Those planning on heading out into northern Puget Sound, properly known as Marine Catch Area 9, should be aware that the daily catch limit for hatchery chinook will be reduced from two to one beginning Monday, Feb. 10.
This news came to light this morning (Friday, Feb. 7) when state fisheries managers and the sport fishing advisory group gathered for a teleconference call when it came to light that catches in North Sound had been remarkably good this past month.
Both undersized and legal-size chinook encounters were nearing the allowable catch guideline set forth by state Fish and Wildlife as per agreed upon by the federal fishery agencies and tribes.
It was the hopes of state fisheries and the sport fishing advisory members that this reduced catch limit will slow down the catches to keep the salmon fishing season in North Sound only open until the planned closure date of April 15.
This same action happened last year in North Sound, but occurred in March.
The wonderful winter weather in January, allowed anglers more time on the water and catches have been outstanding.
State Fish and Wildlife officials say the chinook catches were three times the normal average.
The Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby happens Feb. 15-17, and since part of the derby boundary lines goes into Area 9 it is important for anglers to know of the reduced catch bag limit.
The daily catch limits in the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca and all other open marine areas remains status quo as noted in the regulation pamphlet.
Last year, the Olympic Peninsula Salmon Derby saw a great catch of 360 winter hatchery-marked chinook, but only 45 of those fish came from Area 9 or about 10 percent of the derby’s total catch.