OLYMPIA – The recreational salmon fishery in Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) will be closed for one day on Thursday, Jan. 29, and then will reopen on a schedule of Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week.
Fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) made the change after catch rates continued to be higher than anticipated in the San Juan Islands., said Ron Warren, policy lead for WDFW’s fish program.
“Anglers have been very successful fishing in the San Juan Islands in recent months, prompting us to reduce the number of days each week this fishery is open,” Warren said. “This step will help us meet our overall conservation objectives for stocks of concern throughout Puget Sound.”
Earlier this month, WDFW reduced the catch limit in the San Juan Islands to one salmon per day, down from two, in an effort keep the fishery open as long as possible. The agency is evaluating catch rates and impacts to wild chinook stocks throughout Puget Sound to determine whether further action will be necessary in the coming weeks.
As of Jan. 25, anglers had kept or released 15,625 chinook salmon since October in Puget Sound, not including Hood Canal and south Sound. The management guideline for chinook in Puget Sound is 31,813.
Starting Jan. 29, the area is closed to salmon fishing Monday through Thursday each week. The catch limit will remain at one salmon daily. Anglers are required to release wild chinook.
Anyone still hoping to fish for chinook salmon in nearby waters Monday through Thursday can head to marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 8-1 (Deception Pass), 8-2 (Port Susan) and 9 (Admiralty Inlet), which are scheduled to remain open into April.
Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline 360-902-2500 or the department’s website at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .