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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

July 30, 2010 at 5:29 PM

Inner-Elliott Bay chinook fishery closes after this weekend due to poor chinook returns

There was feeling in the air since the inner-Elliott Bay chinook fishery started on July 2 that it wasn’t going to live up to expectations this summer.

As each weekend went by catches in the sport fishery never amounted to much, nor did the tribal test fishery held on each of the past three Wednesdays.

Thus a decision was made by state Fish and Wildlife to close inner-Elliott Bay to sport fishing after this Saturday and Sunday (July 31-Aug. 1).

The fishery has been open Fridays to Sundays of each week, and was supposed to remain open one additional weekend, Aug. 6-8.

“That figure of 144 chinook caught (since the fishery opened) is a very, very low sport catch, and off the charts low since 2001,” said Steve Thiesfeld, a state Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound salmon manager. “What a lot of anglers may not recognize is that we weren’t anticipating a very strong run, and despite our early consveration attempts it wasn’t enough.”

This past Wednesday, five tribal gill-net boats caught 60 chinook, and in the previous two fisheries they netted seven and five fish respectively.

Thiesfeld says the tribes have decided to cancel their chinook directed fisheries too.

“Obviously we have our fingers crossed that the run will show up later,” Thiesfeld said.

State Fish and Wildlife checker Pete Sergeef was at the Don Armeni boat ramp in West Seattle today (July 30), and said they checked about 55 to 60 boats with eight chinook, including one that weighed about 20 pounds caught off Todds Shipyard.

“It is still pretty darn slow in the bay,” Sergeef said.

Central Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 10) outside of Elliott Bay remains open for sport fishing. Anglers fishing that area have a daily limit of two salmon, but must release wild chinook. Beginning Aug. 1, anglers in Marine Area 10 also must release chum.

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