|Your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing guide.
Catch & Release, Fly Fishing Only.
Puget Sound Sea-Run Cutthroat Fly Fishing Reprieve.
I am happy to share with you here that the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife has updated us on our Puget Sound sea-run coastal cutthroat trout fishing season rules this year. This is what I received from them yesterday afternoon:
|WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE Print Version
600 Capitol Way North, Olympia, WA 98501-1091
Contact: Larry Phillips, (360) 870-1889;
Ron Warren, (360) 902-2799
freshwater fisheries to close May 1
OLYMPIA – Five lakes and the lower sections of most rivers that flow into Puget Sound will close to all fishing beginning Sunday, May 1, when salmon and steelhead fishing also closes in the Sound.
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) officials said today they are closing state fisheries in waters where salmon migrate while they work to secure the federal permit required to hold salmon fisheries in Puget Sound. Typically, the state and tribes jointly obtain the federal permit for the Sound, where some fish stocks are protected under the federal Endangered Species Act. The current permit expires April 30.
However, many fishing opportunities remain available in and around Puget Sound. WDFW has posted a list of rivers and sections of rivers that are open to fishing on its webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/pugetsound_salmon_update. That page also has a list of Puget Sound area lakes that are closed to all fishing.
“Since we didn’t reach an agreement with treaty tribal co-managers on this year’s Puget Sound salmon fisheries, we have to close fishing in areas where we know salmon will be,” said Ron Warren, head of WDFW’s Fish Program.
For the next few months, those areas include several Puget Sound-region lakes and the lower reaches of streams where salmon smolts will travel on their way to the Sound.
Lakes that will close May 1 to all fishing include Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish (King County), Monte Cristo Lake (Snohomish County), Lake Cushman (Mason County), and Barney Lake (Skagit County).
Examples of rivers where at least sections, if not all, are closed to fishing include the Skagit, Stillaguamish and Snohomish rivers, north of Seattle. Today’s action also applies to Puget Sound-area rivers that typically open to fishing in early June, though fishery managers will be evaluating those rivers to determine whether any can open on schedule.
All non-tribal commercial and recreational Puget Sound salmon and steelhead fisheries, including those in Marine Area 13 and year-round fishing piers around Puget Sound, will close May 1 to salmon and steelhead fishing until further notice. More detailed information about marine area closures can be found online at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
The department is working with federal authorities and doing everything possible to re-open Puget Sound marine and freshwater fisheries, Warren said.
“We regret having to close these fisheries,” Warren said. “We know this is a hardship on many communities around Puget Sound and disappoints many anglers.”
In the meantime, Warren urged anglers to consider trying new fishing waters, emphasizing that most Puget Sound area lowland lakes remain open to fishing.
Also, he said recreational fisheries in Puget Sound marine areas that are not affected by the closures include bottomfish, such as lingcod, Pacific cod and cabezon, as well as sea-run cutthroat trout and halibut. These fisheries are covered under a separate permit and are open as scheduled. Anglers should check the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available online athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/, for details.
Salmon fishing will continue as scheduled in the Columbia River and Washington’s ocean waters and north coastal rivers. Information on those fisheries can be found on WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
I am emphasizing the last paragraph for you here:
"Also, he said recreational fisheries in Puget Sound marine areas that are not affected by the closures include bottomfish, such as lingcod, Pacific cod and cabezon, as well as sea-run cutthroat trout and halibut. These fisheries are covered under a separate permit and are open as scheduled. Anglers should check the 2015-16 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available online athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/, for details."
So, Until we hear differently from official sources, I think it is safe to say that our saltwater sea-run cutthroat fishing season is secure. I don't know about you, but the last few weeks of insanity and uncertainty, propagated by the annual salmon season setting negotiations process breaking down between the tribes and the state, has had me losing sleep and stressing out. It's nice to get this reprieve. I am still waiting for the new annual / seasonal rules to be published before I stick my neck out on river fishing here this year. If you do plan on fishing a river, make sure to check the sport fishing rules pamphlet, and the sportfishing hotline: 360-902-2500 for closures and changes,
One thing that I do know for sure is that w.d.f & w Law Enforcement Game Wardens will be watching anglers closely this year, to see if anyone is attempting to fish for salmon illegally, during the closures, while pretending to be sea-run cutthroat fishing. They intend to come own hard on this behavior. We all should.
Don't be afraid to turn in poachers. But learn how to do it correctly here:
Last fall, when early in the season it was becoming clear that the coho runs had failed to materialize, and rivers and marine areas were being closed under emergency rules all over the region, I had already decided to stop fishing for coho. I won't be fishing for them this year either. And I certainly won't be guiding for them on the beaches. It's going to take some years for them to recover. I think we should just give them a break for a few years. If you want a lot of fish around, you need to let them spawn. That's going to be pretty hard to do if they are hanging in a net, or dangling from a hook somewhere.
So let's go trout fishing, where we can. And let's not take it for granted. We don't need to catch every last living fish out there to make our days worthwhile. And remember that catch & release fishing is the reason we have any sea-run coastal cutthroat in Puget Sound at all.
|This is probably the most relaxing way to fish for sea-run cutthroat.
One angler, maybe two, one day. Call or write for details.
Your Olympic Peninsula Fly Fishing Guide and Instructor
I am guiding fly fishers on the Olympic Peninsula beaches, rivers and streams. We walk and wade, or row along the shorelines in the dory, fly fishing for sea-run Coastal Cutthroat trout in freshwater and saltwater, and in the rivers for Cutthroat trout and summer steelhead. This is all strictly catch and release, traditional, barbless single hook, fly fishing only. Lunch, snacks, soft beverages, and use of some equipment is included. I also offer personalized and private fly fishing and fly casting instruction for beginners through advanced casters. I would be happy to help you plan your Olympic Peninsula fly fishing adventure, for all levels of ability, beginner to expert. Public presentations, Naturalist Guide, rowboat picnics, tide pool and river trail day trips. Please call, write or email for booking details. Now booking for April through October and beyond.
Little Stone Flyfisher
P.O. Box 261
Port Townsend, WA
Licensed Washington State Guide
Certified Fly Casting Instructor
Trout Unlimited Aquatic Educator Award
2006 W.S.U.Beach Watcher / Water Watcher graduate
U.S.C.G First Aid/CPR/BLS/AED/BBP/HIV Certified