It appears wild chinook encounters in northern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 9) by sport anglers could lead to some regulation changes happening as soon as this Wednesday, March 6.
Salmon fishing in this area is open for hatchery-marked chinook through April 15, and catch rates have been slow for keeper-sized hatchery chinook (those over the minimum size limit of 22-inches).
State Fish and Wildlife and the tribal co-managers were meeting today (Monday, March 4) to discuss the situation, and one state fisheries manager has said in order to keep the season from closing early they have decided to propose a reduction in the daily catch limit.
The emergency regulation that will be proposed to the co-managers would drop the daily salmon bag limit from two to one beginning Wednesday, March 6.
State Fish and Wildlife’s computer models on the northern Puget Sound chinook fishery predicts that 50 percent of the catch will occur in the last six weeks of the winter season.
Wild chinook encounters in other areas of Puget Sound like Marine Catch Areas 8-1, 8-2 and 10 remain low.
State fisheries managers understand this could throw a wrench in the sport salmon fishery in this area, but would like to keep moving in the right direction on mark-selective fisheries in the future, and say this change must be initiated in order to make it successful.
A decision is expected to be announced by Monday, March 4.