salmon season regs


Active Member
Bob -
If your angling ethic is such that we should each be allowed to pick and choose which of the various regulations we can ignore depending our needs or wants than go ahead and enjoy your time on the beach. Even though I may agree that potential Chinooks impacts may be low (but not zero) don't expect me to endorse your efforts.

Tight lines
Thanks Curt. Appreciate the info on the management reasons for the closure. I have caught quite a few chinook from the beach over the years and various photos and posts confirm that other folks have been doing the same recently in areas that may have been closed to salmon fishing. I won't be fishing the closed beaches until they re-open for salmon, despite being tempted by recent reports.

As I said earlier, fishing for cutthroat on beaches closed to salmon fishing is a personal ethics issue. Your suggestion that areas closed to salmon fishing should be also be closed to cutthroat fishing to avoid incidental take of depressed stocks makes sense, and it also might even help improve the searun cutthroat population in Puget Sound in the long run. I agree that the impacts to threatened or depressed salmon stocks from flyfishers are probably minor, but nonetheless some mortality is inevitable. I wouldn't want to target a chinook stock listed as threatened under ESA when management closures are in effect to try to protect that stock. Perhaps this should be brought to the WDFW commision?

Curt, hope you had a good bird season this year. I had a great one, mostly because it is probably my last with my CBR Skeena. She is about to turn 13 years old and even though she did really well on pheasant and quail, I doubt if she will be able to hunt next year. End of an era.:(
Steve C.


AKA Beadhead
Smalma said:
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.

When i first read this I was a little taken back. I had just gotten back from cutthroat fishing where I actually caught a cutthroat. Then I see on another post people are publically flaunting the regs and bragging about using the "loophole". So much for fly anglers being more ethical:hmmm: While I strongly disagree with the idea that cutthroat seasons should be closed when salmon are closed, I definately see the sentiments here. However if we were to follow this line of thinking then we would stop ALL salmon fishing whenever one species needs to be protected. That would shut down almost all fishing except for the month of November and other times when black mouth are open for harvest. Our future is selective fishing and proper C&R tactics. By using single barbless hooks, no bait, no nets and not removing fish from the water we could expect a very low mortality rate.

The state nees to define selective fishing for salmon because right now I'm legal targetting cutthroat with a buzzbomb and treble hook. If you have ever done this then you know the mortality rate (hint: its high) If they (WDFW) want to avoid salmon mortality then they should restrict the gear that causes high mortality - large hooks and treble hooks. They could also restrict the angling for Trout to make it unlawfull to fish from a boat during these times- Trout are close to shore in most cases. Of course these cutthroat fishermen will just become flounder fishermen at that point...

Oh and while were on the subject of loopholes: What about the public fishing piers? Open year round for Chinook last time I checked:confused: or how about tribal sockeye fisheries that coincide with ESA listed Chinook runs. "Gettin incidentals" was what one tribal fisherman told me as he stacked Chinook on ice at the Shilshole pier last August. oops now I am getting into politally charged territory so I'll just shut up.



Native Trout Hunter
I have to say that I am more than happy to get the resident coho a break for a month especially if it is in the best interest of ESA list Chinook stocks. It should give the residents a little time to forget what my flies look like and fatten up. Beyond that it gives me a great reason to finally go looking for cutthroat again, which I haven't done much of with the residents around. It should be pretty easy for most folks who do any fishing on the sound and want to fish ethically to pick beaches to avoid resident coho and target cutthroat. I know of a number of beach where cutthroat are common and resident coho only show up very rarely or the other way around although this is not the case at all beaches.
Geeze--it seems like this is a group that doesn't like to fish...

While I support conservation and want healthy stocks of salmon, steelhead and trout, any closures should really show some solid reason. In this thread there is a proposal to close the beach fishery for SRC in order to protect ESA-listed chinook because you might catch resident coho.


It's one thing if this is a catch-and-kill fishery, which it isn't since the season is closed. It's another if you're talking about incidental catch in a CNR fishery. And if you add in the low numbers of chinook caught in the fishery, then the impact on endangered stocks is really, really small. I would guess there is an insignificant loss of chinook to the beach fishery for SRC.

While I can see the sense of closing the salmon season--trollers and moochers will catch the snot out of smolt and sub-legal chinook with a relatively high mortality rate-- I don't think a beach-fishery closure would do anything but make some folks feel like they've sacrificed for the good. An exception to that statement might be an area closure where smolt migration is really, really high, but even then...

I also feel that such a closure has the potential to close down all CNR fishing in the state: if you follow the same rationale (and there are folks in the whacko-environmental movements who would), then you should close the CNR steelhead fisheries in those rivers with ANY endangered stocks of salmon, steelhead, cutthroat or bull trout. Even if you're fishing a #12 Cutthroat Bee (dry) you might catch a bull trout...or a chinook or a batwing sculpin. And a catch-and-release season on native steelhead? Forget about it.

It's one thing if a stock is being seriously impacted, but I don't see that happening with chinook because their primary habit is in much deeper water than we can reach with a fly rod.

This whole discussion reminds me of one on this board a couple years back where, when officials announced that the snowpack was low and river levels would likely be low, the first question out of a poster's keyboard was, "What rivers should we close?" This was way, way before the season started.

If there is a serious impact, that's one thing, but if it's just a feel-good measure, then I think it can do more harm than good.

I agree with GHFF. What I alluded to earlier was that the cutthroat are generally pretty darn close to shore, and the coho, most often where I fish, are out from the beach near the limits of my casting ability. :(

When I refered to peak spawning occuring in February, I meant that many of the fish are heading to the streams all month. As we all know, they don't read the calendar nor do they all go at the same time. If we hinder their ability to spawn we may, in fact, be hindering our ability have a long term viable fishery. That only because we know that there is some limited fatalities from catching and releasing fish. I just want us to protect our coastal cutthroat.


Active Member
My point is that I like to fish (and probably fish more than most) and am concern about the continuing decline in the ethics I see in our angling community. As the public see us more and more as an unethical user group we are likely to see our opportunities decline.

This is not about incidental catch of salmon while targeting cutthroat but rather folks using the fact the area is open for cutthroat to intentionally target the closed salmon. I'm constantly see this "abuse" in a number of fisheries - folks targeting closed season salmon on both our beaches and rivers. If it is ok to catch the coho and incidental Chinook off the beach is also ok with you to target staging Chinook in the warm water of the North Fork Stillaguamish? or to rip the spawning pinks off their redds? What is next fishing our closed rivers for spawning steelhead?

What concerns me even more than the fact that there are some folks looking for loop holes to chase their sport and freely post about such efforts is the apparent fact that many here seem to condone such fishing. Maybe I'm just old fashion and the sport has passed me by; however I see that attitude as a serious degradation of our collective angling ethic.

Please note that I said - "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." I did not suggest that we should close the cutthroat fishery but rather I would seriously consider supporting such a proposal. For more years than I care to admit I have work as hard as most to preserve our fishing opportunities in a wide diversity of fisheries.

Tight lines
hendersonbaylocal said:
Really? I have caught resident coho in many of the same spots I regularly fish for cutts.
Just yesterday in fact, one of each species about 35' from the beach not 15 feet away from each other, on the same fly. Of course, Marine Area 9 is open for salmon right now, but all landed coho go back; I would much rather catch them again when they are about 5 lbs this summer.

Milt Roe

Active Member
Fellas - You are talking about catch and release of very few incidentally hooked listed chinook (most of which will be hatchery fish in the S Sound) while targeting the catch and release wild SRC or hatchery coho - which are subjected to minimal mortality thanks to the good behavior of most anglers.

I respect the rules and have worked for 25 years in the field of fish conservation, but worrying about the fate of pen-reared hatchery silvers is the last thing anyone should be concerned about. If we killed all of them, the naturally produced coho entering the salt in the coming months would very likely be better off. The total mortality on incidentally hooked chinook is next to nothing in the bigger picture.

Shutting down the SRC catch and release fishery when salmon fishing is closed would be a hollow gesture with no significant benefit to depleted fish stocks in any meaningful way. Don't we want to preserve angling opportunity when it has no significant impact of stocks of concern?

Jeff Dodd

Active Member
Not to kiss up to Kurt, but when he takes the time to post about a fisheries issue I shut up and listen.

His point is simple and rather than argue about it, listen and keep it in the back of your mind the next time you run into a pod of salmon during a closed season. (as many already do)

This has nothing to do with the type of gear you're using, it's a personal commitment by individual anglers to do our part.

Jim Kerr

Active Member
I am all for following the regs as written. However I also suport changing the regs when they have little or no bearing on reality. First off, when the majority of gear anglers say the words Puget Sound salmon, what they really mean is chinook. When managers say an area is closed to protect stocks what they really mean is we had to close somthing and not alot of people fish there anyway.
Curt, I like you personaly and respect your comitment and knowledge. How ever its important for everyone to recognize that many at wdfw have acepted political realities as management realities. Politics is not Science. If you want to protect Kings, you close kings in areas they are threatened. If you want to protect coho or trout you do like wise.
Look at all the comercial and tribal fisheries in the state that are alowed huge by-catch on listed or threatend stocks while targeting their market fish.
If the field is not level, its just plain not science, and if its not science its piss poor managment.
OOPs, may have gotten a tad off topic here, sorry


Active Member
Uncle Jimmy said:
If the field is not level, its just plain not science, and if its not science its piss poor managment.


ahhhh, yep. hit that nail square. politics is in the drivers seat and has been for a very long time.

Milt Roe

Active Member
I don't even fish for them until they return, but I fail to see why fishing in open waters and C&Ring few dozen of the millions of recently released hatchery pen-reared coho is unethical. The program cranks these fish out for the tribes, sportsmen, and commercials to kill. They have no river to return to. They are cattle to be harvested same as the trout WDFW stocks in the lakes. They very likely negatively impact the naturally-produced coho (can't really call them wild anymore). The guilt trip from the ethics committee and other hand-wringers just doesn't resonate with me.

It wasn't that long ago that the run timings dictated the times we fished in the salt. Now I guess we all should track the pen release dates in our journals. Sorry if I offended those of you who do that.


Native Trout Hunter
I believe that this is more of an issue of legality and peoples willingness to break the law although ethics of using a loop hole to do so certainly go come into play. I am not saying that I agree with this law whole heartedly and I DO BELIEVE that is should have only applied to the stocks that are being protected and not all salmon. However just because I don't agree with it doesn't mean that I have the right to disobey it. Using the excuse that these are hatchery fish should not warrant the right to break the law. In know that steelhead fisheries with hatchery fish are closed often enough so is it ethical to fish for them just because they are from at hatchery. Or the same with lakes stocked with trout that are closed during the winter.

People who are fishing the narrows this time of the year and fish it reguarly should know that cutthroat are fairly rare at this beach, thus probably between 75% and 85% percent of the fish caught will be salmon. Other beaches such as Purdy for example have very few salmon that come through and so there would be less chance of catching them while they are closed and 75% to 85% would be cutthroat. I don't see any problem with fishing beaches with about a 50% range between cutts and residents but at the narrows where they are uncommon I have a problem with it. Yes there is going to be incidental catch but if you can limit it by fishing spots where it is less likely to occur than you should.

I know many people practice C&R for these resident coho and would argue that they are doing little damage, but anyone who has fished for residents should know that these fish tend to recklessly attack flies and often cause a good deal of harm to themselves. I use small hooks (8 to 10) because of this to try to keep them from hurting themselves to much but it still happens. If most people are using 4 to 6 there is going to be a fair amount of mortality associated with C&R. Using the accuse that these are all net pin fish doesn't cut it either because will the overwelming majority is I catch a good amount of wild residents each year too.

Beyond this the salmon fishery is ONLY closed for a month right now south of the narrows and will be open again to the north of the bridge within the week. What is really the big deal about not fishing beaches such as Narrow's Park for a month and going to spots a little deeper into the sound/ estuarys and targeting cutthroat or fishing to the north of the bridge when it opens on the 16th.

I don't believe that anyone on here was really saying that they want to see cutthroat closed down when salmon are closed, but you can bet that if people keep using this loophole to illegally fish for salmon that the state will close cutthroat in the future.