Pink Salmon Run 2023

Duwamish waterway fishing for Pinks
Duwamish waterway fishing for Pinks

Like the first gleam of dawn on the Duwamish industrial water way is the glimpse of summer time fun we just received from WDFW via the North of Falcon Salmon season setting process.

That’s right folks, it’s time to board the hype train to humpy town! Pink Salmon season 2023 is upon us!

Let’s get the full rundown of the pink salmon um…run, in 2023.

Pink Salmon almost always illicit some form of strong emotional response, whether excitement or disdain or sometimes even both! They come in massive hordes to provide unlimited saltwater and freshwater fishing fun, along with preventing you from fishing effectively for chinook and coho salmon!

Current Pink Salmon Catch Rates in Puget Sound

All of the below creel graphs update automatically when reports are published by WDFW.

Marine Area 9

Marine Area 10

Marine Area 8-2


This year’s run of pink salmon in 2023 is no exception. The 2023 run of pink salmon is expected to be the best since 2013 when things were really good! Those years from 2009-2013 were off the charts, so nobody should look down on the almost 4 million pinks expected in 2023.

Where to fish for Pinks (humpies) in 2023?

Okay, so there’s going to be 4 million pinks, I get it…But, where do we fish for these? You can fish freshwater or saltwater with great success, but let’s get into more details:


Even though there’s a range of lower, neutral and higher forecasts around the Puget Sound and Hood Canal, the numbers are still quite good in general. For example, 642k Pinks in the Snohomish is still a big number, as is the 397k in the Puyallup. The Nooksack River however at only 25k is suffering along with the Fraser in BC from a poorly timed flood that heavily impacted the out-migrating pink salmon numbers.

In the freshwater, my top two picks for where to fish for pink salmon in 2023 has got to be the Green and the Nisqually. These numbers of 822k pinks for the Green River and 454k on the Nisqually are simply off the rails.

Also, another bank area that shouldn’t be overlooked is Hood Canal around the Hoodsport hatchery, 493k Pinks is a really good number!

There won’t be any bonus pink bag limits for marine areas in 2023, but I would expect a few of these rivers with healthy runs will get bonus pink limits as we get closer to understanding the salmon seasons this summer.

I’ve written an extensive how-to guide on Pink Salmon Fishing that’s really geared towards the freshwater you should take a look at to get you ready for the season with the right gear and right techniques.

Checkout my post about fishing in the Puget Sound for more information about targeting Pinks in marine waters.

Lastly, I’ve written extensively about all the Puget Sound salmon forecasts for the 2023 season here.

You are going to be able to catch pinks in all the marine areas the run of pink salmon has to traverse to their natal streams, but Marine Area 10 in particular should be quite good. Perhaps the area around Redondo in Marine Area 11 won’t be as good due to a smaller run of pinks on the Puyallup, but if the Nisqually run travels through this same area, it will more than make up for depressed Puyallup numbers.

Also, fishing for Pinks farther north where the Nooksack dumps into the Puget Sound, may not be as good.

Typically, fishing the deep south sound hasn’t been a place to target humpies, but that could change due to the huge number expected back at the Nisqually River this year.

When do we fish for Pink Salmon in 2023?

I’m so glad you asked! Now, of course when depends on where, but I’ve prepared some extra special content for you to get dialed-in to the best places to target pink salmon.

This is a creel graph of Marine Area 5, around Sekiu on the western end of the Strait of Juan De Fuca. As you can see catches of pink salmon start in early July as the season begins, but the run really moves in around late July and into early August.

Here’s Marine Area 9 / Admiralty Inlet, the bridge water way connecting the Strait to the Puget Sound. And you and you can see the first pink salmon start to get caught as the season opens in mid-July, but again the run really moves in about the 2nd week of August.

Lastly, here’s Marine Area 10, around Seattle and the heart of Puget Sound, and the run of pink salmon is here in force starting the 2nd week of August all the way into the last week of August, extending into September when they really start to move up the rivers in good numbers.

My own personal creel check of catches on the Puyallup River shows the biggest numbers in that last week of August, first week of September, and likewise for places like the Nisqually and Green.

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