State fishery managers approved the new limit – down from two fish per day – to control the fishery’s impacts on stocks of concern.
“Fishing was really good in December,” said Ryan Lothrop, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 must release any chinook not specifically marked with a clipped adipose fin, signifying it as a hatchery fish.
Since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline of 7,775 total chinook encounters during the fishery. According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 4,060 chinook salmon in Marine Area 7 as of Dec. 28.
“We’re taking this step now in an effort to keep the fishery open as long as possible while staying within our conservation objectives,” Lothrop said.
WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 7 through April 30, when it is scheduled to close. The fishery could close prior to April 30 if the guideline is met.
Lothrop reminds anglers that Bellingham Bay and Samish Bay will be closed to salmon fishing for the month of April.
Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .