Puget Sound Fishing Guides Organization

Summer crabbing season to open in Puget Sound

OLYMPIA – Sport crabbers planning to fish for crab in Puget Sound this summer will find the upcoming season similar to last year’s, including catch-reporting procedures required by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

Starting June 18, crab fishing will open seven days a week in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca and southern Puget Sound. Most other marine areas will open July 2 on a Wednesday-through-Saturday schedule, although some waters north of Anacortes will not open until later in summer.

Puget Sound recreational crabbing areas will open at 7 a.m. on the following dates:

June 18: Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (Sekiu) and 13 (south Puget Sound) will open seven days per week through Jan. 2, 2009.

July 2: Marine areas 6 (eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca), 7 South (San Juan Islands), 8-1 (Deception Pass to East Point), 8-2 (East Point to Possession Point), 9 (Admiralty Inlet), 10 (Seattle/Bremerton), 11 (Tacoma/Vashon) and 12 (Hood Canal) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 1 for a catch assessment. These areas will reopen in the fall if recreational harvest quotas have not been met.

July 16: Marine Area 7 East (Bellingham and Samish bays) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 27.

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Aug. 13: Marine Area 7 North (Lummi Island/Blaine) will open Wednesdays through Saturdays only, plus the entire Labor Day weekend and will close the evening of Sept. 27.
This is the second year sport crabbers in Puget Sound will be required to record their Dungeness crab catch on two separate catch record cards – one for the summer season and one for the fall/winter season, said Rich Childers, WDFW shellfish policy coordinator.

Sport crabbers will again have the option of reporting their catch on the Internet or by mailing in their catch cards. Either way, it’s important for crabbers to report their crab information, Childers said.

“Catch reports are an important tool in managing the Puget Sound crab fishery,” Childers said. “We need to hear from everyone – including those who didn’t catch any crab – because more data provides greater accuracy in estimating the catch and developing future fishing seasons.”

To submit catch reports, crabbers may either send their catch record card to WDFW by mail, or file their report on a special webpage on the department’s licensing website from Sept. 2-15.

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As an incentive, sport crabbers who submit their catch reports by the Sept. 15 deadline will be entered in a raffle to win one of 10 free 2009 combination licenses, which allow the holder to fish for a variety of freshwater and saltwater species.

Childers reminds fishers that crab catch record cards are separate from the multi-species card used for recording catches of salmon, halibut and other fish. Also, catch record cards are not required to fish for Dungeness crab on the Washington coast (marine areas 1-4).

In addition to catch-card requirements, anyone fishing for crab in Puget Sound must purchase a $3 license endorsement, which is free to fishers under age 15, although dealer fees may apply. All fishers age 15 or older must also carry an applicable Washington fishing license in order to fish for crab anywhere in Washington.

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Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

March 4, 2013

Anglers limited to 1 salmon
per day in Admiralty Inlet

OLYMPIA - Starting Wednesday (March 6), anglers will be limited to one salmon per day in Marine Area 9, the portion of Puget Sound stretching from Seattle to Bremerton.

State fishery managers approved the new limit - down from two fish per day - after determining that the number of chinook salmon kept or released has exceeded pre-season projections.

"Fishing got off to a fast start last fall, boosting the number of fish kept or released to date," said Ryan Lothrop, a fish biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "After reviewing the catch estimates, it was clear we needed to take action to control the fishery’s impacts on stocks of concern."

Except at the Edmonds Pier, anglers fishing in Marine Area 9 must release any chinook not specifically marked with a clipped adipose fin as a hatchery fish. However, since some released wild chinook do not survive, they are counted toward the management guideline of 1,615 total encounters with legal-size chinook during the fishery.

According to preliminary estimates, anglers had kept or released 1,737 chinook in Marine Area 9 as of Feb. 24.

Lothrop said catch levels in adjoining marine areas are below expected levels, but that the new catch limit will ensure compliance with conservation objectives and state-tribal management plans in Puget Sound. He said WDFW will continue to monitor the fishery in Marine Area 9 through April 15, when it is scheduled to close.

Anglers should check for updates on WDFW’s Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. Fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across. Additional information is available in WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet on the website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm.

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Fishing: The steelhead fishery in the region is winding down, with a number of rivers and streams closing to sport fishing at the end of February. Meanwhile, the blackmouth season is in full swing out on Puget Sound, where anglers are hooking some nice salmon.

"The San Juan Islands continue to be strong for blackmouth fishing," said Steve Thiesfeld, WDFW fish biologist. "It’s not as hot as it was a couple weeks ago, but anglers are still doing well throughout the islands."

Anglers participating in the recent Roche Harbor Salmon Derby took advantage of the good fishing. A total of 344 anglers landed 115 fish during the derby, which took place Feb. 5-7. Shannon Terrell finished first in the derby with an 18-pound, 6-ounce chinook. The Bellingham resident took home $10,000, while Wayne Logsdon of Mount Vernon pocketed $5,000 for his second-place 16.1-pound salmon. Bret Thurman of Orcas Island was awarded $1,500 for his third-place fish, which weighed in at 15.15 pounds.

Anglers fishing in Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) can keep two hatchery chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. They must, however, release wild chinook, which have an intact adipose fin. Thiesfeld reminds anglers that - unlike in previous years - selective gear rules apply through April 15 in the Marine Area 7 blackmouth fishery.

Elsewhere, blackmouth fisheries in marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) continue to be slow, Thiesfeld said. Anglers in those two areas, as well as Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet), also can keep two hatchery chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

Time is running out for steelheaders in the region. A number of the region’s rivers, including the Snohomish, Nooksack and Skykomish close to steelhead fishing at the end of the month.

Most areas of the Skagit River, however, remain open for the harvest of hatchery steelhead through March 15, said Brett Barkdull, WDFW fish biologist. Although the Skagit, from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to the Cascade River, will be open to catch-and-release for all steelhead from March 16 through April 30.

Barkdull reminds steelheaders on the Skagit fishing from boats, sleds or any other floating device equipped with a gas or electric motor that it's illegal to fish while under power during the catch-and-release season that begins March 16.

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Cutthroat trout fishing in Lake Washington is still an option. Anglers have had success in recent weeks hooking trout around the creek mouths. The daily limit is five trout, but rainbow trout measuring more than 20 inches and steelhead must be released. Beginning March 1, trout must measure at least 12 inches in length to be retained.  

For more information on the rules and regulations for Lake Washington, as well as other freshwater and saltwater fisheries, check WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm ).

Hunting: WDFW is accepting applications for spring black bear hunting permits through March 13. To be eligible for a permit, hunters must purchase a special permit application and a 2009 hunting license that includes bear as a species option. A drawing will be held in mid-March for 295 permits in western Washington and 225 permits on the east side of the state. Successful applicants will be notified by March 31.

Hunting licenses, bear transport tags and bear permit applications may be purchased online ( https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ ), by phone (866-246-9453) or at any license vendor in the state. Applications, which require a correct hunt choice number, may be submitted online at https://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/  or by calling (877) 945-3492.

Wildlife viewing: With spring just around the corner, the weather has become a bit more cooperative for birders, who have found a number of interesting species throughout the region. On a return visit to Lummi Island, one birder spotted several pigeon guillemots - birds he saw days earlier in winter plumage. "I returned to Lummi Island and many of the guillemots there were in breeding plumage, with only a minority of the birds I saw still in their winter coats," the birder reported on Tweeters website ( http://www.scn.org/earth/tweeters/ ). While in breeding plumage, the stocky birds with bright red feet, are solid black with white wing patches.

Farther south, a birder visiting from South Carolina was surprised by several birds he spotted while staying in the Seward Park area. Noisy Steller’s and western scrub jays , caught the birders attention, as well as the golden-crowned sparrows in the area. The birder also was surprised by the size of the region’s crows. "Your local American crows sure are small," he noted on Tweeters. "Clearly, there's a lot of Northwestern crow happening in their DNA."
Meanwhile, whalewatchers have had some success recently. A pod of resident orca whales was seen traveling the waters of Haro Strait, in the San Juan Islands. Nearby, a pod of transient orcas also was spotted loitering in the area before heading north of the islands.