Sockeye fishing is expected to be one of this summer’s premier salmon opportunities in the Northwest. Guide Austin Moser and Tegan Yuasa, show off a quartet from last year on the Upper Columbia. (Photo by Mark Yuasa)

Summer of Salmon 2024


Additional information on tentative salmon seasons is available on the WDFW website. We expect to publish the final 2024–2025 seasons and annual Washington sport fishing rules in June.

Story originally published in the Northwest Sportsman Magazine June issue

From Tacoma and the San Juans to the Pacific Ocean and up to Brewster on the Columbia River, there will be a lot of chances to catch Chinook, sockeye and coho in Washington waters. Here’s a look at June, July and August fishing opportunities. (Part one of two)

Summer doesn’t officially arrive until June 20, but that shouldn’t stop Washington anglers from getting a head start and revving up for the 2024–2025 salmon fishing season.

Now that we’ve caught your attention, there are a few key pieces of advice to keep in mind before you dust off the fishing gear and rush out the door.

First off, times have changed around Washington’s salmon fishing scene, with anglers switching up their game and finding it necessary to become more mobile and adaptable, as no season mirrors another.

In other words, don’t tie up your boat or hang a rod off the shore in just one specific area. Be willing to try new fishing spots and move from location to location to maximize your time on the water as well as drive up your catch rate.

Secondly, a good number of marine salmon fisheries are driven by catch quotas and/or guidelines, so keep close tabs on when fishing is open or closed.

Lastly, salmon regulations are complex, so those who do their homework can likely gain more traction to even greater success. We live in a modern world where communication is essential, so reading this magazine each month, joining a fishing club, making new friends on the water, chatting with Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) creel surveyors, or engaging on social media through blogs, influencers and other platforms can play to your advantage.

In this first of a two-part series, we’ll look at a wide range of exciting options available from June through August for a mix of Chinook, coho and sockeye. Anglers can challenge themselves by targeting all three salmon species to possibly score a hat trick. Then in a July blog, we’ll look further down the road at salmon fishing options from September through April 2025.

Before venturing out on the water be sure to read the 2024–25 WDFW regulation pamphlet available online or at statewide tackle shops and license vendors that will be available in late June or early July. You should also check the WDFW’s fishing regulations webpage for updates or emergency closures.

Tacoma will host one of the earliest summer 2024 saltwater fisheries for Chinook when Marine Area 11 opens on June 5 for Wednesday-through-Saturday angling through the end of the month or until the quota or guidelines are met. (Photo by Mark Yuasa)


The coastal ports of Neah Bay (Marine Area 4), La Push (Marine Area 3) and Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) will take center stage for Chinook and hatchery coho fishing beginning June 22. They will be followed by Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) opening June 30 through July 11 on Sundays through Thursdays, and then daily beginning July 14. Marine Areas 2, 3 and 4 are scheduled to stay open until Sept. 15, while Marine Area 1 closes on Sept. 30. All ports could close sooner if quotas are met. Look for a WDFW news release on the newsroom webpage in early June with specific rules and restrictions for all four coastal areas.

The Marine Areas 4, 3, 2, and 1 coastwide quota is 41,000 Chinook (up from 39,000 in 2023) and 79,800 hatchery coho (down from 159,600 in 2023). Despite a dip in the 2024 quota. The late June opener can be hit or miss depending on the arrival of Chinook and coho. However, the past several seasons have been productive right out of the starting gate.

In recent years, a lot of hype during early summer has focused on central Puget Sound (Marine Area 10), which opens June 1 for coho only. Most of these fish are resident coho averaging two to four pounds. Action tends to start off slow and it takes about a week or two to build, although last year it was lights out right at the beginning of season. Look for coho in the deepwater shipping lanes between Jefferson Head and the Kingston-Apple Tree Point area; rip currents off the Edmonds oil docks to Richmond Beach; West Point south of Shilshole Bay; and Bainbridge Island’s east side.

If catching an early summer king is top priority, then head to southcentral Puget Sound (Marine Area 11), where a hatchery Chinook fishery is open off the Tacoma area from Wednesdays through Saturdays on June 5–30 with a 2024 hatchery Chinook catch quota of 1,423 (1,423 in 2023), 910 total unmarked Chinook encounters (901 in 2023) and 2,608 total sublegal encounters (1,697 in 2023).

During 2023’s June season, the estimated Chinook harvest was 988 over June 1–4 and June 8–11. The fishery closed after June 11 due to unmarked Chinook encounters of 1,036 on an allowable ceiling of 901. The Marine Area 11 Chinook fishery is managed under two separate summer quotas and a second window of opportunity happens later in July (see details below).

Dogfish can be abundant in Tacoma-area waters, especially as summer progresses. Many will opt to jig or troll with downriggers or “meat liners” using plugs, spoons or a plastic hoochie squid. If you’re brave enough, send down a whole or cut-plug herring, but be warned, you might be going through a lot of fishing leaders, as dogfish feed heavily on baitfish schools.

Look for kings off Tacoma at the Clay Banks at Point Defiance Park and from Owen Beach to the Slag Pile off the Tacoma Yacht Club; the “Flats” outside of Gig Harbor; Dolphin Point and the Fauntleroy Ferry area near the northeast side of Vashon Island; south of the Southworth Ferry Landing; Colvos Passage off the Girl Scout Camp; Apple Tree Cove to Redondo Beach; Point Robinson; and Point Dalco on the south side of Vashon Island.

Salmon anglers can also head south of the Tacoma Narrows Bridges in southern Puget Sound (Marine Area 13) and try for hatchery Chinook at Gibson Point, Hale Pass and Point Fosdick.

Another early-season option is the Tulalip Terminal Bubble Fishery (Marine Area 8–2), open now through Sept. 2 (fishing is allowed from 12:01 a.m. Fridays to 11:59 a.m. on Mondays only, except closed June 1 for a tribal fish ceremony) and then Sept. 7–22 (fishing allowed on Saturdays and Sundays). In recent years, the bubble has been fair to good for early summer Chinook in the 10- to 20-pound range.

Either troll or jig. For jigging, the type of jig used is usually a judgment call by the angler, with one rarely outperforming the other. The Chinook bite is more reactive of whatever flashes in front of their face, so jigs in glow, chartreuse, pearl-white, green-nickel, blue-pearl or blue-gold patterns are best. Store-bought jigs come with a treble hook, which is illegal for salmon in all marine areas. Only single-point barbless hooks and one line with up to two hooks may be used. Others troll using downriggers with a flasher combined with plugs, spoons and/or a plastic hoochie squid. Before or at daybreak, the fish tend to be found from the surface down to 90 feet, and as the sun rises, they’ll go deeper, from 100 to 175 feet.

June nibbles and bites: Don’t overlook open sections of the Cascade and Skagit Rivers, as well as the Edmonds, Seacrest, Les Davis and Point Defiance Park Boathouse Piers for Chinook.

This July, Puget Sound’s primary hatchery Chinook fisheries will all take place on the same days (Thursdays through Saturdays only) after state managers aligned openers from the San Juan Islands down through Admiralty Inlet — where Chad Smith caught this one — and past Seattle to the Tacoma area. (Photo courtesy of Northwest Sportsman Magazine)


Fitting every fishing option into your free time during July will likely be more difficult than choosing Plan A or Plan B, or even Plans C to Z. Here are some helpful tips to get you steered in the right direction, with sockeye garnering a majority of the spotlight!

Shining brightly is an expected robust Baker River sockeye forecast of 56,750 fish, up from 2023’s forecast of 31,296 and an in-season estimate of 65,000. For comparison’s sake, recent Baker preseason forecasts were 27,081 in 2022, 12,253 in 2021, 13,242 in 2020 and 33,737 in 2019. The all-time low was 1985, when less than 100 sockeye returned. The 2024 Baker forecast is up 57 percent over the recent 10-year average and harvest will be split between Baker Lake and the Skagit River at 75 and 25 percent, respectively.

The Skagit River from the Mount Vernon Memorial Highway Bridge to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete opens for sockeye June 16 through July 15 with a four-sockeye daily limit. The fishery is highly reliant on water flows and glacial runoff. A hot early summer could equate to swift, high water and murky conditions, which may hinder fishing.

Baker Lake opens July 6 — regardless of how many sockeye are present in the reservoir — and runs until August 31 with a four-sockeye daily limit; each angler aboard a vessel may deploy salmon angling gear until the daily limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. Be sure to check trap counts to decide when to go fishing, by going to the WDFW fish count webpage.

Another salmon fishing standout happens on Central Washington’s Upper Columbia River at Rocky Reach Dam to Chelan Falls and as high up as Brewster. The season from Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam is open July 1 through Aug. 31, and from Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam July 1 through Oct. 15. The area from Wells Dam to Brewster Bridge is open July 16 through Sept. 30, and the water from Brewster Bridge to the Highway 17 Bridge is open July 1 through Oct. 15.

Timing is key, as Chinook and sockeye can be in a location one day, only to move 15 miles upstream the next day. Water levels and flows between each dam also affect how the fish bite.

In 2024, look for another strong Columbia sockeye run, thanks to a forecast of 401,700 fish, which is up 16 percent over the recent 10-year average. This could mean back-to-back years of success for anglers targeting sockeye in open waters of Columbia. The Okanogan River sockeye forecast of 288,700 is way up from 2023’s 187,400 and the actual return of 179,655.

Many sockeye linger in the Brewster Pool, making it a popular deepwater salmon fishery on Upper Columbia. In 2023 and 2022, colder water throughout the Mid- and Upper Columbia had sockeye darting up to the Brewster Pool, generating good fishing in early summer and into August.

Sockeye have been adapting their upstream migration timing in recent years, with most returns now peaking sooner in the summer. In past recent decades, the run peaked by early July, but now it’s shifted to late June, resulting in higher sockeye survival rates.

Upper Columbia salmon fight well and cut nicely, despite being hundreds upon hundreds of miles above the Pacific. Along with opportunities on the mainstem for summer Chinook and sockeye, look for a probable red “sockeye” salmon opener on Lake Wenatchee if the bumper forecast holds true. (Photo by Mark Yuasa)

Besides sockeye, anglers can target summer Chinook on the Upper Columbia from Priest Rapids to Chelan Falls and as high up as Brewster. The 2024 summer Chinook forecast is 53,000, down from 85,400 in 2023 and an actual return of 54,722.

If there was one spot to pick, it would be just below Beebe Bridge, better known as Chelan Falls. It’s a shallow-water fishery with the bottom being 25 to 50 feet in most places, so keep the downriggers at home. There are nice boat launches at Chelan County’s Beebe Bridge Park and across the river at Chelan Falls Park. This is usually an early-morning, out-before-sunrise show, as the salmon bite tends to end by 9 a.m. Keep a close watch on the Fish Passage Center Columbia River dam fish counts to know where to be on certain days. For a mix of kings and sockeye, head to areas below Rocky Reach Dam, below Wells Dam or at Brewster.

Other go-to spots for Chinook include the tailrace of Wanapum Dam, the “bubbles” near the mouths of the Entiat and Chelan Rivers, the Wells Dam tailrace and the Brewster Pool up to the city of Bridgeport.

A beautiful sunrise rises over the docks at Mason’s Resort in Sekiu in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca. (Photo by Ty Kaufman)

Salmon anglers can also begin to focus their time during July on saltwater areas from Puget Sound clear out into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Sekiu and Pillar Point (Marine Area 5) opens July 1 through Aug. 15 for hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho (release all Chinook from Aug. 16 through Oct. 15). The 2024 Chinook fishery could close sooner if the 6,539 legal-size encounter guideline is achieved. In 2023, the estimated legal-size Chinook encounter was 7,254 and the season lasted from July 1 through Aug. 15.

At Sekiu, look for kings off the Caves, a long stretch of kelp-lined shoreline near the breakwater off Mason’s Resort in Clallam Bay and which head west toward the Sekiu River mouth; Slip Point Buoy; Mussolini Rock and Little Mussolini Rock; Eagle Point; the Slide and Coal Mines areas; and east off Pillar Point.

Port Angeles and the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca (Marine Area 6 west of a true north/south line through the №2 Buoy immediately east of Ediz Hook) opens July 1 through Aug. 15 for hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho (release all Chinook from Aug. 16 through Oct. 15). The 2024 Chinook fishery could close sooner if the 11,173 legal-size encounter guideline is achieved. In 2023, the estimated legal-size Chinook encounter catch was 11,516 and the season lasted from July 1 through Aug. 15. The area east of the boundary is open July 1 through Sept. 26 for hatchery coho only. Marine Area 6 is open for all coho from Sept. 27 through Oct. 15.

Top Marine Area 6 fishing spots include directly off Ediz Hook in Port Angeles; the humps and Winter Hole in the exposed Strait; open areas outside of Freshwater Bay; and from Crescent Bay to Whiskey Creek. Note: Some Marine Area 6 locations are closed for fishing, so anglers should check the WDFW regulations pamphlet or website for details.

WDFW salmon managers aligned several Puget Sound summer Chinook fisheries to be open July 18–20. They are the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7), northern Puget Sound/Admiralty Inlet (Marine Area 9), central Puget Sound (Marine Area 10) and southcentral Puget Sound (Marine Area 11). WDFW will assess the catch after the initial three-day opener for all four marine areas. Additional Chinook openings may occur based on available quota.

The 2024 Marine Area 7 hatchery Chinook quota is 2,181, along with 3,845 total unmarked encounters and 2,141 total sublegal encounters. In 2023, the estimated Chinook harvest was 2,088 (the total quota was 2,181) during openers on July 13–15, 21 and 28–29.

The 2024 Marine Area 9 hatchery Chinook quota is 3,900. In 2023, the estimated Chinook harvest was 4,558 (4,300 was the total quota) over three July opener periods.

In Marine Area 9, look for kings at Midchannel Bank and Point Wilson off Port Townsend; Bush Point, Fort Casey, Lagoon Point and Double Bluff off the west side of Whidbey Island; Point No Point; Possession Bar; Scatchet Head; and Pilot Point south along the northeastern side of the Kitsap Peninsula.

The 2024 Marine Area 10 hatchery Chinook quota is 3,166, along with a 6,477 total sublegal encounter quota. In 2023, the estimated Chinook harvest was 3,420 (the total quota was 3,566) with a sublegal Chinook encounter total of 7,748 during a Chinook season held July 13 through Aug. 3 and Aug. 11–13 and Aug. 18–20. Marine Area 10 is also open for coho only in July when Chinook fishing is closed.

In Marine Area 10, target kings around Kingston; Jefferson Head; Richmond Beach to the Edmonds oil dock; the east side of Bainbridge Island at Point Monroe to Skiff Point and Yeomalt Point; Allen Bank off Blake Island; West Point south of Shilshole Bay; and Southworth.

The 2024 Marine Area 11 summer hatchery Chinook quota from July 18 through Sept. 30 is 3,379, along with an sublegal encounter total of 5,907. During 2023’s July season, the estimated Marine Area 11 Chinook harvest was 820 (3,379 was the total quota) over July 1–2, July 6–9 and July 13–14. The fishery closed after July 15 due to 2,002 unmarked Chinook encounters (1,858 was the total encounter guideline) and 3,715 sublegal encounters (3,845 was the total encounter limit).

July nibbles and bites: Other notable spots include open portions of Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) and the Fox Island Pier. Freshwater areas opening in July include the Nisqually and a few northern coastal rivers, as well as Chambers and McAllister Creeks.

Guide Bill Monroe Jr. releases a large wild fall Chinook caught at Buoy 10 near the Lower Columbia River mouth last season. Retention this year will largely be limited to hatchery kings except for a four-day period ending on Labor Day. (Photo by Andy Walgamott)


This is a point in summer when anglers make a mad scramble to fish. Focusing on where and what salmon species to catch becomes critical before these fish head to the spawning grounds. Make summer vacation plans to fish in Puget Sound or around Lower Columbia, from the mouth at Buoy 10 to above the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Coho is the name of the game starting in August as larger migratory fish begin to arrive in inside marine areas.

If Puget Sound hatchery Chinook catch quotas or guidelines aren’t achieved during the July openers, there could be some late-summer options left in August in the Strait, Admiralty Inlet and central and south-central Puget Sound. Check the WDFW emergency regulations webpage for updates.

If Chinook fishing is closed in Marine Area 9, then it’s time to pivot to hatchery coho, open Aug. 1-Sept. 23 and then switching to nonselective for coho Sept. 24–30. Marine Areas 10 and 11 are open for nonselective coho through Nov. 15. Marine Area 7 is open daily from Aug. 1–31 for hatchery coho only and switches to nonselective for coho Sept. 1–29. Marine Areas 5 and 6 are open through Sept. 26 for hatchery coho, followed by a nonselective coho fishery Sept. 27 through Oct. 15.

Fishing in Deception Pass, Hope Island and Skagit Bay (Marine Area 8–1) is open for nonselective coho Aug. 1 through Oct. 13, and Port Susan and Port Gardner (Marine Area 8–2) are open for nonselective coho Aug. 1 through Sept. 24.

There’s a window of opportunity in inner Elliott Bay east of a line from Pier 91 to Duwamish Head for nonselective Chinook fishing from Aug. 2 until 12 p.m. on Aug. 5; additional openings may occur. The inner bay is a staging area for kings heading back mainly to the Green River. Good places include the Duwamish Head Marker; off Todd Shipyard; the West and East Waterways; from Salty’s Restaurant to the Don Armeni launch; and near the Elliott Bay Marina breakwater.

Well to the southwest, look for staging fall Chinook and coho from Buoy 10 upstream along a 20-mile stretch where Lower Columbia’s brackish water meets the briny Pacific Ocean. This salmon fishing hotbed opens Aug. 1–29 for hatchery Chinook and hatchery coho, Aug. 30 through Sept. 3 for hatchery coho and nonselective Chinook, then Sept. 4 through Dec. 31 for hatchery coho only.

Big flood tides are the best timeframe, as each tidal series pushes in fresh salmon from the ocean. Knowing where to go can be intimidating to the uninitiated, but on an early morning flood tide, try along the Wing Walls, a mess of old cannery pilings, just outside the Port of Ilwaco; the Desdemona Sands, located in the middle of the river above and below the Astoria-Megler Bridge; the buoy line just off the town of Astoria above and below the bridge and in front of the Port of Astoria Marina; the three long underwater channels above the bridge along Highway 401; the Church Hole off Fort Columbia State Park; and at Fort Stevens State Park on the Oregon side west toward Hammond. Buoy 10 itself — the red marker where the big river meets the ocean — isn’t an ideal place to fish, although you can find decent action for hatchery coho.

Well upstream, another place to keep tabs on is Lake Wenatchee, where the sockeye forecast of 97,000 is up dramatically from 2023’s expected 44,300 (the actual return was 146,875). The management objective is 23,000 sockeye at Tumwater Dam above Leavenworth, so monitor fish counts to see when it’s time to go. The lake could provide a late-summer sport fishery if the objective is met.

August nibbles and bites: A short list of other noteworthy spots includes Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor east of the Buoy 13 boundary line, Westport Boat Basin, Bellingham Bay opens Aug. 16-Sept. 30, Sinclair Inlet and the Samish, Puyallup and Green Rivers.

(Editor’s note: Mark Yuasa is a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife communications manager and longtime local fishing and outdoor writer.)



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The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife is dedicated to preserving, protecting and perpetuating the state’s fish and wildlife resources.