Salmon anglers should see plenty of good times off the coast this summer.
The ocean fisheries will have a sport catch quota of 48,000 chinook (51,500 last year) and 74,760 hatchery coho, which is about 6,000 more than last year’s quota.
Neah Bay and La Push will be open for a hatchery-marked selective chinook fishery May 10-11, May 17-18 and daily from June 22-28. At Westport, the fishery will be open daily June 8-22. It will be open at Ilwaco June 8-21. The hatchery chinook quota is 8,000. Each port could close sooner if the quota is achieved. Daily limit will be two hatchery chinook, with a minimum size of 24 inches. Release all coho and wild chinook.
The coastal fisheries for chinook and hatchery-marked coho will be open daily starting June 22 at Ilwaco and June 29 at La Push and Neah Bay. Westport will be open Sunday to Thursday beginning June 29.
All ports will have a two-salmon daily limit, but at Ilwaco and Westport anglers may keep only one chinook. At Neah Bay and La Push there will also be a bonus daily catch limit of two pink salmon.
A robust wild coho return off the coast will produce good fishing in the Queets and Quillayute river system. Inner-coastal bays like Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay should also have good late-summer and early fall salmon fisheries.
An area off Tokeland in north-central Willapa Bay will be open for sport salmon fishing only from 6 p.m. Aug. 15 to 6 p.m. Sept. 15. Anglers in Willapa Bay may use two fishing poles with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement from Aug. 1 to Jan. 31.
Additional Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Columbia River salmon fisheries should be known by Thursday. All seasons and regulations will be available in the next couple of weeks at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon.
Coastal lingcod stellar, black rockfish elusive
For marine anglers, mid-month marks a time of change with new fisheries opening, and others closing or conforming to new rules.
The coastal lingcod off Westport has been stellar when charter boats find windows of opportunity in between storms.
“The lingcod fishery has been really good, but the black rockfish are a little more elusive,” said Larry Giese, owner of Deep Sea Charters in Westport. “There are a lot of rockfish around, but they’re feeding on crab spawn and not biting what we’re putting in front of them. Once the spawn ends they’ll come back, and bite really well.”
La Push and Ilwaco are also open for bottom-fish. Many anglers are gearing up for the lingcod fishery at Neah Bay, which opens this Tuesday.