This year’s Puget Sound shrimp fishing seasons are generally similar to those in 2017, said Mark O’Toole, a shellfish biologist for WDFW, noting that he expects a strong turnout by shrimp fishers – especially on opening day.
“Because this is such a popular fishery, boat ramps can get pretty crowded on the opener,” he said. “As always, we ask that people be patient at the ramps and wait their turn.”
In all areas of Puget Sound, fishers are limited to 80 shrimp a day (if open) during the month of May. A valid 2018-19 combination license, shellfish license, or Fish Washington license is required to participate in the fishery.
More information on sport shrimp seasons, and a description of the marine areas, is available on WDFW’s recreational shrimp fishing website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/shellfish/shrimp/
Though the season opens May 5 for all shrimp (spot, pink and coonstripe shrimp), people are mostly fishing for spot shrimp. Also known as prawns, spot shrimp are the largest shrimp in Puget Sound and may grow up to nine inches in length.
O’Toole said shrimpers should be aware that traps can only be set or pulled from one hour before official sunrise through one hour after official sunset each day in areas 4, 5, and 6 (except for the Discovery Bay Shrimp District), as well as marine areas 7 East, South and West. On opening day, one hour before sunrise is approximately 4:40 a.m.
Puget Sound recreational shrimp season opening days are:
- Marine areas 4 (Neah Bay east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line), 5 (western Strait of Juan de Fuca) and 6 (Port Angeles Harbor, eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca, excluding the Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open daily beginning May 5. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained or Sept. 15, whichever comes first.
- Marine Area 6 (Discovery Bay Shrimp District): Open from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on May 5, 9, 12, and 23.
- Marine areas 7 East (northern Rosario Strait, Bellingham Bay, Sucia and Matia islands, Strait of Georgia) and 7 South (Iceberg Point, Point Colville, Biz Point, Salmon Bank): Open May 5, May 9-12, and May 23-26.
- Marine Area 7 West (San Juan Channel, Spieden Channel, Stuart and Waldron islands): Open daily beginning May 5. The recreational spot shrimp season closes when the quota is attained or Sept. 15, whichever comes first.
- Marine Areas 8-1 (Saratoga Passage, Deception Pass) and 8-2 (Port Susan, Port Gardner, Everett): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 5, and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on May 9.
- Marine Area 9 (Edmonds, Port Townsend Bay, Admiralty Inlet): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 5, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 9.
- Marine Area 10 (Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 5 (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 east of a line from West Point to Alki Point).
- Marine Area 10 (outside Elliott Bay): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 5 (this is the portion of Marine Area 10 west of a line from West Point to Alki Point, which includes the Bainbridge Island shrimp fishing grounds).
- Marine Area 11 (Tacoma-Vashon Island): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 5.
- Marine Area 12 (Hood Canal Shrimp District): Open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 5, 9, 12, and 23.
- Marine Area 13 (South Puget Sound, Carr Inlet): Open from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. on May 5, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on May 9.
Additional dates and times will be announced if sufficient quota remains after the initial fishing days scheduled above.