OLYMPIA - Anglers will be allowed to retain both wild and hatchery coho salmon beginning Monday, Sept. 1, in ocean waters off Westport, La Push and Neah Bay.
Those changes will not affect the ocean salmon fishery off of Ilwaco (Marine Area 1), where anglers will continue to be allowed to retain hatchery coho, but must release wild coho, said Doug Milward, ocean salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Anglers were initially limited to hatchery coho - marked with a missing adipose fin - to ensure the department would meet conservation goals for wild coho while extending fishing through the entire salmon season, said Milward.
However, with a month remaining in the fishery, only 55 percent of the coho quota has been reached in Marine Area 2 (Westport), 63 percent in Marine Area 3 (La Push) and 20 percent in Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay).
"With so much of the coho catch quota remaining in each of those three marine areas this late in the season, we can allow anglers to keep both hatchery and wild coho without exceeding our conservation objectives for wild salmon," Milward said.
Through Aug. 24, anglers fishing out of Westport had caught 37,539 coho of the 68,380 fish quota. Anglers fishing off La Push, where there is a coho catch quota of 4,750 fish, had caught 2,981 coho. And anglers fishing out of Neah Bay have caught 3,809 coho of the 19,220 fish quota.
Anglers have a two-salmon daily catch limit in all four marine areas off the Washington coast. Up to two chinook may be retained in areas 2, 3 and 4. However, chinook must be released east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line in Marine Area 4. Anglers fishing Marine Area 1 are limited to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily catch limit.
All ocean areas (marine areas 1-4) are open to salmon fishing seven days a week.
Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 21 in marine areas 3 and 4 and through Sept. 30 in marine areas 1 and 2. A portion of Marine Area 3 will open again Sept. 27 through Oct. 12.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and announce any other changes on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/.
Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum size limits and area catch guidelines, is available in WDFW's Sportfishing Rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.