North Puget Sound: Anglers are hooking bright ocean coho in several areas of Puget Sound, where increasing numbers of salmon are expected to arrive throughout the month.
Point No Point, Jefferson Head, Possession Bar and Shipwreck should be good spots to catch coho, said Ryan Lothrop, recreational salmon fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Anglers fishing those areas or other waters of marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) have a daily limit of two salmon, but must release chinook. In Marine Area 10, anglers also must continue to release chum salmon through Sept. 15, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 9.
"We've seen catches of coho improve over the last two weeks of August in Puget Sound," Lothrop said. "Fishing should continue to be good as more coho make their way into the area."
Marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner) are also open for salmon. Anglers fishing those two marine areas have a two-salmon daily limit, but must release chinook salmon.
Another option is Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands), where anglers have a daily limit of two salmon, one of which can be a chinook. Anglers in Marine Area 7 must release chum and wild coho.
Lothrop said the best bet for freshwater anglers fishing for coho salmon in the region might be the Snohomish and Skagit rivers, where abundant runs are expected to return this year. Other options for coho include the Nooksack, Skykomish, Snoqualmie, and Stillaguamish rivers.
Meanwhile, the summer recreational crab season will close in most areas of Puget Sound at sunset on Labor Day. The only two areas of the Sound that will remain open to crab fishing after Labor Day are marine areas 7-North (Gulf of Georgia) and 7-South (San Juan Islands/Bellingham). Crabbing in those two areas is open through Sept. 29, Thursdays through Mondays only.
Sport fishers who crab in marine areas 7-North and 7-South after Labor Day must record their catch on winter catch record cards. Winter cards are now available at sporting goods stores and other license vendors across the state.
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. Fishers may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day, provided those crab measure at least five inches across, are in hard-shell condition and have a minimum carapace width of five inches.
Crabbers are reminded that their summer catch record cards are due to WDFW by midnight Oct. 1 and must be returned whether or not the cardholder caught crab or fished for crab during the season. Crabbers who fail to file catch reports for 2014 will face a $10 fine, which will be imposed when they apply for a 2015 Puget Sound crab endorsement. Completed summer cards can be mailed in or submitted online after Labor Day.
WDFW will announce winter crab seasons for Puget Sound in early October, after completing its assessment of the summer fishery.
Elsewhere, Lake Sammamish is open for salmon fishing, with a daily limit of four salmon, of which two may be chinook. All sockeye must be released, and fishing is closed within 100 yards of the mouth of Issaquah Creek. Lake Washington, Sammamish Lake's larger neighbor, opens Sept. 16 to coho fishing, with a very strong forecast. Anglers will be allowed four coho per day (minimum size 12 inches) from waters north of the Highway 520 Bridge and east of the Montlake Bridge.