Washington salmon fishing regulations are some of the most complex fishing regulations in the world. The Department of Fish and Wildlife does its best to keep these regulations as simple as possible while providing the most salmon fishing opportunity possible. However, numerous issues have made simple regulations a thing of the past. Complex regulations can be attributed to:
1) sharing harvest with co-managers,
2) protecting weak stocks,
3) protecting fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act,
4) meeting requirements laid out in the Pacific Salmon Treaty, and finally
5) addressing dis-orderly fisheries, e.g. snagging issues.
While the regulations may be complex, once you get a feel for how they are written, they become easier to understand. Assistance in understanding the salmon regulations can be obtained from our wonderful customer service staff at (360) 902-2700. This service is provided from 8 am to 5 pm, Monday through Friday.
Salmon regulations change year-to-year, or even weekly if in-season updates indicate a particular run is weaker or stronger than anticipated. Some salmon fisheries are based on catch quotas and can close very quickly when the quota is reached. So be sure to check the Regulation Pamphlet and emergency regulations on this website to make sure the area you want to fish is open. Emergency regulations can be issued that modify and supercede the regulations listed in the pamphlet. It is the angler’s responsibility to know if emergency regulations have been issued for the water they are fishing.