Washington’s 2023 Salmon Fishing seasons have been set and we are in for a great summer full of options! Chinook and Coho fishing opportunities will be similar to last year, and with about 4 million Pink Salmon migrating back to Puget Sound this year, we will have plenty of fish to catch. I wrote this post to help everyone understand what seasons to expect in each area, and a quick link to any in-season rule changes. This post will not be updated, so check out your favorite area’s salmon fishing season and then check back and use the links to each area’s emergency regulations before you head out.
I’m hoping you all schedule some time to fish with your family and friends this year, and I wish you all a successfull and safe Washington salmon fishing season!
How to use this season guide
Scroll down and check out the salmon fishing season in your favorite Washinton saltwater areas. Links to the official WDFW Salmon Seasons at the bottom of the post. I included a direct link to each marine area’s emergency regulations… so you can keep updated throughout the 2023 Washington salmon fishing season.
- Pacific Ocean – Marine Areas 1-4
- Strait & San Juan Islands – Marine Areas 5-7
- Puget Sound & Hood Canal – Marine Areas 8-13
Washington 2023 Pacific Ocean Salmon Fishing Seasons
Marine Area 1 – The ocean areas just outside the mouth of the mighty Columbia River is a favorite for those ready to cross the Columbia Bar and catch salmon as they stage before making the journey into the river. The port town of Ilwaco will be busy this year! Season is set to open June 24 and open seven days a week. Initially open for daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a Chinook over 22″. Hatchery Coho over 16″ can be kept, release Wild Coho.
In-river Buoy 10 area will open August 1 through September 4 (but closed Aug 21-23 and Aug 28-29) for Hatchery Chinook and Coho, with a later season also scheduled September 5 to December 31 for a daily limit of 3 Hatchery Coho.
- Marine Area 1 – 2023 Salmon Fishing Season Summary
- Buoy 10 – 2023 Salmon Fishing Season Summary
- Marine Area 1 Emergency Regulations
Marine Area 2 – Located just outside the Grays Harbor bar near Westport, this area is the self-proclaimed Salmon Capital of the World and rightfully so. Epic salmon fishing offshore out to the 300′ line, just outside the Harbor along the beach and anywhere in between, this is truly a world-class ocean salmon fishery. Season set to open June 24 for seven days a week with a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one of which may be a Chinook over 22″. Keep Hatchery Coho and release Wild Coho.
Willapa Bay (Marine Area 2-1) is set to open June 24 to July 31 with the same ocean rules as Marine Are 2. August 1 to January 31 2023 is open for a daily limit of 2 adult Salmon. Keep Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery or Wild Coho, the special Willapa Bay Control Zone will be open this year, but the North River Area will be closed from Aug 1 to Sept 30.
Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2-2) is set to open August 1 to September 15 in the North Bay for Wild or Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery Coho. Grays Harbor East Bay is open September 16 to November 1 for Wild or Hatchery Coho and Pinks.
Marine Area 3 – The North Coast is a little bit of a jaunt, but the rugged coastline and great salmon fishing from La Push, Washington makes the trip one you need to take. Season is set to open June 17 for seven days a week for a daily limit of 2 salmon, one can be a Chinook over 24″ and Hatchery Coho and Pinks.
Marine Area 4 – Neah Bay is a special place, and one that everyone needs to experience at least once. Explore the open ocean waters beyond Tatoosh Island, or stay inside the entrance of the Strait in more protected waters, both offer great salmon fishing. Season is set to open June 17 for seven days a week for a daily limit of 2 salmon, one can be a 24″ Chinook and Hatchery Coho and Pinks. Beginning August 1, you need to release Chinook east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line (Marine Area 4 East)
San Juan Island and Strait of Juan de Fuca 2023 Salmon Seasons
Marine Area 5 – Located on the outer edge of the Olympic Peninsula, the small harbor town of Sekiu is the jumping off point for many saltwater salmon anglers and great summer fishing is just outside Clallam Bay. Season is set for a July 1 to August 15 opener ( Daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a 22″ Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery Coho) and then August 16 to September 30 for Hatchery Coho and Pinks.
Marine Area 6 – This large area is accessible from Seqium and Port Angeles. Every Chinook and Coho headed back through the San Juan Islands and into Puget Sound transit through this area and forage off the numerous banks that pepper the Central and Eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca. Season is set for a July 1 opener. The western portion will open for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a 22″ Hatchery Chinook plus Hatchery Coho and Pinks July 1 to August 15, eastern will open for Hatchery Coho and Pinks only July 1 to August 15. August 16 to September 30 is Hatchery Coho and Pink season!
Marine Area 7 – Our San Juan Island archipelago’s rugged beauty is worthy of national park status, but instead this area offers island resorts, small villages and marinas that give Marine Area 7 anglers many jumping off points to hunt for salmon in the island’s many channels and passages. Season is set to open for Hatchery Chinook, Hatchery Coho and Pinks July 13 to July 15 (maybe more days if quota allows), during this time Bellingham and Samish Bay will not be open. Then from August 1 to August 31 for Hatchery Coho and Pinks. There will also be a September salmon season with a limit of 2 Salmon, one may be a Coho plus Pinks.
Puget Sound 2023 Salmon Seasons
Marine Area 8-1 – This quiet part of Puget Sound between Whidbey and Camano Islands offers locals a nearby option to target Coho later in the summer and fall. Season is set for August 1 to September 30 for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, Coho and Pinks.
Marine Area 8-2 – This area is Everett, Washington’s front door. A popular area to target Coho later in the season when they enter their final migration towards the Snohomish River. Season is set for August 1 to September 24 for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one may be a Coho plus Pinks.
There is also a unique “bubble fishery” in front of Tulalip Bay there you can fish for Hatchery and Wild Chinook (22″ min size), Coho and Pinks from May 26 to September 4, open Fridays through Mondays at noon each weekend (This year it is closed June 10) with a daily limit of 2 Salmon, release Chum. Tulalip Bubble will reopen September 9 to 24 on Saturdays and Sundays only for Chinook, Coho and Pinks with a daily limit of 2 Salmon.
Marine Area 9 – Admiralty Inlet funnels all inbound Puget Sound salmon towards a few key fishing areas. Mid-Channel Bank, Possession and other areas really draw a crowd during salmon season, and rightfully so. Season is set to open July 13 to July 31, Thursday-Friday-Saturday only for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a 22″ Hatchery Chinook plus Hatchery Coho and Pinks. Another opener August 1 to September 17 daily for Hatchery Coho and Pinks, and again September 18 to September 30 for Hatchery and Wild Coho plus Pinks.
Marine Area 10 – Most of this area is within sight of the Seattle skyline, and it never ceases to amaze me how great salmon fishing can be so close to home at places like Jeff Head, Kingston, Bainbridge and just outside Shilshole Bay. Season is set to open June 1 to July 12 for Hatchery or Wild Coho and Pinks, daily limit of 2 Salmon. Opener July 13 to August 31 for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a 22″ Hatchery Chinook plus Hatchery and Wild Coho and Pinks. Late season opener September 1 to October 31 for Coho.
Downtown Seattle’s Elliott Bay will open for Hatchery or Wild Chinook plus Coho and Pinks on August 4 to 7 (closes at noon on the 7th). Second opener is August 18 to 31 for Coho and Pinks.
Sinclair Inlet near Port Orchard has a special season from July 16 to September 30 for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a 22″ Hatchery Chinook plus Coho and Pinks. The rest of the year it shares the same season with the rest of Marine Area 10.
Marine Area 11 – Vashon to several classic salmon spots in Tacoma and Gig Harbor gives South Sound anglers plenty of options. Season set to open June 1 to September 30 (Thursdays thru Sundays) for a daily limit of 2 Salmon, one can be a 22″ Hatchery Chinook plus Hatchery or Wild Coho and Pinks. Second opener is October 1 to October 31 for Hatchery or Wild Coho plus Pinks (also a daily limit of 2 Salmon). ***Reopens in July***
Marine Area 12 – Hood Canal, our very own fjord, has some really impressive hatchery programs and great fishing for those that want to get off the beaten path.
Season is set for South of Ayock Point July 10 to September 30 for a daily limit of 4 Salmon, any can be Hatchery Chinook over 20″ plus Hatchery or Wild Coho and Pinks. October 1 to 31, daily limit of 4 Salmon, which can be Coho or Pinks (release Chum until Oct 15).
North of Ayock Point is set to open July 10 to October 31 with a daily limit of 4 Salmon, any can be Coho or Pinks (release Chum until Oct 15). Quilcene Bay is set to open August 1 to August 31 for Coho.
Marine Area 13 – Generous seasons here in the Deep South Sound gives anglers the entire year to explore Fox Island, South Narrows, Nisqually Reach and other areas. Fishing is open thru June 30 already for the remainder of the 2023 season for Hatchery Chinook, Hatchery Coho and Pinks. There are a few closure areas here, so you will want to check the official WDFW regulations… which you should be doing anyways no matter where you plan on fishing!
Washington’s Salmon Season Process
Washington’s salmon season setting process is a long and arduous one. The state’s WDFW is resonsible for protecting weak salmon stocks from over harvest, all while trying to offer all the user groups a chance to harvest as much as is available throughout the state. We get final word every spring on what our salmon seasons will look like. This year looks pretty good!
Navigating Washington’s Changing Fishing Regulations
The culmination of the North of Falcon season setting process is a final fishing season for all marine areas in Washington State. Once this happens, we will know just how many salmon are available for harvest in each marine area. We especially are concerned with Chinook, because of their popularity, and therefore each area will have a catch quota. Ocean waters will have a quota for Chinook and Coho. As the season ramps up, catch rates are closely monitored and many areas will see an in-season adjustment (early closure) so that we don’t overfish… if fishing is just that good!
How to find updated fishing regulations
Salmon seasons are confirmed in the spring, here is the official news release, but our 2023-24 Washington Fishing Regulation pamphlet is valid from July 1 to June 30 of the following year, and usually isn’t published until sometime in June. Many areas open before that is published, so you can find the early information here at WDFW 2023 Salmon Seasons. As these fisheries occur, there may be in-season changes via an Emergency Rule Change, and you should always cross check the marine area on that page before heading out fishing.
Wishing you a safe and successful 2023 Salmon Fishing Season!
Have a great year out there everyone! I’m looking forward to getting out as much as possible on the chase for Washington salmon! Best of luck!