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Originally published March 14, 2015 at 5:19 PM | Page modified March 14, 2015 at 5:34 PM

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Salmon fishing prospects this summer look good

Three ocean salmon fishing catch-quota alternatives were set by state and federal fisheries officials, and anglers will likely see plenty of the good times on the water this summer.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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Three ocean salmon fishing catch-quota alternatives were set by state and federal fisheries officials, and anglers will likely see plenty of good times on the water this summer.

“The early outlook is really good for chinook, and the same goes for coho although it is just overshadowed in comparison to the million we had return last year,” said Doug Milward, a state Fish and Wildlife coastal salmon manager.

“The fisheries we have set in the three options look a lot like last year with a few little tweaks here and there,” Milward said. “The hatchery mark rate (for coho with a missing adipose fin that anglers may keep) is lighter, but this summer still qualifies as a happy dance for fishermen.”

The Columbia River coho forecast this year is 777,000 compared to 964,100 forecast last year and actual return of 1.24 million.

“We are still in much better shape for coho than what we’ve seen in the last four or five years, and well above the 10-year average,” Milward said.

The preliminary Columbia River fall chinook forecast of 900,200 has the potential to be the third-largest on record since at least 1938, and larger than the last five-year average. Last year’s forecast was more than 1.6 million and saw an actual return of more than 1.15 milllion.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council met in Vancouver last week and came up with three alternatives for ocean sport, commercial and tribal fishing seasons.

The high sport fishing quota alternative this summer is 64,000 chinook (60,000 last year and 51,500 in 2013) and 159,200 hatchery-marked coho (193,200 and 75,600). The middle alternative is 62,000 (58,000 and 41,500) and 134,400 (176,400 and 71,400); and the lower end alternative is 58,000 (47,500 and 30,000) and 117,600 (159,600 and 63,000).

In comparison, last year’s final adopted sport quota was 59,100 chinook and 184,800 hatchery coho.

The northern coast will also benefit from a huge return of more than 6.5 million pink salmon, allowing anglers to keep an additional two pinks as part of their daily catch limit.

Preliminary data from summer 2014 had anglers keeping 140,450 fish from June 14 to Oct. 12. Catch averages ranged from 1.10 to 1.64 fish per rod at all ports.

Fisheries managers will adopt final seasons and catch quotas on April 11-16 in Rohnert Park, Calif.

High option

Selective fishery for hatchery chinook opens May 30 to June 12 off Ilwaco and Westport. La Push and Neah Bay open May 15-16, May 22-23 and May 30 to June 12. Daily limit of two salmon, and release coho and wild chinook.

Season opens June 13 to Sept. 30 off Ilwaco and Westport with a daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained. La Push opens June 13 to Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-11 with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two pink salmon. Neah Bay opens June 13 to Sept. 30 with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two pink salmon.

Middle option

Selective fishery for hatchery chinook opens June 6-19 off Ilwaco and Westport with a daily limit of two salmon, and release coho and wild chinook. La Push and Neah Bay open May 22-23 and June 6-19 with a daily limit of two salmon, and release coho and wild chinook.

Opens June 20 to Sept. 30 at Ilwaco and Westport with a daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained. La Push opens June 20 to Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two pink salmon. Neah Bay opens June 20 to Sept. 30 with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two pink salmon.

Low option

Selective fishery for hatchery chinook opens June 13-26 off Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay with a daily limit of two salmon, and release coho and wild chinook.

Opens June 27 to Sept. 30 at Ilwaco with a daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained. Westport opens June 27 to Sept. 20 with a daily limit of two salmon, but only one chinook may be retained. La Push opens June 27 to Sept. 20 and Sept. 27 to Oct. 11 with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two pink salmon. Neah Bay opens June 27 to Sept. 20 with a daily limit of two salmon, plus two pink salmon.

Puget Sound seasons next on agenda

Now the attention will switch to how state fisheries managers shape Puget Sound and Strait of Juan de Fuca salmon-fishing seasons.

A strong Puget Sound coho run of 891,000 is forecast to return, which is about 20,000 more than last year.

The chinook return forecast of 208,000 is down slightly from last year, but will still provide some glory moments for summertime anglers. The strong pink return will also boost the catch limit during the summer in many marine areas.

myuasa@seattletimes.com

or 206-464-8780



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