Tentative fishing season set
May 13, 2021
Despite a strong projected coho return to the state’s ocean waters, this year’s Washington salmon seasons largely reflect continued low runs of some wild Chinook and coho stocks, especially in Puget Sound, state fishery managers announced April 15.
The state's 2021-22 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were tentatively set April 15 at the end of a week-long Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting held via webinar.
"These are difficult times for salmon in Washington, which means it’s also a difficult time for fishing,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “Fortunately, there should still be some good opportunities available to anglers throughout the state. We’ll be monitoring returns closely to make sure we’re staying within our conservation objectives, and modify fisheries as needed.”
Season recommendations now move forward for approval by the National Marine Fisheries Service and final rulemaking, including additional opportunity for public comment and consideration of those comments.
Many Columbia River fisheries are expected to offer expanded opportunity compared to 2020, beginning with an opportunity to retain sockeye and hatchery Chinook from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to Highway 395 in Pasco starting in mid-June.
The lower river from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 bridge in Pasco is planned for an Aug. 1 opening for both Chinook and coho; Buoy 10 didn’t open until Aug. 14 last year. A strong coho forecast and increased Chinook run size should provide for good fishing opportunities.
Washington's ocean waters
Initial ocean fisheries reflect increased coho quotas due to significantly higher projected returns of Columbia River coho in 2021; however, low projections for Washington coastal coho limited quotas there, particularly on the north coast.
All four of Washington's marine areas are scheduled to open June 19 for a Chinook-only fishery, then transition to a Chinook and coho fishery beginning June 27 in Westport and Ilwaco, and beginning July 4 in Neah Bay and La Push. Daily limits and days of the week open to salmon fishing vary between areas.
Additional information about this year's sport salmon fisheries and the North of Falcon process can be found on WDFW's website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/nof. Visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations to see statewide fishing regulations and download the latest fishing rules pamphlet, and https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for emergency rule changes that may impact fisheries.