OUTDOORS: Hatchery chinook limit raised starting Friday in Marine Area 6

*Today refers to Friday, March 15.

A TWO-HATCHERY chinook bag limit is back in effect for Marine Area 6 (Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca) as of today, according to state Department of Fish and Wildlife Puget Sound recreational salmon manager David Stormer.

“You’ll remember we reduced it to one up there. The Washington Administrative Code coming out of North of Falcon last season was one but there was an error in the [fishing regulations] pamphlet,” Stormer said early Thursday afternoon before the rule change was made official later in the day.

“We are increasing the bag limit to two effective [today].”

Stormer said with blackmouth fishing scheduled to run through April 15, anglers were well-within the area’s chinook guideline.

“The in-season estimate for Area 6 jumped a bit from the last estimate two weeks ago, largely due to influence of the [Olympic Peninsula Salmon] Derby,” Stormer said.

“In Area 6, we are at 34 percent of the quota and that’s why we made the decision to increase the bag limit.”

Area 9 looks just fine

Stormer also provided information on the blackmouth season in Marine Area 9.

“I don’t think there was as much impact overall like it had on Area 6 in Area 9,” Stormer said.

“Area 9 is about halfway through the total encounters guideline of 8,336 and about two-thirds of the way through the season, so we are tracking well to get through a full season for Marine Area 9.”

The prospect of warmer weather may increase angler effort this weekend, but Stormer is still confident anglers will get to fish for blackmouth through mid-April.

“With the weather expected to improve and if creel reports continue to show strong catch totals, the effort might up a bit, but in terms of where we are relative to the guidelines, we should be able to finish off a full season together.”

And Stormer hinted that Area 9 anglers could potentially see a two-fish limit next month if the catch guideline is not expected to be realized via the current daily limit.

ONP access

The Olympic National Park Wilderness Information Center will transition to an online reservation system through Recreation.gov beginning at noon Monday.

The new online reservation system will allow backpackers to check the availability of sites in real time, plan their trip and receive confirmation and streamline the park’s wilderness permit reservations.

Reservation requests also can be submitted in person at a Park Wilderness Information Center during business hours.

A third option for phone reservations will be functional by late April. This option will allow users to call the Recreation.gov call center at 877-444-6777 to obtain a reservation. The call center will be available for assistance with navigating the website beginning Monday.

The fee for online, phone, or in person reservations will be $6, in addition to the regular permit fees. Wilderness Permit fees are $8 per person, per night for individuals 16 or older. Annual Wilderness Passes are $45 per person (annual flat rate), which covers regular permit fees for the pass holder.

Reservations are strongly encouraged when planning trips that include one or more nights to quota areas and group sites:

Ozette Coast (Yellow Banks to Point of the Arches); Royal Basin/Royal Lake; Lake Constance; Upper Lena Lake; Flapjack Lakes (including Gladys Divide); Grand Valley and Badger Valley; Sol Duc/Seven Lakes Basin; Hoh Lake and CB Flats; Hoh River Trail group sites and the Upper Hoh River Trail sites (Elk Lake, Glacier Meadows, Martin Creek).

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