Salmon fishing in Washington has decreased dramatically since the early 1970s, affecting tribal fishing, tribal treaty obligations, recreational anglers, and commercial fishing businesses.
While important during the initial federal listings, today harvest in Washington has been curtailed significantly and is not a primary factor limiting salmon recovery. Fishing in Washington State is highly managed and relies primarily on hatcheries. More than 80 percent of the salmon caught in the ocean and rivers comes from hatcheries. In addition, a significant portion of the overall harvest of salmon originating from Washington occurs in Canada and Alaska.
Protection and restoration of habitat, addressing predation, and mitigating the impacts from climate change must be pursued to fully benefit from the restrictions that have been applied to fishing for recovery.
Fishing in Washington has declined since the early 1970s by about 50 percent for Chinook and 80 percent for coho salmon, both wild and hatchery.
Chart Data Source: Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Data is for hatchery and wild coho, chum, and Chinook salmon caught (tribal and non-tribal) in the state’s rivers and the ocean as reflected on sport catch record cards and commercial landings.