OLYMPIA There won't be any secrets about where the chinook are biting during this year's summer salmon season off Westport.
Working in conjunction with the Westport Charterboat Association, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) plans to post daily "hotspots" on its website (http://wdfw.wa.gov/) as reported from the fishing grounds.
Anglers can also call WDFW at (360) 902-2700 for the same information.
"The challenge off Westport and the rest of the coast this year will be to catch the large number of chinook salmon available before the coho quota is met," said Tony Floor, with the WDFW Fish Program. "The charter boat association plans to help in that effort."
In addition to the cooperative effort with WDFW, the association plans to post signs near the Westport boat basin noting where the chinook have been biting in recent days. The association will also answer radio queries on the same subject on VHF Channel 79 and CB Channels 8, 11, 29, 34 and 40.
One sign near the public boat ramp will pinpoint the action by latitude, longitude, compass bearing and distance in nautical miles from Buoy 8, which marks the western tip of the sunken part of the South Jetty. Another sign, with the same information, will be posted at the Hungry Whale store on North Montesano Street in Westport.
All four ocean fishing areas off the Washington coast are expected to benefit from a strong chinook run this year, with returns to the Columbia River predicted to be the second largest since 1948.
The summer salmon-fishing season off Westport (Marine Area 2) is scheduled to run Sundays through Thursdays from June 30 through Aug. 15, then shift to a seven- days-per-week fishery through Sept. 8 or until either the coho quota or the chinook guideline is attained.
The season off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) will open Sundays through Thursdays beginning July 7, shifting to seven days per week beginning Aug. 16 or until either the coho quota or the chinook guideline is attained.
The two other ocean fishing areas LaPush (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) are scheduled to run seven days per week from July 7 through Sept. 8, or until quotas in those areas are reached.
The daily limit in all four ocean areas is two salmon, although anglers are required to release any wild coho they catch. Anglers should consult WDFW's Fishing in Washington pamphlet for additional information and regulations before they go fishing.