The recreational fishing community received a surprise toward the end of the month of August. Due to a computer glitch, anglers were able to fish all Washington waterways free of charge. This surprise worked in favor of anglers.
Let’s hope there are no surprises that work in the opposite direction for the balance of the current fishing season. In terms of Coastal Rivers, the Hoh River is the only stream that obtained a pamphlet correction. The Aug. 1 date was changed to the Sept. 1 date. All other provisions remain the same.
It should also be noted that the current regulations have included a new ruling pertaining to hatchery steelhead on many rivers. The rule simply states that a mandatory Hatchery Steelhead Retention is in effect where noted in the regulations. At these locations, the catch and release of hatchery steelhead is not allowed. These fish must be retained if legal to do so. This provision is to increase the survival rate of steelhead in the determined rivers.
Currently, the attention is turning to salmon fishing. Some have been focused on Marine Area 2-2 site one which is largely the Humptulips North Bay Fishery. At this location, anglers are able to keep two fish but all wild coho must be released. Of course, the Willapa Bay (area 2-1) has been in full swing since Aug. 1. Anglers are loving this fishery because up to four adult may be retained with the exclusion of wild Chinook. A two pole endorsement is also available for anglers purchasing this option.
In terms of our local streams, the Humptulips River has opened Sept. 1. Two adults may be retained and only one may be wild Chinook. All wild coho must be released. The Chehalis River has also opened as of Aug. 1. A two pole endorsement is now available on this waterway. On Sept. 16, a rule change will occur. One adult salmon may be retained, however all wild Chinook and coho must be released. Anglers should pay close attention to the regulations to determine the rules for different sections of the river because they do change.
The Satsop River is due to open Sept. 16 to the retention of one adult salmon. All wild kings and silvers will need to be released. Again, these are different rules for different segments of the river, so anglers will need to be mindful of their location and retention rules.
The Wynooche River is set to open on Oct. 1 for salmon. It will primarily be a hatchery coho fishery for the duration of the season.
We are at the stage of different start ups for different rivers. Most anglers will figure this out quite easily. Fishers generally have a favorite stream and when it opens, they make a strong effort to be at that site. Anglers will know the dates for their river of choice.
There are two clues of fishing productivity. The first has to do with observing the fishing traffic at various rivers. The second has to do with depleting fishing gear at retailers. These are sure signs that salmon fishing is well under way.