It’s Official: Baker To Open 7-23

Baker Lake fishery managers have just officially announced that sockeye season starts this Saturday, July 23.

Daily limit at the North Puget Sound reservoir is three adult sockeye salmon that exceed 18 inches in length from the log boom barrier at Baker Dam upstream to the mouth of the upper Baker River, according to a press release from the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.

The two-pole endorsement will be allowed here, according to a WDFW e-reg notice.

All other salmon and bull trout must be released.

State fisheries biologist Brett Barkdull says this year’s return is expected to meet spawning production goals. As of today, July 19, 8,285 sockeye had returned to hatchery facilities at the lake.

CHUCK SPANI AND THE BOYZ BLEW UP BAKER LAST SUMMER. (WRIGHT & McGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

“About 3,600 of those sockeye salmon have been released into Baker Lake,” said Barkdull in a press release. “We expect that number to continue to increase as we approach Saturday’s opener.”

He reminds anglers that the Baker and Skagit rivers remain closed to salmon fishing.

For more on Baker Lake sockeye, see WDFW’s Web page on it.

For more on how to fish it, see our July issue, on newsstands now, and yesterday’s blog.

As for that other Cascades sockeye pond, Lake Wenatchee, no salmon have crossed Tumwater Dam on the Wenatchee River so far this season. Fisheries biologist Chad Jackson says that the run appears to be two to three weeks late. The 10-year average is for 6,648 to be across the dam by now.

The escapement goal there is 23,000 and Jackson says a run of 26,500-plus is needed for a meaningful fishery.

And, just for poops and grins, what’s the latest on that other-other summer sock hop, Lake Washington? This year’s run has nearly met the preseason forecast — 33,404 have gone through the Ballard Locks as of July 13 — but more than 10 times that number are needed for a fishery.

Next year, baby, next year.

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