OLYMPIA–This year's salmon fishing season setting process begins March 1 in Lacey when Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) managers discuss their forecasts for wild and hatchery salmon runs.
The public meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave. SE, Lacey.
Salmon fishing season-setting occurs on two tracks: Fishing seasons in the Pacific Ocean off the Washington, Oregon and California coasts are set in public meetings held by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC). WDFW, in conjunction with tribes, the federal government and the public, sets seasons for inland waters, such as Puget Sound, in a parallel process known as North of Falcon.
The March 1 meeting will include run-size forecasts that will determine salmon fishing opportunities in the ocean from ports like Westport and Ilwaco, as well as in state waters.
Fish managers use the run-size forecasts to shape commercial, sport and tribal fishing opportunities so that they harvest healthy stocks and species while protecting wild stocks in poor condition.
The next step in the process is the PFMC's meeting from March 6-10 at the Red Lion Hotel in Sacramento, Calif. During the meeting, the PFMC is scheduled to develop options for sport, commercial and tribal fishing in federal waters off Washington's Pacific Ocean coast.
The first North of Falcon meeting is scheduled for March 15-16 at the Sheraton Portland Hotel, 8235 NE Airport Way, in Portland.
The second North of Falcon meeting is scheduled for March 29 and 30 at the Doubletree Inn at Southcenter, Tukwila.
Final decisions for ocean and inland salmon fishing seasons will be set during the week of April 3-7 when fish managers from the states, tribes and federal government meet with the public at the Columbia River Doubletree Inn in Portland.