The waters of Washington are ripe for shrimp fishing for half of the year. This coastal state has a growing sport fishing industry and the waters include over 80 species of shrimp, though seven specific types are the most dominant. Shrimp season varies per location and shrimp fishing may only take place at designated bays and beaches. Become familiar with the rules and regulations of shrimping in Washington before heading out on the water.
Shrimp Fishing Sites
Washington public beaches are generally accessed by boat, leading out into the Pacific Ocean, Puget Sound and other bays and inlets. Navigable waters of Hood Canal in Washington’s Olympic peninsula and Iceburg Point, in the state's southern marina region, are famous for shrimp fishing. Shellfishing beach maps and season updates are available through the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, with information about locations from the South Coast and Columbia River to Grays Harbor, Neah Bay, Deception Pass and more.
Shrimp seasons in Washington differ by location and type of shrimp. The waters are sectioned off into areas, with Pacific Ocean Shores entailing Marine Areas 1 to 4, Neah Bay and the Western Strait of Juan De Fuca making up Marine Area 5, the Discovery Bay Shrimp District designated as Area 6 and so on. Look up shrimping seasons by area and you’ll find that three varieties of shrimp are in season in Marine Areas 4 and 5 to 13 from May to early October.
Types of Shrimp
Seven types of shrimp dominate the shrimp fishing industry in Washington. The biggest is the spot shrimp, which reaches 10 inches in length and is distinguished by four spots on its body. Coonstripe shrimp are brownish in color and smaller in size shrimp. The humpback shrimp has reddish tones and is bigger than the dock shrimp. Northern pink shrimp, which are less than 6 inches long, are named for their uniformly pink color. Ocean pink shrimp are also pink and similar in size to the northern variety. Humpy shrimp can also be found in the area.
According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, statewide gear rules must be adhered to by shrimp fishers. Each pot is considered a unit of gear and each person is allotted two pots. However, no more than four pots may be taken on a fishing boat at any one time. In addition, every shellfish pot must be connected to its own buoy and clearly marked with the owner’s name.
Sport fishing in Washington has grown in recent years. Hundreds of thousands of pounds of shrimp are taken in and measured every year. A fishing license is required to be a shrimp fisher.
- Photo Credit raw shrimp image by Neelrad from Fotolia.com
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