Almost three months after the majority of the salmon fishing seasons were set, an agreement has been reached allowing recreational fishing on the Puyallup River in August and September to open Thursday.
In an attempt to limit conflicts with tribal fishermen, there will be days when the river will be closed to recreational anglers, including Sundays in September.
Negotiators from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife and Puyallup Tribe of Indians still are working to set the fall season.
Recreational fishing on the upper river will start Thursday, while the lower stretch opens Aug. 16.
Here are the dates when recreational fishing will be allowed:
Upper river: From the City of Puyallup outfall structure across the river from the junction of Freeman Road and North Levee Road upstream to the mouth of the White River; will be open Thursday-Aug. 10 and Aug. 12-31, Sept. 3-7, 11-14, 18-21, 26-28.
Lower river: From the 11th Street Bridge upstream to the City of Puyallup outfall structure; will be open Aug. 16-31, Sept. 3-7, 11-14, 18-21, 26-28.
In both stretches, the daily limit is six salmon (minimum size 12 inches). Anglers may keep up to four adult salmon, of which only two may be any combination of chinook, coho and chum. All wild adult chinook salmon must be released.
Setting fisheries where recreational anglers and tribal gillnetters share on narrow waterways such as the Puyallup is difficult, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the state.
“The safety of everybody on the river is paramount,” Pattillo said. “So openings for sport and treaty commercial fishers will be separated in August and September to ensure everybody has a safe and fair opportunity to catch salmon.”
Said Steve Thiesfeld, Puget Sound salmon manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife: “We’ve only got so much river, and we all have to get along on the river. Folks on both sides have to be courteous and respectful of each other’s fisheries.
“We’ve got some non-tribal fishermen who aren’t being respectful and not allowing the tribal fishermen to conduct their fishing. The message to our anglers is we have to find a way to get along on these rivers.”
The state and Puyallup Tribe of Indians failed to reach agreement on seasons during the annual salmon season-setting process, known as North of Falcon, that concluded in early April. Instead, they agreed to continue negotiating.
Pattillo said the sport fishing timetable in August and September is consistent with the tribe’s proposal, but more work is needed to set the season for October through December.Jeffrey P. Mayor: 253-597-8640 jeff.mayor@ thenewstribune.com thenewstribune.com/outdoors