The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife opened the Skagit River to coho fishing Wednesday, Sept. 28.
Coho fishing had been closed on the river to protect returning coho, because numbers were expected to be low.
“They smacked the fish pretty good (Wednesday morning) on the lower river, and I know if you were up at Rockport you likely whacked them there too,” says Brett Barkdull, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Fishing was also opened on the Cascade and Sauk rivers, tributaries of the Skagit.
Testing conducted by state and tribal officials showed returns to be much stronger—nearly four times stronger than expected.
Fish and Wildlife set the daily limit of coho at four, with no more than two being wild.
“There are a lot of hatchery coho in the upriver sections. Actually, your chance of catching a four-fish (daily limit) is much higher upriver, but the fish in the lower sections will be in much better shape,” Barkdull says.
Besides coho fishing, anglers can also try for various species of trout on the rivers, including Dolly Varden/bull trout and steelhead.
Consult the Fish and Wildlife Rule Change for specific locations on the rivers that can be fished, along with further catch limits.
The season will run through Nov. 30.