North Puget Sound: October is primetime for coho fishing in the region, where anglers should continue to find fish in the marine areas. Meanwhile, crab fishing reopens in most areas of Puget Sound and state hatchery crews will be planting 340,000 trout in lakes throughout Western Washington.
The best action for coho likely will be in the rivers later in the month.
"Anglers can still find coho salmon in the marine areas in early October, but fishing in the rivers will steadily improve as the month progresses," said Ryan Lothrop, Puget Sound recreational salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Several rivers are open in October for salmon fishing, including the Nooksack, Skagit, Cascade, Stillaguamish, Snohomish, Skykomish, Wallace, Snoqualmie and Green. Regulations vary for each body of water, so anglers should check WDFW's sportfishing regulations pamphlet before heading out.
Known hotspots for coho in North Puget Sound include Point No Point, Jefferson Head, Possession Bar, Deception Pass and Shipwreck. Fishing regulations for those areas and other waters of marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) change in October. Beginning Oct. 1, anglers fishing Marine Area 9 will have a daily limit of two salmon, but must release all chinook. Those fishing Marine Area 10 will have a two-salmon daily limit, but must release wild chinook.
Anglers looking to get an early start on the region's blackmouth season might also want to head to Marine Area 10, said Lothrop, noting that wild chinook must be released for this area.
Another option for blackmouth anglers is Marine Area 7 (San Juan Islands), where anglers can keep one chinook as part of a two-salmon daily limit beginning Oct. 1. Marine Area 7 anglers must also release all wild chinook and wild coho in October.
Other salmon fishing options include marine areas 8-1 (Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay) and 8-2 (Port Susan and Port Gardner). Anglers fishing those marine areas in October have a daily limit of two salmon but must release chinook.
Anglers support the blackmouth 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 one million yearling and almost nine million sub-yearling chinook each year.
Except for portions of Hood Canal, chum salmon may be retained in all marine areas this month. Anglers fishing Hood Canal should refer to page 116 of the fishing rules pamphlet for details. Also check the fishing regulations for specifics on retention of chum in inland lakes and rivers. Chum salmon must be released on some area rivers, including the Skagit, Nooksack South Fork, Cascade, Stillaguamish, Snohomish, Skykomish, Wallace, Snoqualmie and Carbon rivers.
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 also is open to salmon fishing. Anglers are allowed four coho per day (minimum size 12 inches) from waters north of the Highway 520 Bridge and east of the Montlake Bridge. According to the preseason forecast, 22,707 coho salmon will return to Lake Washington this year, and many have already arrived.
Meanwhile, most marine areas of Puget Sound reopen for recreational crab seven days a week from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31. The exceptions are Marine Area 10 (Seattle-Bremerton) and 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island), which will remain 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 crab caught in the late-season fishery should 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, 2015.
For those who have not been back recently, WDFWs Fish Washington website, an essential resource for lowland lakes anglers, now includes new features to help both high lakes and marine area anglers discover the best places to fish in October.
Finally, WDFW will stock some 300,000 trout in Western Washington lakes starting in October. This is nearly four times more fish than were released last fall in Western Washington. To learn more about locations and stocking schedules as the month progresses, watch WDFWs news page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.