Puget Sound Coho | Recreationals Still Shut Out

Last year at this time recreational Puget Sound Coho fisheries were still going strong. The creel count from this date last year shows 350+ anglers caught 350+ Coho between the Straits and South Puget Sound… This year, with stronger than anticipated runs, we continue to be puzzled by the failure to open Puget Sound to recreational fishing.

We’re digging as to why recreational marine fisheries remain closed and have not found any satisfactory answer. As we detailed in an article late last week, the marine area outside the Puyallup river is being gill netted by the Puyallup Tribe, and recreational coho fisheries are open on the river itself — seemingly removing the last reason to exclude recreational access from Puget Sound marine areas.

More puzzling, this weekend there were non-tribal commercial gill-net fisheries in Area 10 and 11 (Seattle & Tacoma). Non-tribal gill-netting will continue later this week, as detailed in this announcement from the WDFW. This de-prioritization of recreational fishing stands in direct contrast to the oversize share of Department revenue paid by sport-fishermen. It also contradicts Governor Inslee’s direction from this time last year to consider the economic benefits recreational fisheries when setting seasons.

It remains our view that 2016 will be historically unbalanced in terms of Puget Sound recreational fisheries, Coho in particular. Every day that goes by further marginalizes the recreational fishing community — and makes the upcoming fee increase on sport-fishing licenses all the more questionable.

We reached out to the WDFW (Ron Warren + Public Affairs) for comments on this issue last week and have not received any response.

CORRECTION – Previous versions of this article described the Puyallup Tribal fisheries as in the river itself, when they in fact are marine fisheries/Area 11 just outside the river mouth.

9 Comments on "Puget Sound Coho | Recreationals Still Shut Out"

  1. Is the Puyallup River open for gillnets? Called the fisheries hotline at 253-845-7747 and it says it’s still closed.

    • [After reaching out directly to Pat Pattillo, it appears someone is impersonating him here on Tidal Exchange… Pat, who formerly worked at WDFW, and currently advises fishing groups during the North of Falcon process.]

      We’ve made the correction – Puyallup Tribal gill-net fisheries are in Marine Area 11 just outside the river, not in the river itself. The substance of this piece is unchanged but the specifics are now correct. -Ed

  2. Perry Menchaca | October 18, 2016 at 4:02 pm | Reply

    Mr. Pattillo, Pretty quick to jump on the in river tribal net error, but we’re still waiting for you to explain why the gill-nets are in the salt and my barbless hook and sports dollars ARE NOT???

  3. This article makes it seem as though the Puyallup River is open at this time for Coho. It is not. You may only retain 2 Adult Chum Salmon – no Chinook or Coho at this time.Basically the Sport anglers were completely shut out to Chinook and Coho retention this year on the river! State it correctly or not at all. My Skokomish River was shut down to me, My Capital Lake fishery was shut down to me, my Nisqually River was closed down for 2 months right in the heart of the runs and have been completely shut out on the Puyallup River for Chinook and Coho. I believe it is corruption and Tribal Big Casino money manipulating officials in local government! I will not be purchasing a license in 2017! WDFW has screwed this angler for the last time. I hope brother anglers in Washington State will do the same! Maybe if enough anglers boycott 2017 licenses they will think twice before continually screwing them!

  4. https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=1884

    Fishing Rule Change

    Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife

    October 14, 2016

    Puyallup River will open to retention of hatchery coho

    Action: Retention of hatchery coho is permitted.

    Effective dates: Oct.16, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2016.

    Species affected: Coho salmon

    Location: Mainstem Puyallup River from 11th Street Bridge to the mouth of the Carbon River.

    Reasons for action: Egg-take goals have been met at Voights Creek Hatchery. Due to continued uncertainty surrounding wild coho escapement and conservation goals, anglers are required to release wild coho and wild steelhead.

    Other information: Regulations in the Puyallup River now allow for the retention of 2 chum salmon as described by the Sport fishing Rules 2016/2017. Effective Oct. 16 through Dec. 31, up to 2 adults may be retained of which only 2 may be any combination of chum and hatchery coho. Release chinook salmon and wild coho.

    Information contact: James P. Losee (360) 902-2741, james.losee@dfw.wa.gov or Tara Livingood (360) 628-4223, tara.livingood@dfw.wa.gov

    Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license. Check the WDFW “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing regulations are subject to change. Call the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules or check the WDFW webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ for details on fishing seasons and regulations. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360) 796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

  5. Here is my comment. I Wil not be buying a 2017 license. I will be using my 2016 license next summer when and if area 11 opens back up. I got robbed from WDFW by taking away my fishing season. Now if I want to fish I have to drive and tow my boat,paying more taxes,to go learn another over fished area…. let’s get Smart here WDFW…. you close down several areas and push the fisherman to fish the open areas and put even more pressure on those areas. … Humm. Logic?

  6. Mike Rodriguez | October 19, 2016 at 3:36 am | Reply

    Because of this and other issues, this year I’ve decided to use my micro-market power and spend elsewhere. I purchased a license, a mistake I will not repeat. I spent zero on fuel, tackle, bait, launch fees, tournaments etc. My plan next year is to purchase a BC license and do a little trout fishing in Canada.

    This Coho fishery issue is a symptom of a much larger dysfunction of The State.

    Mike R.
    Arlington, WA

  7. My boat never hit the sound last year, after buying a license! This is bullshit! This year’s coho wasn’t affected by last year’s drought! They stayed in deeper water farther out, and returned all the way into January! Also if this is a 2-4 year fish, obviously this was not a year to keep the sportsman off the water, it will be another year to 3 years it would be affected.
    I think the fish have been doing this return thing for so many centuries, they know when it’s hot, low on water, and know when to swim upstream. It’s not their first fucking drought year!
    And now you idiots want to increase license fees??!! What the fuck for, A hand full of fish per year?
    Get your head out of your ass wdfg!!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.