OLYMPIA – Coastal anglers will get another chance to fish for salmon in the marine waters off Westport during a two-day extension, Sunday and Monday, Aug. 18-19, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
As previously announced, the salmon fishery in Marine Area 2 off Westport will close tonight (Aug. 15) at midnight, but will then reopen Sunday and Monday for two days of fishing under the same rules that have been in effect for the past week.
Under those rules, anglers in the Westport area may retain up to two salmon per day, although only one of those fish can be a chinook salmon. Anglers must release any chinook salmon measuring less than 28 inches in length along with any coho they catch that have not been marked with a clipped adipose fin.
Today's closure was designed to give fishery managers time to assess whether additional chinook salmon could be harvested in Marine Area 2 under the coastwide quota, said Phil Anderson, special assistant to the WDFW director. Catch rates over the past week indicate that enough chinook salmon remain under the quota for two additional days of fishing, he said.
"It's been a great summer for chinook fishing off Westport and the rest of the Washington coast," Anderson said. "But we have to stick to the seasonal catch limits to lay the foundation for strong returns in future years."
Although the salmon fishery in the Westport area will close for the year after the two-day extension, anglers still have plenty of opportunities to catch salmon in other coastal areas, Anderson said.
Coho fishing in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco), 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay) is now hitting its prime and will remain open until the coho quota for each area is reached, Anderson said. While all of those areas have been closed to chinook salmon retention since Aug. 10, Anderson said Neah Bay and LaPush are expected to have enough coho available under their quotas to last until the scheduled season closure on Sept. 8. However, fishing in the Ilwaco area could close sooner than its scheduled closure date of Sept. 30 if current catch trends continue, he said.
In addition, the "Buoy 10" fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River has been picking up throughout the week with mounting catch rates expected for both coho and chinook salmon into September, said Tony Floor in the WDFW Fish Program.
"A majority of the salmon caught off the coast were headed for the Columbia River," Floor said. "Given the high catch rates in the coastal fisheries, we're expecting an excellent fishery at Buoy 10."
Under current rules for the Buoy 10 fishery, anglers must release all chinook under 24 inches in length, as well as sockeye, chum and unmarked coho.