State Fish and Wildlife enforcement were busy the past two weeks during what are probably two of the largest derbies in Puget Sound.
The Edmonds Coho Derby held on Sept. 11, and the Everett Coho Derby held this past weekend (Sept. 18-19) drew thousands of anglers out in search of the “winning big coho.”
And while many were on the right side of the law, it seems there are always some who want to break it.
“I worked the fishery for the fishing derby (Sept. 11) and found the worst compliance rate I have ever witnessed,” said Erik Olson, a marine division state Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer. “I contacted 15 vessels throughout the day and observed 25 violations.
Olson wrote up 15 tickets: 11 barbed hook tickets, one angler who failed to record their catch, one possession of salmon in unlawful condition and two expired vessel registrations.
“We ended up giving 11 verbal warnings, two of those verbal warnings were for two guys that failed to submit their salmon to us when asked,” Olson said. “They later told us that they lied about the salmon because they didn’t have a pen on board to record it. We wrote them up for everything else, but left out the two gross misdemeanors for failing to submit their catch.”
Olson did provide them a pen and replied, “here is your $347 pen.”
This past weeked during the Everett Coho Derby things weren’t much better, according to Sgt. Rich Phillips, a marine division state Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer.
State Fish and Wildlife and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Deputies conducted an emphasis patrol on Saturday (Sept. 18) for the derby.
Four patrol boats and 12 officers patrolled Marine Catch Areas 8-1, 8-2 and 9.
A total of 198 anglers were contacted, and 32 citations were issued along with 30 verbal warnings.
Phillips said violations included fail to display gear, fish without license or catch record card, fish with fraudulent license, fail to record catch, barbed hooks and several boating safety violations.
“Very few coho (less than 20) were checked,” Phillips said. “Most fish were checked west of Possession or south of Edmonds. The violation rate (of 33 percent) is much higher than desirable.”