OLYMPIA - Puget Sound’s recreational shrimp season opens May 1, with one popular area-Discovery Bay-open to shrimpers for the first time since 2005.
Overall, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) pre-season test fishing indicates the upcoming season should be good, according to Mark O’Toole, WDFW’s Puget Sound shrimp management biologist.
"The Hood Canal pre-season test fishery yielded probably the highest catch per pot we’ve seen in at least 10 years, and Discovery Bay shrimp numbers also have improved," O’Toole said.
Discovery Bay, located between Sequim and Port Townsend, will be open at least two days, May 1 and May 5, and fishing could be extended, depending on harvest rates. The bay has been closed to shrimping since 2006 due to low shrimp numbers.
Overall, it’s expected that sport fishers will pull 130,000 pounds of spot shrimp from Puget Sound by the time the season ends. Though the season opens May 1 for all shrimp, nearly all of those kept will be spot shrimp.
Fishing will be open in the following areas:
Marine Areas 4 (east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 and 6 (excluding shrimp districts), will open daily beginning May 1 at 7 a.m. The spot shrimp season closes when quota is attained or Sept. 15, whichever comes first.
Discovery Bay Shrimp District (Marine Area 6) will be open May 1 and 5 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additional dates will be announced if sufficient quota remains.
Marine Area 7 opens May 1 at 7 a.m., and will be open on May 5, 6, 7, 8, 21 and 22. Additional dates will be announced if sufficient quota remains.
Marine Areas 8, 9 and 10 will be open May 1 and 5 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Additional dates will be announced if sufficient quota remains.
Marine Area 11 , from the northern tip of Vashon Island to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, will be open May 1 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Hood Canal (Marine Area 12) will be open May 1, 5, 8 and 12 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Additional dates will be announced if sufficient quota remains.
Marine Area 13 will open daily beginning May 1 at 7 a.m. through May 31.
Ocean shrimp fishing (Marine Areas 1, 2, 3 and 4 (west of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line) is open daily year-round.
The season specifically for smaller coonstripe and pink shrimp will reopen in several areas on June 1 and remain open through Oct. 15.
Recreational shrimping rules are detailed in WDFW’s annual sport fishing rules pamphlet. Information also is available at ( http://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/shelfish/shrimpreg/shrimpindex.shtml ).