WDFW – With recreational salmon fishing now open in Washington’s ocean waters, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) is clarifying the rules for individual marine areas, as well as asking anglers to help ensure accurate catch estimates by cooperating with fish checkers at landing sites.
“We had a great, busy first weekend on the water,” said Wendy Beeghley, a fishery manager with WDFW. “But any time there’s a busy opener like this, anglers often ask us for some clarification of the rules, and we wanted to reiterate these regulations to help clear up any potential confusion.”
Coastwide, anglers cannot fish in an area if they have a catch on board that is not legal to retain in that area. For example, it is illegal to have salmon aboard while fishing in an area closed to salmon fishing, even if you caught the salmon elsewhere. Single-point barbless hooks are required in all marine areas while fishing for salmon.
The regulations for individual coastal marine areas are as follows:
Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco)
Marine Area 2 (Westport)
Marine Area 3 (LaPush)
Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay)
Ports are likely to be busy with more sunny days in the forecast, and Beeghley noted that port samplers in areas such as Sekiu are collecting data as anglers exit the docks. Anglers can help conservation efforts by bringing their full salmon or salmon carcasses off the boat and stopping at the marked sampling site atop the docks.
“Basically, we’re asking people to bring their whole salmon or at least the carcasses with heads intact to the checkers,” Beeghley said. “We need to scan salmon snouts as folks exit the dock area, and samplers will ask anglers a couple of questions, even if they didn’t catch fish.”
Samplers are also following protocol to help prevent the spread of COVID-19; please provide adequate physical distancing for everyone’s protection.
Anglers can always find the latest emergency regulations at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/, or download the Fish Washington app for their smartphone at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/app. The 2020-21 edition of the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, which covers regulations from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021, will be available later this month.