The sport spot fishery is always a huge draw and this past weekend was no exception especially in Elliott Bay and other places of Puget Sound.
In fact it was so good that the sport shrimp fishery will close after 3 p.m. May 3 in Central and North Puget Sound (Marine Catch Areas 9 and 10), which include the Edmonds and Seattle area shrimp fishing grounds.
State Fish and Wildlife said the spot shrimp sport catch quota has been reached in both areas.
If enough remains in the quota after May 3, Marine Area 10 (or a portion thereof) could reopen for one day later this month. Marine Area 11 is closed and won’t reopen.
Here is a rundown on what occurred during this past week’s openers:
North Puget Sound (Area 9) – Effort similar to last year – buoy count was 587 this year vs. 563 last year. Catches rates were better; 61.4 prawns/pot day vs. 48.9 last year. As usual this area had the smallest prawns outside of Hood Canal, averaging 13.2 count/pound. Reached quota in two days last year, will likely be the same this year, closes this Wednesday afternoon.
Central Puget Sound (Area 10) – Effort up from last year – counted 279 buoys, last year’s opener was 188 buoys. Catch rates were up; 61.4 prawns/pot vs. 46.3 last year. Was open three days last year, closes this Wednesday afternoon, but hopefully there will be enough quota remaining for at least another weekday opener.
Elliott Bay (Area 10) – Significantly higher effort here – counted 510 buoys, last year’s opener was 281 buoys. Catch rates were down a little; 55.6 prawns/pot day vs. 61.2 last year. Was open three days last year, it will be two days this year, closes this Wednesday afternoon.
Southcentral Puget Sound (Area 11) – The effort was up a little over last year – counted 478 buoys, last year’s Wednesday opener was 414 buoys. Catch rates were similar; 46.8 prawns/pot day vs. 45.7 last year. Even with the larger quota here since 2007 we still exceed the recreational share in one day. This area had the largest average prawn size prawns, barely beating out a couple other areas with an 11.1 count/pound.
San Juan Islands (Area 7) – Effort was way, way up over last year’s opener, probably mostly due to favorable tides (last year on the opener the tides were marginal) – counted 258 boats shrimping versus 92 last year – the tides make a huge difference in this area, effort and catch rates. The average number of pots fished per boat is a little over 3. As expected with the better tides, catch rates were better than last year, 59.1 prawns/pot day vs. 35.1 last year, and as usual the Iceberg area catch rates (64.4 prawns/pot day) were on average higher than the rest of Area 7.
Everett-Saratoga Passage area (Area 8) – Effort was up quite a bit from last year – counted 1183 buoys on opener, last year the count was 858 buoys. Catch rates were up, 58.6 prawns/pot day vs. 48.7 last year. Was open four days last year, probably will be three days this year.
Hood Canal (Area 12) – Effort was down slightly over last year – counted 1,358 boats shrimping versus 1,467 last year. This has been a trend over the past couple years, as Hood Canal seems to be the only area where daily fishing effort is actually slowly decreasing each year. Catch rates were close to last year; 61.6 prawns/pot day vs. 64.4 last year. As usual the average size was a bit smaller than the other areas – averaging 14.0 count/pound.