OLYMPIA – Summer fishing returns to the Washington coast beginning June 26 when waters off Westport and Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) open for salmon. All other coastal waters, plus the Strait of Juan de Fuca and most of Puget Sound, will open to salmon fishing within a week’s time.
Anglers from Ilwaco to Neah Bay will be able to take 43,250 chinook and 121,800 coho salmon this season. The ocean chinook quota is similar to ceilings in recent years, while the ocean coho quota is significantly lower than the limit for the past two years due to a lower abundance of coho.
Despite the lower coho number, fishery mangers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) expect sport anglers will experience good fishing through the summer.
“The start of the ocean salmon-fishing season is one of the most anticipated times of the year for anglers across the state,” said Phil Anderson, Special Assistant to the WDFW Director. “We’ve developed a fishing season that we believe will provide a summer of good fishing along the coast.”
Marine waters from LaPush through the San Juan Islands (marine areas 3 through 7) open to salmon fishing July 1, while ocean waters off the Columbia River, including the southern coastal ports of Ilwaco and Chinook (Marine Area 1) open July 3.
Marine areas 1 and 2 (Ilwaco and Westport) will be open to salmon fishing Sunday through Thursday of each week. Marine areas 3 and 4 (LaPush and Neah Bay) will be open to fishing Tuesday through Saturday of each week.
Coastal areas have a daily two-fish limit, no more than one of which may be a chinook. Chinook must be 24 inches in length to retain, while the minimum size for coho is 16 inches on the coast. Wild coho must be released.
Chinook in all other marine areas where retention is allowed must be at least 22 inches in length.
Mark-selective fishing for chinook in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca also begins July 1. Anglers can retain up to two hatchery chinook salmon per day as part of their daily limit in the fishery, which will run through Aug. 10 or until 3,500 fish are caught, whichever comes first. The fishery’s boundaries stretch from the mouth of the Sekiu River to the eastern end of Ediz Hook near Port Angeles.
WDFW Director Jeff Koenings said safely releasing fish that can’t be retained is essential to future fishing seasons.
“Efforts to restore weak salmon stocks are well under way throughout the state, and the continued success of these programs includes angler compliance with all of the rules,” he said.
Anglers from Sekiu through the San Juan Islands will be able to take advantage of an expected strong return of pink salmon this summer. A “daily bonus bag limit” of two additional pink salmon will be in place during seasons for chinook or coho salmon in marine areas 5 through 10.
“Salmon-fishing opportunities are an important part of the economic base for many communities,” Koenings said. “From hotel and vacation home rentals, to bait, fuel and ice sales, good fishing seasons make a significant contribution to the bottom lines of businesses throughout the state.”
Season details, including fishing area descriptions, daily bag limits and emergency rule changes are available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations on the Internet.