Anglers can reel in salmon off the Washington coast beginning July 1, when the ocean sport fishery gets underway daily in all four marine areas.
This year’s sport fishing opportunities are mostly focused on chinook salmon, which are forecast to return at a rate slightly above the 10-year average, said Wendy Beeghley, an ocean salmon manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). Anglers can fish for chinook in all four marine areas.
“We expect a pretty good chinook fishery in the ocean this summer,” Beeghley said. “However, we’ve put restrictions in place in an effort to protect coho, which are forecast to return in low numbers.”
Only Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will be open for coho retention. Fishery managers have attributed the low number of returning coho to poor ocean conditions last year.
This year’s 18,900 coho quota is a significant reduction from the 150,800 fish quota in 2015 and the lowest coho quota since 1998. The recreational chinook catch quota this year is 35,000 fish, down from 64,000 in 2015.
Marine Area 1 is scheduled to close Aug. 31 while marine areas 2 (Westport), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) are scheduled to close Aug. 21. Fisheries may close sooner than scheduled if the quota is met. Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ for updates on the ocean fishery.
In Marine Area 1, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 2 can retain one salmon daily. In marine areas 3 and 4, anglers will have a two-salmon daily limit. Anglers will be required to release all coho salmon in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, but can keep hatchery coho in Marine Area 1.
Additional information on fishing regulations can be found in Washington’s Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/