The Skagit River sockeye opener this past weekend was lackluster at best.
“It was slow with anglers scoring a whole bunch of zeros,” said Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “The water conditions look way better than it did two years ago (when the forecast was similar to this summer), and water flows are half of what it was at this same date.”
A state Fish and Wildlife check from Saturday and Sunday showed 361 anglers with seven sockeye.
“That is not very good, and it has to get better,” Barkdull said. “It is still too early to say which way this run will end up going.”
The peak time and/or mid-point of the sockeye run is usually around July 17.
The sockeye fishery in the Skagit River from Highway 536 at Mount Vernon to the mouth of Gilligan Creek is open through June 29 with a two sockeye daily limit (a 12 inch minimum size limit) and a night closure.
The Skagit system sockeye forecast this summer is 35,377 (similar to about 35,000 two years ago), and up from about 21,000 last year.
The Baker Lake sockeye fishery will be open July 10 to Sept. 7, and the daily catch limit has been raised to three sockeye compared two fish last summer.
Barkdull says the state Fish and Wildlife website that tracks the Baker River sockeye sockeye run is up and running, and anglers can follow the counts once they start arriving at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/salmon/sockeye/baker_river.html.