Skagit River Salmon Fishing 2022

The Skagit River is Puget Sound’s most important resource as it dumps 80% of the freshwater that flows into the Puget Sound annually. The Skagit originates in the iconic and beautiful North Cascades being met by many important tributaries as it winds its way along highway 20 westward until it meets the saltwater estuary of Skagit Bay.

All five species of pacific salmon return to the Skagit River making it the only river in the Puget Sound and one of very few in Washington State which can make such a claim.

This blog article attempts to concentrate in one place the angling opportunity, fishing regulations and hatchery data to make your research and trip planning to the Skagit River as simple as possible.

Most of the salmon angling opportunity on the Skagit River consists of fishing for hatchery spring and into summer chinook, coho in the fall and a sockeye opportunity that is usually announced via emergency regulations. In the 2023 version of this page, I will publish the sockeye opportunity earlier as it has now passed us by for 2022.

Pink salmon return in great abundance, but typically only on odd years, so you shouldn’t expect to encounter them in 2022.

Chum salmon have been prolific in years past but the run is needing to rebound from some slim return years. This blog article will primarily focus on chinook and coho opportunity.

Let’s take a look at a couple of new features I’ve got up on the blog to help you understand run timing and how many salmon are returning at the hatcheries

  1. Automatically updating graph of the Escapement Report for the Skagit River
  2. Historical run timing graph providing a visual of when salmon normally return to the Skagit River

We will evaluate these separately for Coho and Chinook.

Updated Status of hatchery returning Spring Chinook on the Skagit River

2022 has been a decent year in terms of the hatchery chinook return and these salmon have continued to show up, even through August.

Historical Run Timing of hatchery Spring Chinook on the Skagit River

As you can see the hatchery spring chinook tend to show up first in April, continue to come in all the way through July, but peak in June.

Updated Status of returning Coho on the Skagit River

This graph will update as coho start to show up at the hatchery.

Historical Run Timing of Coho on the Skagit River

The second week of September these hatchery coho start to check in at the hatchery. The run tends to peak in late October or early November, but is heavily dependent on water flows and a particular years run size. The forecast for 2022 coho is included further down the page.

Fishing Regulations for the Skagit River in 2022

SKAGIT RIVER – SKAGIT CO.
from the mouth (a line projected from the terminus of the jetty with McGlinn Island to the white monument on the easterly end of Ika Island, then to a white monument on the westerly end of Craft Island, then to a white monument near the corner of the levee on the westerly side of Dry Slough, and then to a white monument on the easterly side of Tom Moore Slough) to Hwy. 536 at Mt. Vernon (Memorial Hwy. Bridge) CRC (830)
All speciesMar. 1-Aug. 31Selective gear rules. Except: Anglers fishing for sturgeon must use bait. Anglers may not use hooks that measure greater than 1/2” from point to shank, except anglers fishing for sturgeon may use single-point barbless hooks of any size.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
Dolly varden/bull troutMar. 1-Jan. 31Min. size 20”. May be retained as part of trout daily limit.
Other troutMar. 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit. Except: Cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout: min. size 14”.
Other game fishMar. 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum.
from Hwy. 536 at Mt. Vernon (Memorial Hwy. Bridge) to mouth of Gilligan Creek CRC (830)
All speciesJune 1-Aug. 31Selective gear rules. Except: Anglers fishing for sturgeon must use bait. Anglers may not use hooks that measure greater than 1/2” from point to shank, except anglers fishing for sturgeon may use single-point barbless hooks of any size.
July 1-July 15Night closure.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
Dolly varden/bull troutJune 1-Jan. 31Min. size 20”. May be retained as part of trout daily limit.
Other troutJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit. Except: Cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout: min. size 14”.
Other game fishJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-July 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release all salmon other than sockeye.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum.
from mouth of Gilligan Creek to the Dalles Bridge at Concrete CRC (830)
All speciesJune 1-Aug. 31Selective gear rules. Night closure. It is unlawful to use hooks other than those measuring 1/2” or less from point to shank.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
Dolly varden/bull troutJune 1-Jan. 31Min. size 20”. May be retained as part of trout daily limit.
Other troutJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit. Except: Cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout: min. size 14”.
Other game fishJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-July 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release all salmon other than sockeye.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum.
from the Dalles Bridge at Concrete to 200’ below the mouth of Baker River CRC (830)
All speciesJune 1-Aug. 31Selective gear rules. Night closure. It is unlawful to use hooks other than those measuring 1/2” or less from point to shank.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
Dolly varden/bull troutJune 1-Jan. 31Min. size 20”. May be retained as part of trout daily limit.
Other game fishJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum.
between a line projected across the thread of the river 200’ above the east bank of the Baker River and a line projected across the thread of the river 200’ below the west bank of the Baker River CRC (830)
All speciesJune 1-Aug. 31CLOSED WATERS.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
Dolly varden/bull troutSept. 1-Jan. 31Min. size 20”. May be retained as part of trout daily limit.
Other troutSept. 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit. Except: Cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout: min. size 14”.
Other game fishSept. 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Release Chinook and chum.
from a point 200’ upstream of the mouth of the Baker River to the Hwy. 530 Bridge at Rockport CRC (830)
All speciesJune 1-Aug. 31Night closure. Selective gear rules. Anglers may not use hooks that measure greater than 1/2” from point to shank.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
Dolly varden/bull troutJune 1-Jan. 31Min. size 20”. May be retained as part of trout daily limit.
Other troutJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit. Except: Cutthroat trout and wild rainbow trout: min. size 14”.
Other game fishJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonSept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum.
from Hwy. 530 Bridge at Rockport to Cascade River Rd. (Marblemount Bridge). CRC (830)
All speciesJune 1-July 15Night closure. Anti-snagging rule.
July 16-Aug. 30Selective gear rules. Anglers may not use hooks that measure greater than 1/2” from point to shank.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Night closure.
All game fishJune 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
SalmonJuly 1-July 15Min. size 12”. Daily limit 4. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery Chinook.
Sept. 1-Oct. 31Min. size 12”. Daily limit 2. Release Chinook and chum.
from Cascade River Rd. (Marblemount Bridge) to Gorge powerhouse at Newhalem CRC (830)
All speciesInternal combustion motors prohibited. Selective gear rules.
Steelhead (hatchery)June 1-Jan. 31Statewide min. size/daily limit.
Other game fishJune 1-Jan. 31Catch-and-release.

Emergency Fishing Regulations for the Skagit River in 2022

Please refer to WDFW’s emergency rules page for a full list that are in effect until I can get the e-rules automation working fully again.

It’s your responsibility as the recreational angler to know ALL of these rules, not just what is discussed here on the blog.

Forecast for 2022 Skagit River Coho

2022-coho-forecasts-map

The forecast for Skagit river coho calls for an increase above the 10 year average, which could make for some incredible fall fishing in 2022!

Forecast for 2022 Skagit River Sockeye

2022-sockeye-forecast-map

The forecast was neutral for sockeye in 2022 on the Skagit, and there was a fairly normal season on Baker Lake where the Skagit sockeye are released into.

Forecast for 2022 Skagit River Chum

2022-fall-chum-forecast-map

The Skagit is expected to have a neutral return of chum compared to the 10 year average

How to fish for salmon on the Skagit River

For more of a deep dive on how to fish rivers for salmon, head to my page on the topic here.