OLYMPIA – Beginning July 16, anglers fishing ocean waters off Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) will be restricted to one chinook as part of their daily limit of two salmon to increase the likelihood of providing a season-long fishery.
Anglers fishing those waters have been allowed to retain two chinook a day since July 1, but an unusually strong start to the fishing season prompted fishery managers to make a change, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
“The fishery in Marine Area 4 got off to such a hot start that more than a third of the chinook harvest guideline for the area already has been taken,” Pattillo said. “After consulting with our coastal community advisors, we decided to make this change now to try to stay within the chinook guideline and allow for a full season of fishing.”
Through July 8, anglers have taken 1,492 chinook off Neah Bay. The chinook harvest guideline for that area is 4,700.
Salmon fishing remains open seven days a week in Marine Area 4, as well as in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 3 (LaPush). Marine Area 2 (Westport) is open for salmon fishing Sundays through Thursdays.
The daily catch limit is two salmon for all areas of the ocean fishery. Anglers fishing in marine areas 1 and 2 can retain one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit. Those fishing in marine areas 3 and 4 are currently allowed to retain two chinook per day. But the chinook limit will change to one per day in marine area 4 starting July 16.
In all four marine areas, anglers must release wild coho salmon.
Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.
Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 23 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.
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/.