OLYMPIA – After a month of good fishing for hatchery coho salmon, most areas of the Washington coast will close to salmon anglers after this weekend, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Coastal salmon fisheries near the ports of LaPush, Westport and Ilwaco are all nearing annual quotas established by the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and will be closed to prevent overharvesting, said Phil Anderson, director of WDFW's division of intergovernmental affairs.
"We've had a very good run this year," Anderson said. "Our selective fishing program, now in its third year, gave us a chance to offer anglers a chance to fish for marked, hatchery coho salmon while protecting wild stocks."
Coastal waters in Marine Area 3 near LaPush will be the first to close, with the recreational salmon fishery set to end at midnight Saturday, Aug. 12.
Marine Areas 1 and 2, which include the ports of Ilwaco and Westport respectively, will be closed to recreational salmon fishing Friday and Saturday, Aug. 11 and 12, then reopen for a final day of fishing Sunday, Aug. 13, closing for the last time at midnight.
The Sunday fishery in the Westport area will be restricted to an area previously closed to fishing near the entrance to Grays Harbor extending from the lighthouse one mile south of the south jetty, west to Buoy 2, north to Buoy 3 and east to the north jetty. The open area also includes the portion of Area 2.2 (Grays Harbor) west of a north- south line through Buoy 13.
The closure in the Ilwaco area does not include waters inside of Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River, which opened Aug. 1 under a separate chinook quota. Also unaffected by the closures are recreational salmon fisheries now underway in the Neah Bay area, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and inside waters of Puget Sound.
Anderson said the closure schedule gives anglers one more weekend to fish, while holding area catches within the established guidelines. Those accustomed to fishing in the Westport area can either fish Sunday in the established area near the entrance to Grays Harbor or they can go 20 miles south to take advantage of the last day of the Ilwaco season.
"We've worked hard to structure these seasons to meet the needs of both the fishers and the fish," Anderson said. "I think we struck a good balance this year."