RECREATIONAL SHRIMP FISHERIES will open across the North Olympic Peninsula on Saturday, May 11, a week later than in 2018.
Shellfish managers scheduled the later opening date based on tidal conditions. The season opening date will allow shrimpers to take advantage of tides that should maximize success in areas with the shortest seasons, said Don Velasquez, a shellfish biologist for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“This is a popular fishery, and the volume of boats using the ramps will require some patience and courtesy,” he said. “Fishers should allow extra time for launching their boats to ensure they’re in the water when fishing opens.”
May 11 also is a scheduled date for the halibut fishery, so expect boat ramps to be extra busy that day.
Though the season opens May 11 for all shrimp (spot, pink and coonstripe shrimp), people are mostly fishing for spot shrimp, Velasquez said.
Also known as prawns, spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in Puget Sound and may grow up to nine inches long.
Recreational shrimp season opening days are:
•Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line) and 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca): Open daily beginning May 11. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained.
• Marine Area 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open Thursday through Sunday each week beginning May 11. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained.
• Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 11, 15, 29, and June 1.
• Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 11 and from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 15.
• Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 11, 15, 29 and June 1.
Additional dates and times will be announced if sufficient quota remains after the initial fishing days scheduled above.
In all areas of Puget Sound, fishers are limited to 80 shrimp a day (if open) during the month of May. A valid 2019-20 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in the fishery.
Velasquez reminds shrimpers that traps can be set one hour before official sunrise during any open period in marine areas 4, 5, 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), 7 East, 7 South, and 7 West only.
As an example, one hour before sunrise is approximately 4:40 a.m. May 11.
The pots must be removed from the water in these same areas by one hour after sunset at the end of an open period. The start and end times for the other areas are listed above.
More information on sport shrimp seasons, and a description of the marine areas, is available at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfishing-regulations/shrimp.
Kid’s Fishing Day
The Water Reclamation Pond at Carrie Blake Park is the venue for Sequim’s annual Kids Fishing Day on Saturday
Sponsored by the North Olympic Peninsula chapter of Puget Sound Anglers in conjunction with the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and the city of Sequim.
Fishing begins at 8 a.m. and concludes at 2 p.m.
The club provides rods and reels, bait, volunteers to bait hooks and remove fish and cleaning, icing and bagging fish.
No fishing license is required for kids ages 14 and younger. There is a two-fish limit. A kiddy pond for those 4 and younger will also be on site.
If all that fishing makes anglers hungry and thirsty, hot dogs and drinks will be offered for 50 cents and erved up by club volunteers from the on-loan Swain’s General Store concession stand.
“It’s always a fun day and the kids will catch fish,” anglers’ member Sherry Anderson said.
The pond at Carrie Blake will be stocked with 2,625 catchable rainbows before the event and a share of 610 jumbos planned for April, October and November releases.
Sports reporter/columnist Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]