OLYMPIA - Anglers will be allowed to retain both wild and hatchery coho salmon beginning Sunday, Sept. 1, in ocean waters off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) and Friday, Sept. 6, off Westport (Marine Area 2).
Those changes will not affect ocean salmon fisheries off LaPush (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4), 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 49 percent of the coho quota has been reached in Marine Area 1 and only 48 percent in Marine Area 2.
"With slightly less than half of the coho catch quota remaining in each of those two 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. 25, anglers fishing out of Ilwaco had caught 18,424 coho of the 37,380 fish quota. Anglers fishing off Westport, where there is a coho catch quota of 27,660 fish, had caught 13,168 coho.
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 all areas; however, chinook must be released in that part of Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line. Anglers in marine areas 3 and 4 are allowed two additional pink salmon as part of their 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. 22 in marine areas 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in marine areas 1 and 2.
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/ .