 percent of Chinook quota of 40,000) for 0.32 fish per rod, and 3,082 hatchery coho (5.4 percent of the hatchery coho quota of 74,760) for 0.72 fish per rod and 1.05 total per rod average.