The days to catch a hatchery king in central Puget Sound are winding down as state Fish and Wildlife says sport anglers will achieve the catch guideline by the end of this weekend.
Central Puget Sound – also known as Marine Catch Area 10 – will close for hatchery king fishing after Sunday, Aug. 18.
Estimates predict anglers will have caught 3,773 legal-size hatchery kings (those that are more than 22-inch minimum size limit) under a guideline of 3,700.
State fishery managers say the catch really increased the past two weeks.
To try and slow down the catch, state fisheries managers also reduced the daily hatchery chinook catch limit from two to one on Aug. 5. But, the hatchery chinook fishery in northern Puget Sound closed after Aug. 4, and likely pushed more effort into central Sound as well.
That is evident in the preliminary estimates of catch and effort:
On Aug. 5-8, 1,371 boats with 2,710 anglers caught 525 hatchery-marked chinook, and released 421 hatchery-marked chinook and released 277 unmarked chinook for a total of 1,224 chinook encounters.
On Aug. 9, 410 boats with 811 anglers caught 131 hatchery-marked chinook (plus two unmarked chinook illegally kept), and relased 105 hatchery-marked chinook and 67 unmarked chinook for 305 chinook encounters.
On Aug. 10, 667 boats with 1,588 anglers caught 214 hatchery-marked chinook (plus two unmarked chinook illegally kept), and released 172 hatchery-marked chinook and 111 unmarked chinook for 499 chinook encounters.
On Aug. 11, 451 boats with 931 anglers caught 148 hatchery-marked chinook, and released 119 hatchery-marked chinook and 78 unmarked chinook for 345 chinook encounters.
On Aug. 12-15, 1,366 boats with 2,982 anglers caught 514 hatchery-marked chinook, and released 412 hatchery-marked chinook and 271 unmarked chinook for 1,198 chinook encounters.
Since the season began on July 16, 10,356 boats with 21,444 anglers caught 2,977 hatchery-marked chinook (11 unmarked chinook illegally kept), and released 2,387 hatchery-marked chinook and 1,561 unmarked chinook for 6,937 chinook encounters.
Sport anglers in central Puget Sound retained per trip 0.1393 chinook.
The hatchery chinook fishery in Area 10 was supposed to remain open through Aug. 31. Both Areas 10 and 9 are still open for coho and pink salmon fishing.
The exceptions to the closure are: Sinclair Inlet and five fishing piers within the marine area, where anglers can continue to catch chinook as part of their daily limit. Piers still open are Elliott Bay Fishing Pier at Terminal 86, Seacrest Pier, Waterman Pier, Bremerton Boardwalk, and Illahee State Park Pier.
Shilshole Bay is still closed to all salmon fishing through Aug. 31 southeast from Meadow Point West Point. Elliott Bay also remains closed to fishing, except in the specified Elliott Bay Fishery described in the fishing rules pamphlet.