Arlington angler John Nunnally caught this king in July 2020 while fishing near Skagway off Neah Bay with his cousin Chad Huffman. The fish weighed in at 31.7 pounds at Mason's Resort in Sekiu.

OUTDOORS: King quota up off Neah Bay, coho totals down

OCEAN-GOING ANGLERS will open the summer salmon season next Friday when the chinook fishery opens off Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) and La Push (Marine Area 3).

Sekiu and Port Angeles in Marine Areas 5 and 6 will join the dance floor on July 1, and Admiralty Inlet (Marine Area 9) will open on a Thursday-to-Saturday schedule beginning July 18.

Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay)

From June 22 through Sept. 15, the fishery will be open seven days per week with a daily limit of two salmon, one of which may be a chinook; no chum may be retained beginning Aug. 1.

Chinook minimum size is 24 inches and the hatchery-marked coho minimum size is 16 inches. Anglers must release wild coho.

The Marine Area 4 Chinook guideline is 9,430 vs. 8,710 in 2023 and the coho quota is 8,300 (16,600 in 2023).

In Marine Area 4, waters east of a true north-south line running through Sail Rock to the mouth of the Sekiu River are closed from June 22 through July 31.

No chinook retention is allowed east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line beginning Aug. 1. The area bounded by a line from Kydaka Point to Shipwreck Point is closed to salmon angling.

Marine Area 3 (La Push)

La Push will be open seven days per week June 22 through Sept. 15 with a daily limit of two salmon, one of which may be a chinook; no chum may be retained beginning Aug. 1.

The chinook minimum size is 24 inches and hatchery-marked coho minimum size is 16 inches. Anglers must release wild coho.

The overall Marine Area 3 Chinook guideline is 1,630 (1,590 in 2023) and the coho quota is 2,070 (4,150 in 2023).

Coast-wide, The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) approved a recreational Chinook catch quota of 41,000 fish, up slightly from last year’s quota of 39,000. The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, also adopted a quota of 79,800 hatchery-marked coho for this year’s recreational ocean fishery — a significant reduction from 2023’s hatchery-coho quota of 159,600 silvers.

The state Department of Fish and Wildlife uses in-season management to sustain season length and keep harvest within the overall chinook and hatchery-marked coho recreational total allowable catch for north of Cape Falcon in all four marine areas.

These areas could close earlier if the quota is met.

To check catch totals during the summer, visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/creel/ocean.

More coho coming?

Quilcene angler and part-time tackle maker Ward Norden weighed in on salmon projections, and his conclusions are a little different than the regulatory council.

“We should have a good return of coho this year from the Pacific that may be a little better than last year,” Norden said. “Hopefully, the coho will be bigger than last year’s, which were eerily small when I observed them as they returned to the hatchery in Quilcene. The size of the returning coho depends on the food supply in June and July. There should be plenty of resident coho.”

Crab season released

Recreational crabbing will begin July 1 across the North Olympic Peninsula and run through Sept. 2 with crabbing allowed Thursday through Monday. Pots must be out of the water on closed days.

“The 2024 summer season is similar to what was in place for summer 2023,” said Don Velasquez, crustacean biologist with Fish and Wildlife.

“Some areas with continued low abundance of Dungeness crab will see limited seasons or remain closed this year to continue to promote Dungeness population rebuilding.”

Crabbing will be closed July 2-3 in Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line and Marine Areas 5, 6, 8-1, 8-2, 9 and a portion of 12 north of a line projected due east from Ayock Point. These areas will reopen for the July 4 holiday. Summer crab seasons are typically closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays in Puget Sound marine areas.

Low tides July 4

Extreme low tides during and immediately after the July 4 holiday will also pose a challenge for people launching boats at some sites.

Recreational crabbers should target the portion of the day with the least tide exchange and make sure their crab pots are properly weighted down during these extreme low tides to avoid traps moving and becoming lost. Crabbers can find helpful information on how to properly weight crab pots by going to the Northwest Straits Commission webpage.

Crabbers are also reminded to avoid deploying crab pots and gear in ferry lanes. Crab pots and gear in ferry lanes have caused serious damage to ferries in the past.

This summer’s crab seasons are scheduled to open as follows:

Marine Area 4, Marine Area 5, Marine Area 6, Marine Area 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal) are open July 1 through Sept. 2 with crabbing allowed Thursdays through Mondays only.

The daily limit is five Dungeness crab, males only, in hard-shell condition with a minimum carapace width of 6 1/4 inches. Fishers may also keep six red rock crab of either sex per day in open areas, provided the crab are in hard-shell condition and measure at least 5 inches carapace width.

Crab fishers may not set or pull shellfish gear from a vessel from one hour after official sunset to one hour before official sunrise. Each unattended trap must have its own buoy line and a separate buoy that is permanently and legibly marked with the first name, last name and permanent address of the licensed crabber.

Crab catch cards will be due Oct. 1.

Recreational crabbing season will run Thursdays through Mondays from July 1 through Sept. 2.

Recreational crabbing season will run Thursdays through Mondays from July 1 through Sept. 2.

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