Whatcom Creek

Main Species: Salmon
Sub Species: Trout
Size: Small river/stream
Public Access: Yes
Boat Launch: No
Bathrooms: No
Opening Date: Varies by species and section. Special rules in place.
Closing date: Varies by species and section. Special rules in place.

whatcom creek

whatcom creek

Whatcom Creek in Bellingham is a small sized creek that drains out of Lake Whatcom. Fishing was once good for trout throughout but after a pipeline explosion years ago the trout populations have been diminished. Certain areas are open to trout fishing throughout the spring and summer months with some areas being closed and others reserved for juvenile anglers under the age of 15. The tidewater area at the  mouth is open for salmon in the fall and has runs of Chinook, Coho, Chum and Pink salmon as well as a few steelhead. Fishing can be classifieds as “combat fishing” down by the mouth with lots of anglers standing along a concrete wall. Snagging and flossing can be a problem. There are however areas further down from the “wall” where anglers can fish from the bank without standing shoulder to shoulder with lots of other people. Some brave anglers fly fish this area.

There is a hatchery right at the mouth with fish ladders. They have put a tube near the landing area that anglers can put Chum salmon that they have caught illegally, or do not want to keep, into. The tube puts the salmon into holding tanks where they can be harvested for spawning purposes.

Anti Snagging rules are in place on Whatcom creek in the estuary area down by the salmon hatchery. This means that lures are limited to a single-point hook. Weights may not be attached below or less than 12″ above the lure or bait. People fishing in this area do not always follow this rule. However, ignoring this rule is not advised since it is in place for a reason. Numerous fish stack up in this area and can easily be snagged in the side if fishing with the wrong kind of gear. Game wardens patrol this area and will write tickets to people using illegal gear or intentionally snagging fish.

 

Anglers are advised to check the sport fishing rules pamphlet, which is available on WDFW’s website athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/fish/regs/fishregs.htm.

10 Responses to Whatcom Creek

  1. dustin August 16, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    what does it mean by daily limit 6 but only 2 retained

    • Fish Whatcom August 17, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

      When that rule is in place for salmon it means that 6 salmon may be retained, but only two of them can be adults. Meaning the other 4 are ‘jacks’, or immature salmon. You will want to read up on this in the WDFW regulations pamphlet but it is my understanding that a jack is a salmon under 24″ in length. Be sure to read the official regulations before fishing as WDFW changes rules often.

      • Bon June 19, 2017 at 7:41 pm #

        Hmmm…I think you may have that wrong. 2 retained means two retained. Meaning you don’t retain 6.

        Basically, if you catch six ish, you’re done fishing there. You can keep of to two fish of a total of 6 caught. Once you’ve reeled in 6 fish, regardless of how many you keep, you’re done fishing. So for instance, you catch one, it’s great and you keep it. You catch three more that are illegal to keep so you release them. Then you catch one more that you keep so you’re up to five but you want to keep fishing. You’re at your max retention of 2 fish but you’re still allowed to catch and release one more.
        Doesn’t saying anything about jacks; not sure where you hit that from but you should really understand the regulation before you give people advice on it

        • Fish Whatcom June 20, 2017 at 6:19 pm #

          From the original comment… “You will want to read up on this in the WDFW regulations pamphlet but it is my understanding that a jack is a salmon under 24″ in length. Be sure to read the official regulations before fishing as WDFW changes rules often.”

          • arthur king July 17, 2017 at 12:36 am #

            There is no such thing as a JACK CHUM salmon…. You can catch and release as many as you wish ( drop them in the hatchery tube ) keep two and leave…. Its a great fishery if you like combat fishing…..

          • Fish Whatcom July 17, 2017 at 7:54 pm #

            WDFW writes the rules and regs. So take it with them if you disagree with how it’s written.

        • Fish Whatcom July 20, 2017 at 12:40 am #

          It doesn’t say ‘2 retained’, it says “2 adults retained”. The updated regs read: “Min. size 12″. Daily limit 6. Up to 2 adults may be retained. Release wild COHO.”

          Limit refers to retention, not catch and release. The difference between adult and immature salmon is clearly defined in the regs. It states: “Adult Salmon In freshwater and Marine Areas
          2-1 and 2-2, Chinook 24″ or more in length; coho 20″ or more in length; and pink, chum, and sockeye salmon 12″ or more in length, are adults.”

          Because the minimum size is 12″, then yes you can only keep two adult chum salmon. However, chum salmon are not the only salmon present in Whatcom Creek.

          It seems that you should take your own advice and understand the regulations better yourself.

      • arthur king July 17, 2017 at 12:37 am #

        There are no jack’s as they are all considered adult salmon…….

        • Fish Whatcom July 20, 2017 at 12:34 am #

          Arthur,
          The regs don’t mention Chum salmon specifically. The reason why this is relevant to Whatcom Creek is that there are also chinook, coho and pink salmon that return to it, not just chum salmon.

          They define adult salmon as: “Adult Salmon In freshwater and Marine Areas 2-1 and 2-2, Chinook 24″ or more in length; coho 20″ or more in length; and pink, chum, and sockeye salmon 12″ or more in length, are adults.”

  2. arthur king July 22, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    Specifically from WDFW CHUM salmon whether whether 12″ or 48″ are considered ADULT, so therefore there are no JACK CHUM….. There is no longer a run of coho ( clipped ) at the hatchery and the last 4 years less then 10 coho have been caught. Chinook are pretty much absent in this creek as well, and the past 10 years 11 pinks have wandered their way accidentally… SO there fore catch your 2 chum and have fun…

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