The Nisqually River

The Nisqually River flows on an early, spring morning near the 6th Avenue fishing and river access site.

As forecasted returns for Chinook and coho have been coming back better than in recent years, Nisqually anglers will also be pleased to hear that closure dates for this year’s season are being fleshed out. 

Gabe Madel, area fish biologist for the WDFW, said tentative dates for the Nisqually Indian Tribe have been set for Aug. 4 through Sept. 1 for Chinook. The Tribe will fish on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays for Chinook, and fishing on the Nisqually will be closed Sundays for sport anglers. 

From Oct. 7 through Nov. 17, the Tribe will fish the Nisqually for coho, again on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays. Sundays will be closed. 

“There should be some good opportunity for Chinook and coho on the Nisqually,” Madel said.

Overall, the runs for Chinook are trending in the positive direction, Madel said.. For those from the Nisqually hatchery, the total forecast back up the river is about 20,000. Wild Chinook are not available for anglers this year. 

About 7,400 hatchery-originated coho and 4,800 wild coho are forecasted to make a run up the Nisqually this year. 

“That’s kind of the trend puget-sound wide. We’re seeing a much better return for coho this year than compared with last,” Madel said. 

The general fishing season will start July 1 and move through Nov. 15 for the military crossing to the mouth of the Nisqually sections. Anglers can keep two adult salmon and there’s a four fish limit.

From the Saturday before Memorial Day to Oct. 31, angling will be allowed upstream from the military tank to the Yelm Power House. 

Madel said the Chinook returning to the Nisqually River shouldn’t be impacted by the Southern Resident Orca population. 

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