OLYMPIA – Anglers will again be able to keep chinook salmon they catch in ocean waters off Ilwaco beginning Saturday, Sept. 17, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today.
The rule rescinds a change that took effect Sept. 9 requiring anglers to release chinook as the sport catch was nearing the coastwide quota.
But after two days of rough weather that kept anglers off the water, the number of chinook caught the week ending Sunday, Sept. 12, was much lower than anticipated, said Pat Pattillo, WDFW salmon policy coordinator. As of Sunday, 10 percent of the 43,250-fish coastwide chinook quota was still available for harvest, he said.
“Our goal is to try to achieve the season as scheduled if sufficient fish remain, without exceeding those quotas,” Pattillo said.
Low coastwide catch numbers last week mean sport fisheries in Westport, LaPush and Neah Bay areas also will likely continue through Sept. 18, the scheduled ending date for fishing seasons in those areas, Pattillo said. In the Ilwaco area, where season opened later than the other three ports, anglers will likely be able to fish through the scheduled closing date of Sept. 30, he said.
The daily catch limit is two salmon per day. Chinook must be at least 24 inches long and hatchery coho, which can be identified by a clipped adipose fin, must be at least 16 inches. Wild coho must be released unharmed.
Anglers are advised to check the WDFW Fishing Hotline (360-902-2500) or the department’s website for season updates before fishing for salmon in any of the state’s coastal waters.