The biggest news of the season is the announcement of Washington’s 2022 Salmon fishing seasons. Forecasted returns look really good this year so we should have a great season throughout the state. I put together an overview of each marine area’s salmon season. This post will give you a decent idea of when everything opens, and I specifically didn’t include daily limits, size restrictions or other rules because I want you all to look at the rule book before you head out! Most of these are quota based fisheries so always check before you head out.
Scroll down to your favorite marine areas to see what we have in store for seasons, and at the bottom of this post I share some key links to WDFW regulations and how to navigate the salmon season. Have a great season everyone!
Washington 2022 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. Season is set to open June 25 for seven days a week for Chinook and Hatchery Coho.
In-river Buoy 10 area will open August 1 through August 24 for Hatchery Chinook and Coho, with a later season also scheduled September 8 to December 31 for Hatchery Coho.
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 July 2 for seven days a week for Chinook and Hatchery Coho.
Willapa Bay (Marine Area 2-1) is set to open July 2 to July 31 with the same ocean rules as Marine Are 2. August 1 to January 31 2023 is open for Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery or Wild Coho, there are a few closure areas in Willapa starting August 1 so carefully review the regulations.
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.
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 18 for seven days a week for Chinook and Hatchery Coho.
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 18 for seven days a week for Chinook and Hatchery Coho. 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 2022 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 (Hatchery Chinook & Coho) and then August 16 to September 28 for Hatchery Coho.
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 Hatchery Chinook and Coho July 1 to August 15, eastern will open for Hatchery Coho only July 1 to August 15. August 16 to September 28 is Hatchery Coho 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 and Coho July 14 to July 16 (maybe more days if quota allows), and August 16 to September 30 for Hatchery Coho. There is a Bellingham Bay fishery August 16 to September 30 where you can retain Hatchery or Wild Chinook and Coho.
Puget Sound 2022 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 13 to September 19 for Hatchery Coho.
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 13 to September 19 for Hatchery Coho. There is also a unique “bubble fishery” in front of Tulalip Bay there you can fish for Hatchery and Wild Chinook and Coho from May 27 to September 5, open Fridays through Mondays at noon each weekend. There may be intermittent closures between July 15 to August 15 if they need to see more return to the hatchery. Tulalip Bubble will reopen September 10 to 25 on Saturdays and Sundays only for Chinook and Coho.
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 14 to July 23, Thursday-Friday-Saturday only for Hatchery Chinook and Coho. Another opener July 28 to August 15 daily for Hatchery Chinook and Coho, and again August 16 to September 25 for Hatchery Coho.
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 16 to July 13 for Hatchery or Wild Coho. Opener July 14 to August 31 for Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery and Wild Coho. Late season opener September 1 to October 31 for Coho.
East Elliott Bay will open for Hatchery or Wild Chinook and Coho August 5 to 8. Second opener is August 20 to 31 for Coho.
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 for Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery or Wild Coho. Second opener is October 1 to October 31 for Hatchery or Wild Coho.
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 1 to September 30 for Hatchery Chinook and Hatchery or Wild Coho. North of Ayock Point is set to open September 1 to September 30 for Hatchery or Wild Coho. 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 2021/22 season for Hatchery Chinook and Coho. Season is set to open July 1 to September 30 for Hatchery Chinook and Coho. Starting October 1 to June 20 2023 you can continue to fish for Hatchery Chinook and Coho. The reason for the redundancy is that minimum sizes change so check the regulations!
Washington’s Salmon Season Process
Washington State has many rivers where our five salmon species return to spawn. Because of the importance of protecting each return from overfishing, the requirement to protect under-producing runs, and equitably sharing the catch between recreational, tribal, and non-tribal commercial groups, Washington has an arduous salmon season setting process. This months-long effort includes stakeholders from the State of Washington (WDFW), federal agencies, our numerous tribes that have fishing rights, and the public. Once all the science is laid on the table and runs are forecast, negotiations between all the groups gives us an agreed-to salmon fishing season for all of our marine waters.
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, but our 2022-23 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 2022 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.
2022 is going to be a great year to be a Salmon Angler!
Ocean conditions are pretty darned good, and because of that we should see a stellar year of salmon fishing throughout Washington. My final word is that I hope you all have a successful season and feel free to cruise by and say hi if you see me out on the water! Best of luck everyone!