Interpreting State Rules

Matt Burke

Active Member
Lets say you pick river A and under that section it will list dates that it’s open for trout. But it does not list Salmon. It may say all game fish or other game fish with dates that it is open, but it does not specifically list salmon. Does that mean you can’t or do Salmon fall under the other game fish or all game fish? Salmon are not listed under other, they are listed under food fish. Usually I don’t fish it unless it states it specifically. Am I missing some fishing opportunities?

For instance, the Stilly says Salmon and the dates, but states Chum Salmon only. Now that is easy to understand but who would want one of those nasty bastards.

Thanks for any help,



Banned or Parked
The official rule is as follows, from page 56 of the regulation booklet:

CLOSED to fishing for SALMON,
GRASS CARP unless listed as open.
You can only target the listed Salmon in the specific regs. The same for dollies. For example, salmon are not listed at all on the Sauk so you can't legally target them even though the river gets substantial fish. Most of the creeks and major tribs of the Skagit, Sauk, Suiattle, and Skykomish have dollies but you cannot legally fish for them because they are not listed. You cannot target ANY salmon above the Cascade River on the Skgit, etc. This is straight from Curt Kraemer, the biologist.



Active Member
No, you've got it right and you're not missing any LEGAL fishing opportunities. It is only legal to fish for salmon in rivers that are specifically listed as open for salmon. Salmon are considered to be food fish (as opposed to game fish), and are so defined in the Statewide Definitions section on page 15 of the regulations pamphlet. You'll find the definition of "game fish" on the same page.

On page 56 of the pamphlet, under the section headed "Seasons", you'll find the following: "ALL FRESHWATER AREAS are CLOSED to fishing for SALMON, DOLLY VARDEN/BULL TROUT and GRASS CARP unless listed as open." Now, that seems to be pretty straightforward to me, so it annoys me to see half-a-dozen fly fishermen circled up around a pool full of chums on the North Fork of the Stilly. I've always taken "CLOSED to fishing for" to mean just that. Sure, it's possible, even likely, to occasionally hook a salmon while fishing for steelhead, but to deliberately target ("fish for") them, even if you plan to release them, is not legal.

Old Man

Just an Old Man
What do I know---I'm just an old man

Didn't you like what I told you or wern't you there when I told the other two boys about the difference between game fish and food fish.