North Puget Sound
Fishing: June offers just about any type of fishing opportunity that an angler could hope for. Springtime fishing on area lakes remains great for trout, perch, bass, catfish and other species, while lingcod and halibut are still available in marine areas. Added to this already impressive lineup is the June 1 opening of fishing on rivers and streams for trout and other game fish. Under the statewide freshwater rule for trout, there is a two-fish daily limit and a minimum size of eight inches. However many of the region's streams have a rule requiring trout to be at least 14 inches in length to retain. Stream-caught rainbow trout that are 20 inches in length or longer are considered steelhead and must have a clipped adipose fin to retain, except on the Green River where anglers can retain one wild fish per year beginning July 1. There are still more options for anglers, including hatchery spring chinook fishing on stretches of the Skagit and Skykomish rivers beginning today (June 1). The Skagit is open to hatchery springer retention from the Highway 530 bridge at Rockport to the confluence with the Cascade River. The daily limit is two hatchery chinook at least 12 inches in length. The fishery is scheduled to run through July 8, but could close early if the catch guideline is met. Hatchery springer fishing on the Skykomish is open from the Lewis Street Bridge in Monroe to the confluence with the Wallace River with the same daily limits and minimum size as the Skagit fishery. Back on the saltchuck, the popular Tulalip Bay chinook salmon "bubble" fishery gets under way June 3 and runs through Sept. 27, except for a one-day closure on June 18. The fishery is open from Friday through noon on Monday of each week. There is a two-fish daily limit and chinook must be 22 inches in length to retain. Check page 112 of the sport fishing regulation pamphlet for details on the fishery boundaries. Anglers generally take two approaches when fishing the bubble. Trolling bait or lures behind a flasher and off a downrigger in the deeper "outside" portion of the bubble can produce good bites, and anglers whose boats are rigged with fish finders will have the definite advantage over the low-tech crowd. The second method used at the bubble is to jig a good-sized lure off the bottom. Lures weighing two to four ounces can be effective, particularly on an incoming tide. The northern portion of Marine Area 10 opens June 16 to catch-and-release fishing for salmon. Fishing will be allowed north of a line from Point Monroe to Meadow Point. All salmon must be immediately released unharmed. Fishing for non-spot shrimp, including pink and coonstripe shrimp, opened today (June 1) in marine areas 8, 9 and 11. The fishery is open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and runs on a daily basis until area species quotas have been harvested. There is a 150-foot maximum depth restriction during this fishery and a minimum mesh size of one-half inch. Shrimp heads can be removed, but the heads must be retained while in the field. Any spot shrimp must be released immediately, except on June 4 in Elliott Bay where enough of the recreational quota remains for a one-day fishery of all shrimp species. Fishing in Marine Area 10 will be allowed in waters east of a line from West Point to Alki Point. The daily limit in all of these fisheries is 10 pounds, heads and tails, of all shrimp species combined. For spot shrimp, the daily limit is a maximum of 80 spot shrimp (when retention is allowed). The minimum carapace size for spot shrimp is 1 3/16 inches - see page 134 of the "Fishing in Washington" sport fishing pamphlet for a diagram. Shrimp heads may be removed, but must be retained while in the field. Be sure to check the toll-free shellfish rule change hotline, at 1-866-880-5431, or online at wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm
before hitting the water. Don't forget that June 11-12 is "Free Fishing Weekend" throughout Washington. No fishing license is required, although catch record cards are required to fish for salmon, sturgeon, steelhead, Dungeness crab and halibut. All other rules apply, including area and lure or bait restrictions, plus size and catch limits.
South Sound/Olympic Peninsula
Fishing: River fishing, which opens today (June 1) statewide, means different things to different anglers. For some, the goal is to catch a few legal-size rainbow or cutthroat trout for dinner. Others see opening day as their first chance to resume their pursuit of a trophy steelhead. Either way, rivers throughout the region offer anglers some of the best fishing opportunities in the state, said Bill Freymond, manager of the regional WDFW fish program. "Whether you live in Forks or Olympia, you can find a good trout stream fairly close to home," Freymond said. "For summer steelhead, your best bet is to head for one of the rivers on the Olympic Peninsula planted each year with hatchery fish." Those rivers include the Wynoochee, Quillayute, Calawah, Sol Duc and Lyre - all of which open for fishing June 1. Anglers can also pick up some hatchery fish in the Hoh and Queets rivers, although success rates tend to pick up later in June and July, Freymond said. On most mainstem rivers, there is a minimum size limit of 14 inches and a daily bag limit of two fish for all trout, including marked hatchery steelhead, native cutthroat and native rainbow. Anglers must release any wild (unmarked) steelhead they catch before Dec. 1. In small streams, tributaries, streams and beaver ponds, the minimum size for trout is eight inches, with a daily bag of two fish. Anglers should check the WDFW Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet to determine the size limit that applies to the water they plan to fish, Freymond said. Also, when fishing with bait, anglers should be aware that all trout they catch (except steelhead) that meet or exceed the minimum size are counted as part of the daily limit, whether kept or released. At least one hatchery spring chinook has been taken on the Hoh River, with others sure to follow. Anglers should check the rules pamphlet for information on days that individual rivers are open to spring chinook fishing. All fisheries in the state will be open - even to those without a license - during b>Free Fishing Weekend, scheduled June 11-12 this year. All anglers will, however, be required to complete a catch record card for any salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, Dungeness crab or halibut they catch. On that score, halibut fishing is now closed for the year off Westport (Marine Area 2), but anglers have a number of other opportunities to hook a big flatfish. As of today (June 1), a majority of the quota in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) was still available, and halibut derby participants were batting one for five off Port Angeles during the last weekend in May. In addition, marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) will reopen for halibut from 12:01 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. June 16 and again on Saturday June 18 to pick up the remainder of the quota off the north coast. Meanwhile, the lingcod fishery remains good on the coast as well as in Puget Sound. Although fishing has been light, anglers have been picking up some good-sized lings as well as some chinook salmon off Point Defiance. Although Hood Canal and many other waters are now closed to spot shrimp fishing, several areas open today (June 1) to fishing for coonstripe shrimp and other non-spot species, including marine areas 8, 9 (outside the Port Townsend Shrimp District ) and 11 to a maximum depth of 150 feet. Fishing for non-spot shrimp will be open daily in the southern portion of the Port Townsend Shrimp District (south of a line from Kala Point to Walan Point) and the southern portion of the Discovery Bay Shrimp District (south of a line from Contractors to Tukey Point). Crab cakes anyone? The first three marine areas - 4 (Neah Bay), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (south Puget Sound) will open June 18 to sport crabbing seven days per week. Remember that the new bag limit is five male Dungeness crab per day, with a carapace width of at least 6¼ inches. Crabbers can also take up to six red rock crab per day, measuring at least 5 inches.
Fishing: It's shad season on the Columbia River. Although fishing effort was light through May, more than a half million shad passed The Dalles Dam by the end of the month, reports Pat Frazier, deputy regional fisheries manager. With 2-to 4-pound shad passing the dam at the rate of up to 100,000 per day, shad fishing is expected to be well worthwhile in the coming weeks, he said. Some of the best boat fishing spots are Pierce and Ives islands below Hamilton boat ramp on the Washington shore of the Columbia River. Bank fishing is best just below Bonneville Dam. Sturgeon fishing began slowly in the Columbia River estuary, with mid-May catch rates averaging one legal-size fish for every seven rods on private boats, and one legal sturgeon for every five rods on charter boats. Fishing is improving, Frazier said, with catch rates of one keeper for every 3.5 boat anglers near at the end of May. Upriver, sturgeon fishing has continued to improve as waters warm. In Bonneville Pool, 22 bank fishers kept two legal size fish and 26 boat fishers kept four legal fish. In The Dalles Pool, 19 boat anglers kept two legal fish. There are spring chinook to be had on the Grays and Elochoman rivers, which opened for hatchery spring chinook retention May 14 and remains open through the end of July. Grays River bank anglers have recently been averaging one hatchery spring chinook per rod. Hatchery summer-run steelhead are beginning to show in the lower Columbia and angling is best downstream from Longview. In late May, 114 bank anglers there kept 10 hatchery steelhead. In the tributaries spring chinook and steelhead are still available, and fishing conditions are good to excellent. On the Lewis River, 78 boat anglers kept seven adult hatchery chinook and five steelhead. On the Kalama River, 137 bank anglers kept 10 hatchery spring chinook salmon and seven hatchery steelhead, while 52 boat fishers kept two adult hatchery chinook and two hatchery steelhead. Above Bonneville Dam, Wind River bank anglers were finding adult spring chinook at the rate of 12 fish for 49 rods, while 16 boat fishers were checked with two adult spring chinook. On the Klickitat River, 20 bank fishers kept five chinook and five boat anglers were checked with four kept fish. Walleye fishers have plenty of opportunities to catch fish in The Dalles Pool, where 18 boat anglers kept 14 fish and released three. In John Day Pool, 28 boat anglers kept 14 walleye and released two fish. Meanwhile, 11 bass boat fishers kept six bass and released 44 in Bonneville Pool. In The Dalles Pool, eight boat anglers released 35 fish, and in John Day Pool, 16 boat anglers kept 13 bass and released 42. With seasonal rivers opening June 1, lots of catchable-size trout will be planted this month. "Fishing should be excellent" in all the region's recently planted rivers, said WDFW Biologist John Weinheimer. Skate Creek and Tilton River in Lewis County will be stocked throughout the summer with a total of 15,000 catchable rainbows each. Canyon Creek in Clark County is planted with several thousand catchable rainbow after the opener on U.S. Forest Service land near the town of Chelatchie. The Little White Salmon River above Willard is scatter-planted with several thousand catchable rainbow from Moss Creek Campground to Oklahoma Campground soon after the opener. For details on scheduled river trout plants see wdfw.wa.gov/fish/plant.../index.htm
on the WDFW website.
Fishing: This is the best time to try the Spokane arm of Lake Roosevelt for walleye, says WDFW district fish biologist Chris Donley. The lower stretch of the Spokane River at the mouth near Highway 25 bridge opened today (June 1) for walleye fishing with a daily catch limit of five and no more than one over 18 inches. The upper Spokane River, from Upriver Dam to the Idaho border, also just opened on the first for catch-and-release rainbow trout fishing, and Donley says there should be some nice-sized wild fish providing good action. Lake Roosevelt itself is a good bet throughout the month for trout, walleye, and kokanee. Long Lake, the reservoir off the Spokane River dam near Nine Mile Falls, is excellent now for crappie and both smallmouth and largemouth bass. Stevens County's Waitts Lake is producing beautiful, big brown trout. Lots of trout-stocked lakes up north in the region, many with U.S. Forest Service and other campgrounds, are coming into their own now as the season advances. Spokane-area anglers without time for such overnight or weekend outings can still find lots of good fishing at several local trout-stocked lakes. "You can't beat Williams, Amber, Badger, West Medical, Clear and Fishtrap lakes for great trout lake fishing," Donley said. Some of the larger Tucannon River impoundments in Columbia County are good choices for southeast Washington fishing families because they were recently re-stocked with catchable-size rainbows. Blue, Rainbow, Spring and Watson lakes all received more fish and should produce catches through the month. Portions of several southeast rivers and streams opened for trout fishing on the first, including Mill Creek, Touchet, Tucannon and Walla Walla rivers, but anglers should check the regulations pamphlet for restrictions.
North Central Washington:
Fishing: The Icicle River's spring chinook salmon season opened May 28, and WDFW district fish biologist Art Viola of Cashmere says don't count on it being as productive as in the past. "We've got about 5,000 fish returning to the Icicle, which is more than enough for both fishing and hatchery needs, but compared to past years, the run this year is down," Viola said, adding that about one third of the anticipated return had already passed into the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery. Fishing conditions were excellent on the Icicle over the long Memorial Day weekend when 20 boats and 15 shore anglers managed to take 11 springers from the fast-flowing stream. "Fishing is not spectacular, but the fish are there to be caught," Viola said, adding that the springers were averaging 10 to 12 pounds apiece. Expect rapidly falling stream flows to drop fishing success on the Icicle, which is open from 400 feet upstream of the mouth to 500 feet downstream of the hatchery rack. The daily catch limit is two salmon, with a minimum size of 12 inches. Night closure and non-buoyant lure restrictions are in effect. The season is open through July 31. Many rainbow trout waters in Chelan County, including Beehive Reservoir, Clear, Lily and Wapato lakes, will be stocked again this month to continue producing good catches. Trout fishing at Conconcully Lake and Reservoir in Okanogan County has been good and now comes with a bonus - glimpses of river otters that have figured out stringers of fish make easy meals. The phenomenon is new to Conconully, but not surprising since otter populations are healthy in the Sinlahekin watershed. WDFW enforcement officer John Danielson says anglers who don't appreciate losing some of their catch to otters need to either use cage stringers, or put their catch on ice in coolers, which is better for the table quality of the fish. Otters have also occasionally grabbed fish as they are reeled in near shorelines or docks. Danielson suggests anglers avoid patterns of repeated casting that otters may learn to anticipate. Viola said lake fishing has been excellent for crappie, bass, bluegill and walleye throughout the region.
South Central Washington:
Fishing: Rivers and streams open to trout fishing today (June 1), and are expected to produce good early season fishing because of abnormally low water flows. Higher elevation streams will produce cutthroat and lower elevation streams will generally produce rainbow trout, said Jim Cummins, WDFW fisheries biologist. Most rivers and streams have special fishing regulations, including low catch limits or catch and release and no fishing with bait. Good early season bets are the Naches River, Rattlesnake Creek, Taneum Creek, Naneum Creek and of course the year-round, catch-and-release trout fishery on the upper Yakima River. Check the fishing regulation pamphlet for any specific rules before wetting a line. Fishing for kokanee at Rimrock Reservoir, near White Pass is expected to be very good this summer. Recent reports indicate that fishing is good for 9- to 10-inch kokanee and a few nice rainbow and cutthroat trout. Cummins said anglers who trolled with a small spinner/maggot combination weighted with three ounces of lead produced limits over the Memorial Day weekend. Other boat anglers on the reservoir had success by anchoring up and fishing with maggots while chumming. Although success has been poor at Bumping, Cummins said kokanee fishing is expected to heat up in June, and continue to be good through the summer. Kachess, Keechelus and Cle Elum reservoirs are also good bets for kokanee. Some lower elevation alpine lakes are opening up early because of the low snowpack, offering a longer season of hike-in fishing opportunities. Cutthroat, rainbow and eastern brook trout are present in most lakes throughout the region. Cutthroat and rainbow are stocked as fry every few years in some lakes, while eastern brook and a number of cutthroat populations are reproducing in other lakes. Most named lakes have fish populations. Early season high lakes anglers should be prepared for muddy trails, patches of snow, weather changes and lots of mosquitoes. A fly-and-bubble combination with spinning gear, or spoons and spinners are good techniques in the mountain lakes. While most lakes have a five-fish daily limit, Cummins encourages anglers to harvest only what they will eat during their high lake fishing trip. Bass and channel catfish are hitting in the lower Yakima River, the Columbia River around the Tri Cities, and in the lower Snake River. Trout fishing for planted rainbow continues to be productive, but will slow as water temperatures increase, and planted trout populations decrease due to harvest. The I-82 ponds between Union Gap and Zillah are good bets for bass, crappie, bluegills and channel catfish. Anglers fishing for bass are reminded that the Yakima River has special slot limit regulations, and that the general statewide slot limit applies to most other waters. Enforcement officers have encountered a number of bass slot limit violations on the Yakima recently and are issuing citations, Cummins noted.
"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."