salmon season regs

Anyone know why Area 11 is closed to salmon fishing Jan 1st to Feb 16th, and Area 13 is closed to salmon fishing Feb 1st to Feb 28th? Or am I reading the regs wrongly? (

Trying to think of a management reason for the closure but coming up blank other than maybe protecting spring chinook going back to the White river. Seems a little early though if that is the reason.
Okay, so i have a question: if the regs state that the salmon are open from ___-___, and then again from ___-____, are you still allowed to fish for other species, ie. SRC? Cause Whatcom Co. is Area 7 and the regs are set up like those in the above post and I was just wondering if you coulf still fish for the cutties.

Jeff Dodd

Active Member
If you look at the Marine area regulations, you will notice below the "Salmon" section, "Trout" are listed. In Marine Area 7 rules, Trout are catch and release all year, and you can keep 2 hatchery steelhead/day.
I'm wondering that too, although I'm under the assumption that 99% of the patterns fished (clousers, shock and awes, etc.) would catch both SRC's and resident silvers.

For example, there have been quite a few Brown's Point reports, which is closed to salmon right now.

So can I just say I'm targeting SRC's? (and obviously releasing any salmon caught in the process?)

How about night fishing? Can you catch an SRC at night or are you leaving yourself open to problems if someone claims you are targeting salmon?
IMO, I think it's a judgment call by an enforcement officer. If you're clearly targeting salmon, say, fishing with a down rigger, you're toast.

If you're on the beach casting your 6 wt rod or smaller, with flies that will take either species, be sure you're barbless as it will invite a closer inspection, but fishing is not closed for C&R for SRC.

Be sure to keep fish in the water while releasing, and you should be in full compliance with the regs. Incidental catch of a salmon must be released and not removed from the water.

Minimal and gentle handling will insure these beauties will stay healthy and are still around later this summer when they get to be barbecue size. :beer2:
So, if i fish for SRC with my 6wt with some small clousers, am i legit, or am i still breaking the regs? I am only targeting SRC, and all salmon would be released. Reminder, I am talking about Area 7. Any help!
it is indeed legal to fish for sea run cutts (SRCs) in Puget Sound year round, so don't sweat it too much. It is legal. If you are targetting cutthroat and are using trout sized equipment, you will be fine. If you use a 4-6lb tippet and smaller flies it will be very difficult for anyone to argue that you are deliberately fishing for salmon. Don't use the 8" monster flies I fish with at Neah Bay:) . Keep a copy of the relevant page of the regs in your back pocket if that makes you feel more comfortable.

I did once hook "something", while fishing for SRCs, at BP in March one year on a 6lb tippet and a Clouser on a size 8 hook. The fish headed straight for Vashon Island and broke the tippet when I was about 50 feet into my backing. Don't know what it was, never did see it, but that is the only fish that has broken a 6lb tippet when I've been fishing in Puget Sound for cutthroat.

If you are using the cutthroat regs as a "loophole" to deliberately target salmon when salmon fishing is closed, then that is a personal ethics issue.

I would still like to know the management reason for the closures. Are the closures designed to protect a particular stock or life history stage? C&R does have some mortality, but I am unaware of any studies of C&R effects on mortality on immature salmon in salt water. At the very least, I would suggest that anglers don't handle the fish and don't take salmon out of the water when releasing them, use barbless hooks and keep the hook size on the smaller side.

Knowing the management reasons for the closure would allow anglers to make a more informed decision about whether they should reduce the incidental catch of salmon during closed seasons by limiting their fishing for SRCs during the salmon closure. Or it might allow anglers to advocate for a C&R flyfishing only exception to the closure if that can be shown to be biologically appropriate. Can anyone shed some light on why certain marine areas in Puget Sound are closed to salmon fishing at varying times during winter?


Active Member
Skenna -
As I recall from North of Falcon the season changes in marine areas 11 and 13were in response to the needs to reduces overall impacts to ESA listed chinook stocks. For that area the two chinook stocks of concern were the mid-Hood Canal fish (which are caught through out Puget Sound) and the Nisqually fish.

That conservation burden was felt through out Washington waters just not South Sound. To get the exploitation rates down to agreed upon levels it was decided that part of the South Sound contribution included a one month closure for areas 11 and 13. It was further decided to spread those closures so that both areas would not be closed at the same time.

If you are interested in such things suggest you attend one or more of the NOF meetings. In the past there had been a fair representation of fly angelrs interested in South Sound resident coho at NOF but in the last year or two there has been such good representation with most anglers more concerned about other fisheries

Somehow I doubt many fly fishers will be limiting there cutthrout fish out of concern about impacts on salmon. In fact it appears to me that many are more than willing to use the loop-hole of fishing for cutthroat to catch salmon while "targeting' cutthroat. It because of that abuse I think I would seriously consider supporting closing the salt water "trout" fisheries whenever an area is closed for salmon.

Tight lines


Active Member
It because of that abuse I think I would seriously consider supporting closing the salt water "trout" fisheries whenever an area is closed for salmon.

what a swell idea, how do 'we' make this happen????:thumb:
I, too, have a probem with flyfishers "targeting cutthroat" and catching coho. If the season for salmon is closed, we should respect that closure. The coho are not swimming in the same areas as the cutthroat, and shouldn't be subjected to the hook. If we are truly interested in conservation, we should leave the coho alone when the season's closed.

As an addendeum, many of the Puget Sound Coastal Cutthoat populations have their peak spawning period during February and should be subjected to less strain then, as well as the coho.


Be the guide...
'Peak' spawning period? Then they should be safe from the salt water fly fisher up in their rivers and creeks getting their groove on.... Or are you talking about the trout who have finished spawning and have migrated back out to the salt??
Smalma: Aren't a vast majority of coho that are picked up off the beach from the "resident" program. If so, aren't those fish introduced for harvest? These fish don't have anything special going on during the closed period. It doesn't seem to me be 'Abuse' to catch a resident and take it home one month and not the next. Fly guys on the beach hook very few chinook so limiting the quest for coho should have very little impact on Chinook.