North Puget Sound
Fishing: The wait is on in both the marine areas and the rivers for the bulk of the ocean coho salmon return, which is expected to enter the Puget Sound region in larger numbers over the next few weeks.
"Fishing has been slow to fair with a mix of resident coho and an occasional ocean silver," said Steve Thiesfeld, a WDFW fish biologist. "But the coho catch recently picked up in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, so we could see more and more of those ocean fish make their way into Sound in the coming weeks."
Once those fish arrive, Point No Point, Jefferson Head, Possession Bar and Shipwreck should be good spots to hook ocean coho, Thiesfeld said. Anglers fishing those areas - or other waters of marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) - have a daily limit of two salmon but must release chinook. In Marine Area 10, anglers also must release chum salmon through Sept. 15. In Marine Area 9, anglers must release wild coho - identified by an intact adipose fin - through Sept. 15 and chum through Sept. 30.
Marine areas 7 (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) also are open for salmon, but fishing continues to be slow in those three areas, said Thiesfeld.
Meanwhile, crabbing in the region is still an option but the opportunity is limited. Only the northern and eastern portions of Marine Area 7 remain open for crab. Those two portions are open Wednesdays through Saturdays each week through Sept. 30. The region's other marine areas are closed for a catch assessment.
Crabbers are reminded that their summer catch record cards are due to WDFW by Sept. 15 and must be returned whether or not the cardholder caught or fished for crab during the season. Completed cards can be mailed in or recorded online. Additional information on the fishery is available on the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelf...crabindex.
In the freshwater, fishing has been spotty for most anglers, who are waiting for coho to push into the rivers. Portions of several rivers in the region, including the Skykomish, Skagit and Snoqualmie, are open for salmon fishing.
A portion of the Green (Duwamish) River also is open, and there have been a few reports of anglers hooking chinook. The Green is open from Tukwila International Blvd. to I-405. Anglers fishing that stretch have a daily limit of six salmon, only one of which may be a chinook, and no more than three adults. Beginning Sept. 16, anglers can also fish from the 1st Ave. South Bridge to Tukwila International Blvd., but must release chinook along that stretch of the river.
Elsewhere, Lake Sammamish is open, with a daily limit of four salmon measuring at least 12 inches. Anglers can keep up to two chinook but must release all sockeye. Salmon fishing is closed within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek. Lake Sammamish's larger neighbor, Lake Washington, opens Sept. 16 to coho fishing. Anglers will be allowed four coho per day (minimum size 12 inches) from waters north of the Highway 520 Bridge and east of the Montlake Bridge.
Before heading out to the rivers, or out on the Sound, anglers should check the rules and regulations for fisheries in WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm).
South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
Fishing: The salmon season is winding down on the coast, but anglers are catching lots of coho off Sekiu as the fish move through the Strait of Juan de Fuca and into Puget Sound. Creel checks in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) over the Labor Day weekend showed an average catch of nearly one hatchery coho per person.
"Fishing for coho generally picks up after Labor Day," said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW fish biologist. "With the catch rates we've been seeing lately, the fish are definitely coming through."
Thiesfeld said people might want to weigh their decision to fish now or later in the month when they're able to keep wild coho as part of their daily two-fish limit. The non-selective coho fishery in Marine Area 5 opens Sept. 16-30.
They can also try their luck in the annual "No Fin, You Win" coho salmon derby, which will be held Saturday, Sept. 6 at Sekiu. The first prize is 50 percent of ticket sales, second prize is 20 percent, and third prize is 10 percent. The $10 entry fee can be purchased at any local resort, or call 360-963-2311 for details. Last year, 581 anglers entered the derby with a first prize payout of $2,905.
Along the coast, salmon fishing is open seven days a week in several areas. "While there wasn't a lot of coho, the chinook fishing was pretty good all season," said Wendy Beeghley. "Now as the fishery winds down, we're seeing fewer chinook, which is normal for this time of year," she said.
Salmon fishing is scheduled to close Sept. 13 at Westport (Marine Area 2), La Push (Marine Area 3) and the inner portion of Neah Bay (Marine Area 4B). Salmon fishing is already closed in Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and in the ocean waters off Neah Bay.
Meanwhile, the salmon fishery east of Buoy 13 in Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2-2) will be open seven days a week Sept. 16 through Nov. 30, while a portion of the La Push fishery will be open daily Sept. 20 through Oct. 5. Willapa Bay remains open for salmon fishing until Jan. 31. Anglers are advised to check the Fishing in Washington pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm) for specific regulations in each area and details on boundaries.
Those planning to launch their boats in South Bend are advised of an error in the Willapa River listing in the Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet. The boat launch referenced as the downstream boundary for the Willapa River fishery is operated by Pacific County, not WDFW. For that reason, anglers using that facility should be prepared to pay a launch fee.
Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles) remains open for retention of hatchery coho. Anglers are reminded that handling rules are in effect and that all chum, chinook and wild coho must be released.
In Puget Sound anglers are starting to see the transition from chinook to coho, said Thiesfeld. "Chinook are tapering off but mid-September is generally good for coho in Hood Canal and southern Puget Sound," he said. Thiesfeld reminded anglers that all of Hood Canal is now open for salmon fishing, but only coho may be retained north of Ayock Point.
The Puyallup River system is a popular fishing spot right now for chinook and coho, said Hal Michael, WDFW fish biologist. "There are quite a few fish and lots of effort," he said. Anglers fishing the Carbon River, which opened Sept. 1, are finding chinook while, the mainstem of the Puyallup is producing coho, Michael said. The Puyallup opened Aug. 16. Michael reminded anglers to check the Fishing in Washington pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm) for fishing and retention rules.
Low and clear water have made it tough for anglers fishing the Quillayute system on the northern Olympic Peninsula, said David Low, WDFW fish biologist. "There are summer steelhead and coho in the rivers, but anglers need to be careful when they're fishing in these conditions because the fish get spooked easily," Low said.
Anglers fishing in the Quillayute system, which includes the Bogachiel, Sol Duc, Calawah and Dickey rivers, can keep two wild chinook as part of their limit of three adult fish. The total daily limit is six fish; all wild adult coho must be released.
Anglers on the Hoh River can keep two adult salmon as part of their six-fish daily limit, but must release all wild chinook from the Oxbow Campground boat launch to Willoughby Creek. Check the Fishing in Washington pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm) for specific regulations throughout the region.
In addition to the Carbon River, several rivers and creeks around the region opened to salmon fishing Sept. 1, including the Copalis River, Van Winkle Creek and Joe Creek in Grays Harbor County; the Bear and Niawiakum rivers in Pacific County; McLane Creek in Thurston County and Clearwater River in Jefferson County.
Meanwhile, the Dungeness crab fishery remains open in marine areas 7E and 7N (east and north of the San Juan Islands) Wednesdays through Saturdays each week through Sept. 30. Three other marine areas - 4 and 5 in the Strait of Juan de Fuca and 13 in southern Puget Sound - are scheduled to remain open seven days per week through Jan. 2.
Marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 South (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass to East Point), 8-2 (East Point to Possession Point), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal) closed to crabbing Sept. 1.
Recreational crabbers who were licensed to fish for crab in Puget Sound are reminded that they have until Sept. 15 to report their summer's catch to WDFW - whether or not they fished or were successful in catching Dungeness crab during the season. Completed cards can be mailed in or information reported online. Additional information is available on the WDFW website at wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelf...crabindex.
Those who file their catch reports by the deadline will be entered in a drawing for one of 10 free 2009 combination fishing licenses, which allow the holder to fish for a variety of freshwater and saltwater species.
Fishing: Now that the Buoy 10 fishery is closed for the season, hundreds of Columbia River anglers have moved upriver to fish for salmon - including chinook - from Rocky Point/Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam. Fishing started fairly slow Sept. 1, but could pick up quickly in the days ahead if past years are any indication.
"The bite can pick up fast, because the run tends to move through that part of the river fairly quickly," said Wolf Dammers, a WDFW fish biologist. "Anglers who don't want to miss the peak of the run are advised to get a line in the water sooner rather than later."
Creel checks conducted during the second day of the fishery indicated catch rates of about one salmon - most of them chinook - for every one to two boats, Dammers said. Most boats, and there were plenty of them, were concentrated between Longview and Washougal, he said.
Through Sept. 16, anglers fishing between Rocky Point and Bonneville Dam may retain two adult salmon - of which only one may be a chinook - as part of their six-salmon daily limit. After Sept. 16, only hatchery coho may be retained in that part of the river.
Dammers reminds anglers that all chinook must be released this year on the mainstem Columbia River in the eight-mile fall chinook sanctuary area near the mouth of the Lewis River. That area is defined on page 79 of the Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm).
Several tributaries to the Columbia River also opened for chinook fishing Labor Day. On the Elochoman River, anglers may now retain up to two adult chinook as part of their daily salmon catch limit. On the Toutle River System, which includes the North Fork Toutle and the Green River in Cowlitz County, anglers may retain one chinook per day.
Including hatchery coho, the daily catch limit on those rivers is six fish per day, of which four may be adults. Anglers may retain any adult chinook, but must release any chinook jacks not marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin. Areas of those rivers open to retention of chinook are:
Elochoman River from the mouth to the West Fork.
Mainstem Toutle River from the mouth to the confluence of the North and Southfork Toutle.
North Fork Toutle River from the mouth to the deadline below the Fish Collection Facility.
Green River (Cowlitz County) from the mouth to the 2800 Bridge.
Salmon fishing also opened Sept. 1 on the Grays River (including the West Fork), but chinook caught there may be retained only if they have a clipped adipose and/or ventral fin. For more information on that fishery, check the Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet at wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm.
Anglers should also be aware of new rules adopted during the North of Falcon season-setting process to conserve chinook salmon in those and several other area tributaries, including:
Lewis River: Anglers are required to release all chinook salmon intercepted on the Lewis River, where wild chinook returns are expected to reach only about half of the 5,700-fish escapement goal. The requirement to release chinook is in effect in the Lewis River, the North Fork Lewis River and in the chinook sanctuary area on the mainstem Columbia River noted above. Fishing for hatchery coho and hatchery steelhead remains open, but fishing from boats is prohibited on the North Fork Lewis from Johnson Creek upstream to Merwin Dam to minimize chinook handling.
Cowlitz River: Anglers must continue to release all chinook - except marked, hatchery-reared jacks - because hatchery returns are not expected to meet management goals. Anglers may still retain hatchery steelhead and hatchery coho caught in both rivers.
Kalama, Washougal, Wind and White Salmon rivers, plus Drano Lake: Anglers may retain any adult chinook salmon on all or part of these waters, but must release any wild, unmarked chinook jacks they encounter. For specific area boundaries, see the Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm).
In addition, the lower portion of Mill, Abernathy, Germany, and Coal creeks and Coweeman River will be closed to all fishing in September and October to protect spawning fall chinook.
Fishing: Chris Donley, WDFW central district fish biologist, said this is a great time to seek out panfish by working flies, lures or bait around the margins of weed beds in many local mixed-species fishing lakes. "Try Bonnie, Downs, Eloika and Long lakes in Spokane County for perch, crappie and bass," Donley said. "Rock Lake in Whitman County has some nice bass, too."
Donley also recommended hitting Loon Lake in Stevens County and Horseshoe and Sullivan lakes in Pend Oreille County for the last of good kokanee fishing. "Kokanee will be spawning in October, so now's the time to catch them."
Most of the best-producing rainbow and cutthroat trout lakes in the region close at the end of September, so Donley also advises taking in a trout trip or two. Amber, Badger, Williams, West Medical and Fishtrap are still producing well.
Donley reminded trout anglers that Sprague Lake is in excellent shape now, with water temperatures down, algae growth dying, water clarity good and early fall hatches of insects drawing fat rainbows to the surface.
Snake River steelheading just got under way Sept. 1, so there's no data on catch rates yet. But forecasts called for abundant early runs, and the mouths of tributaries like the Tucannon and Grande Ronde, and the confluence with the Clearwater on the Idaho border, are expected to be hot. Steelheaders are reminded that the daily trout catch limit of six fish includes up to three hatchery-marked steelhead (healed scar at clipped adipose or ventral fin) and barbless hooks are required.
North Central Washington:
Fishing: Salmon fishing on the mainstem Columbia River has slowed considerably in the last week with a few catches of chinook being reported. Most of the success has been located near the Bridgeport area of the river. The fishery will remain open until Oct 15th.
Good catches of rainbow trout were reported for three Methow Valley lakes on the Sept. 1 opener. Davis, Campbell, and Cougar lakes are now open for catch and keep trout fishing. There is a five-fish limit and the use of bait is permitted. Anglers should be aware that when using bait the first five fish caught count as part of the daily limit whether kept or released.
During September, as the water cools down, selective gear lakes in Okanogan County will start to pick up as well. Big Twin (Winthrop) and Blue (Sinlahekin) lakes should both be good bets for rainbow up to 16 inches. Chopaka Lake above the town of Loomis should also be good for rainbow trout to 15 inches. Chopaka is a fly-fishing only lake.
Salmon are returning to the Wenatchee River system and that means it will soon be time for the 18th annual award-winning Wenatchee River Salmon Festival in Leavenworth. This year's event is Sept. 18 - 21, with the first two days devoted to school groups. The festival is based at the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery and features salmon and other wildlife watching at the hatchery and in the stream, plus a lot more. There are nature-related art and craft booths, "recycled" salmon sculpture, an animal costume parade, the amazing salmon maze, a Native American encampment, outdoor recreation exhibits and hands-on educational activities. Call (509) 548-6662 for more information, or see www.salmonfest.org/.
South Central Washington:
Fishing: High lake trout fishing is excellent this month says Jim Cummins, WDFW fish biologist. Rainbow, westslope cutthroat and eastern brook trout generally will hit small spinners or flies, he said. Most lakes can be fished from the bank, but anglers may want to consider taking a light-weight inflatable raft or float tube for large lakes and lakes with extensive shallow water near shore. Be sure and take a personal flotation device.
Rimrock Reservoir has been providing excellent kokanee fishing with fish up to 10 inches, Cummins said. "Fish in the top 20 feet of water early and late in the day and deeper during mid-day hours," he said. Trolling with a wedding ring spinner and hook baited with maggots has been the most productive method. Cummins noted the other Yakima Basin reservoirs also have kokanee, but with the possible exception of Bumping, none are as productive as Rimrock. The water level at Lake Cle Elum in the fall makes launching trailered boats difficult if not impossible. Kachess Lake has been slow.
Fishing in rivers and streams should also be productive for trout anglers, Cummins said. "Rainbow at the lower to mid-elevation streams and west slope cutthroat trout in the higher elevation steams - most in the eight to 10-inch range - are often best caught-and-released with fly-fishing gear," he said.
Most streams in the region have special regulations, including the requirement to use single barbless hooks and no bait. A few areas are closed to protect bull trout and spawning spring chinook salmon, such as a 10.4-mile stretch of the American River from the Hwy. 410 bridge downstream of Hells Crossing campground upstream to the Mesatchee Creek trail crossing (USFS Trail No. 969). This American River section re-opens for fishing, after the bull trout have completed spawning, on Sept. 16 for cutthroat and eastern brook trout extending through the end of the regular season on Oct 31. Check the fishing regulations pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm) for all details.
"This is a reproduction of a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife document and is not the official document or regulations of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. The accuracy of the reproduction cannot be guaranteed by WDFW."