Outdoors: Chinook will be open daily in Sekiu

Olympia Salmon Fishing in Sekiu Marine Area 5 will return seven days a week after Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife directors decided that enough Chinook would remain in the recreational fishing quota after initially high catch rates.

As catch rates have decreased since opening, the WDFW has decided to ease restrictions, allowing more days to open. Estimates for the Seikyo Summer Chinook fisheries through July 17 put the fishery at 40 percent of encounters of legal size – 2,967 out of 7,342 fish.

“What happened at Sekiu this year is a great example of how WDFW staff are working closely with components to manage fisheries and ensure recent seasons,” said Kirsten Simonsen, Ph.D., Puget Sound Recreational Director for Salmon at WDFW. “While additional restrictions are never easy, we have worked closely with members of the Sekiu fishing community to craft fisheries that work for them.”

Sekiu will be open daily until August 15th for salmon fishing. The daily limit is two fish, with up to one Chinook hatchery. Chinook minimum size is 22 inches. For other salmon species there is no minimum size. The wild Chinook, the wild coho, and the buddy must all be released. Sekiu’s salmon fishery is set to switch to no Chinook on August 16. And the season could end early if Chinook’s guidelines are met.

Zone 6 selective chinook area

The Marine Zone 6 Chinook’s selective fishing area is open Wednesday through Saturday only from July 27 through August 15 from the low point east to true north/south line via Buoy No. 2 just east of Eddies Hoek, except for Port Angeles Harbor and Bay Water areas fresh.

Puget Sound Recreational Fishery consultants and Marine Area 6 community representatives have recommended reducing the number of days to extend the Chinook season as long as possible.

Estimates for Marine Zone 6 of the Chinook Selective Fishing Area through July 17 indicate that fisheries have reached 65 percent of encounters of legal size (6155 of 9,400 fish) and that catch rates have been high so far.

On open days, the daily limit of Marine Zone 6 of the Chinook Selective Fisheries is two, with up to a Chinook hatchery. Chinook minimum size is 22 inches. For other salmon species, there is no minimum size. The wild Chinook, the wild coho, and the buddy must all be released.

WDFW announces more halibut days

Fisheries directors for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife announced Thursday that halibut fishermen will have several additional days of riding halibut this season in addition to two opportunities to help shape the 2023 season.

“The weather this spring has been consistently bad, so there are enough sport allocations to support this additional opportunity for fishers in all marine areas,” said Lorna Wargo, Intergovernmental Fisheries Policy Coordinator for the World Fish Welfare Federation.

Halibut season in Niah Bay and La Bush – Marine Zones 3 and 4 – will open Thursday, August 11, five days a week, Thursday through Monday. Starting September 6, Neah Bay and La Push will be open seven days a week.

Puget Sound – Marine Zone 5 (Sekiou River to Low Point), Marine Zone 6 (Low Point to Point Wilson) and across Marine Zones 7, 8, 9 and 10 – will reopen Thursday, August 11, for seven days per week . Halibut is ration-managed and the season runs until September 30th, or when ration is reached.

halibut meetings

The WDFW will host two virtual public meetings, from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm, on Tuesday 9 August and Tuesday 4 October to discuss the season structure and proposed dates for the 2023 halibut sports season. These meetings will help WDFW fisheries managers gather stakeholder input prior to meetings Pacific Fisheries Board of Directors in September and November, when the Board considers changes in the structure of the season.

“As we wrap up this year’s season, these meetings are a good opportunity to hear from the public about how the fisheries are going this year and how we can adapt next year,” Wargo said.

At their August 9 meeting, state halibut managers will review preliminary data for the 2022 season and work with stakeholders to develop a set of initial options focused on general concepts, such as ways to extend the season and increase fishing opportunities.

At the October 4 meeting, in addition to refining the options developed at the first meeting, the WDFW staff will gather more public input, review next spring’s tide calendars and select specific season dates trying to balance needs across different fishing communities, charter and private fishing interests .

For more information on how to participate in Zoom webinars on August 9 and October 4, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/halibut. Meetings will be recorded and posted online so that people can also view the meetings afterwards. Because halibut fisheries are managed according to quota, closure can occur quickly. Fishermen should check the WDFW website or Fish Washington app to make sure a specific area is open before fishing.

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