Most of Puget Sound's most popular fishing spots are closed due to a state and tribal stalemate over the salmon season. However, many people are still casting lines, unaware they could get a hefty fine.
"Unless you're a water skier or a swimmer like this duck is, that's about all you can do in Lake Washington or Lake Sammamish these days, no fishing," said Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Sgt. Kim Chandler.
Coho returns are expected to be historically low. With so few fish, state and tribal authorities can't agree on salmon season rules. With no deal, there are no permits.
Anyone who breaks the rules intentionally could risk a $500 fine.
"Are we going to do that? We could," Chandler said.
But it's likely most fisherman just don't know the rules. The fishing closures are historic.
"This is unprecedented in my entire career. I've never had anything happen like this," Chandler said.
There are thousands of fishing spots to monitor and not enough officers, especially since no one knows when the salmon stalemate will end.
"It could last another week. It could last another month. It could last, who knows how long? We don't know," Chandler said.
The following lakes are closed:
- Lake Washington (King Co.)
- Lake Union (King Co.)
- Lake Sammamish (King Co.)
- Monte Cristo Lake (Snohomish Co.)
- Cushman Lake (Mason Co.)
- Barney Lake (Skagit Co.)