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Get ready for the crab opener
For all you crabbers who haven’t had a chance to check your gear since the last time the pots got dropped in the water, now is the time to get prepared.
Beginning July 1, crab fishing will open in Marine area 8-1, Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay; area 8-2, Port Susan and Port Gardner; and area 9, Admiralty Inlet.
Crab fishing in all areas around Whidbey Island will be open on a Wednesday through Saturday schedule, plus the entire Labor Day weekend.
Crabbing is one of the most popular recreational fisheries in Puget Sound and each year, sport fishers catch more than a million pounds of Dungeness Crab using pots, ring nets and in the case of wade and dive fishers, their bare hands.
Puget Sound has a daily limit of five Dungeness Crab, all of which must be males, with a minimum size of six-and-one-quarter inches.
Also, crabbers may harvest six Red Rock Crab of any sex, with a minimum size of five inches.
For those who don’t want to wait until July 1 to get out on the water, portions of the Skagit, Cascade and Skykomish rivers are open for hatchery chinook salmon fishing, said Brett Barkdull, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife fish biologist.
The Skagit is open to hatchery chinook retention from the Highway 530 bridge at Rockport to the Cascade River. On the Cascade, anglers can fish from the mouth of the river to the Rockport-Cascade Road Bridge. Both stretches are open through July 15.
The daily limit on the Skagit and Cascade rivers is four hatchery chinook, two of which may be adults, chinook salmon at least 24 inches in length. Barkdull noted that statewide rules require anglers to stop fishing for salmon once they have kept two adults.
Elsewhere, trout fishing is open on several of the region’s rivers and streams. Under the statewide rule for trout, there is a two-fish daily limit and a minimum size of eight inches in rivers and streams. However, some of the region’s rivers and streams have a rule requiring trout to be at least 14 inches in length to keep.
The region’s spot shrimp fishery is closed, but shrimpers can fish for coonstripe and pink shrimp in some marine areas.
For details on areras still open for shrimp fisheries check the WDFW’s Web site at wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/shrimpreg/shrimpindex.shtml.
Before heading out, anglers should check the rules and regulations for all fisheries on the WDFW’s Web site at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm.
Good luck and have fun.