OLYMPIA - Salmon fisheries off the coast of Ilwaco and Westport will be open seven days per week starting July 25, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
Fishing days in Marine Areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 2 (Westport) is being expanded from the current Sunday-through-Thursday schedule, because the number of anglers fishing in those areas has been lower than expected this summer, said Phil Anderson, special assistant for intergovernmental resource management.
"Despite strong runs of chinook and coho salmon, we're just not seeing the number of anglers we expected," Anderson said. "That means we can expand fishing opportunities without exceeding catch quotas for those areas."
The new fishing schedule, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m. July 25, will put salmon fisheries on the south coast on the same schedule as those to the north, which have been open seven days per week since the salmon season opened there June 22.
Anderson said the move to a seven-day-a-week fishery in Marine Areas 1 and 2 is the earliest for those areas since 1985.
As in previous years, the coastal fishery for coho salmon is "selective" for hatchery fish, Anderson said. That means that anglers can only keep coho with a missing adipose fin, identifying them as hatchery salmon. Any unclipped coho must be released unharmed.
Anglers are also reminded that anglers may retain only one chinook with a minimum size of 26 inches as part of the two-salmon daily limit.
As of July 13, coastal anglers had caught approximately 7,400 chinook and 24,400 hatchery coho salmon, representing 12 percent of the coastwide chinook quota and 11 percent of the coastwide coho quota.
That equates to 1.4 salmon per angler, per trip.
"That's pretty good fishing," Anderson said.