North Puget Sound: Anglers are still finding coho in the regions rivers and even some marine areas, but most of the action for salmon will shift to blackmouth in Puget Sound. For those fishing fresh waters in the Puget Sound area, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) has been stocking 44 western Washington lakes with some 125,000 catchable-size trout this fall and winter.
Meanwhile, fishing for blackmouth salmon gets under way in marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island, and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner). Anglers fishing those marine areas have a two-salmon daily limit, but must release wild chinook. Anglers are reminded that Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands) closes to salmon retention Nov. 1. Marine areas 9 and 10 are closed to blackmouth-chinook retention. Blackmouth are resident Puget Sound chinook salmon.
Anglers support the blackmouth winter chinook fishery through their license purchase, a portion of which goes to the Puget Sound Recreational Fisheries Enhancement Fund. The fund currently supports a variety of recreational fishing opportunities through the release of more than 1 million yearling and almost 9 million sub-yearling chinook each year.
As October came to a close, saltwater anglers were also reeling in increasing numbers of large and powerful chum salmon. Good bets in coming weeks include Point No Point off the north end of the Kitsap Peninsula and Possession Bar south of Whidbey Island.
While on the Sound, why not drop a crab pot? Sport crabbing is open in most marine areas of Puget Sound seven days a week through Dec. 31. The exception is Marine Area 10 (Seattle-Bremerton), which is closed to recreational crab fishing.
The daily catch limit in Puget Sound is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6¼ inches. In addition, fishers may catch six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least 5 inches across.
All Dungeness crab kept in the late-season fishery must be recorded on winter catch cards, which are valid until Dec. 31. Winter cards are available at license vendors across the state. Those catch reports are due to WDFW by Feb. 1, 2016.