To quote one of my friends who recently said, “I have become an ocean and bay fisherman.”
Fishing for salmon in the ocean and bay is an adventure for sure, and it will generally offer the freshest table fare. No one will dispute the meat quality of salmon taken from these waters.
Whereas the Marine Area 2 fishery is coming to an official end as of Sept. 23, the bay fisheries are getting into full swing. Of course, Willapa Bay has been seeing action since early June. For good reason, more recently and in particular last month, fishing has picked up immensely. Area 2-1 will remain open to salmon fishing until Jan. 31, 2013.
The fishery, which has been greatly anticipated, is the opening of Marine Area 2-2. This water is located east of the Buoy 13 line. Today is the opener and is set to close Nov. 30 with some modifications during this time period.
Anglers will be entitled to keep three adult salmon of which only one may be a Chinook and two may be wild coho. All chum must be released. This daily limit regulation remains in effect until Oct. 7. The regulations change for this water during the time period of Oct. 8 to Nov. 30. The daily limit remains at three fish, however, only two may be wild coho. All Chinook and chum salmon must be released for these later dates.
For now, anglers are showing great enthusiasm at the opportunity to retain a king and even a couple of wild coho daily. Boat traffic can get a little hectic at the launches; but, hopefully any inconvenience will be outweighed with fishing success.
It should be added that any fish being released must be done so in a legal manner. That is, fish required to be released may not be totally removed from the water except in the case of anglers fishing from boats 30 feet or longer as listed on either their state or Coast Guard registration are exempt. Also, the life jacket rule applies to all children and provision should be made to carry a life jacket for all on the boat. From personal experience, I can tell you things can change very quickly in the bay.
There is still a small window of fishing opportunity remaining for Marine Area 2-2 west of Buoy 13 until Sept. 23. This fishery is regulated by the same rules which apply to Area 2 which is essentially the ocean.
The next best thing to bay fishing would be the opportunity to fish both Westport and Ocean Shores boat basins. These waters are given their share of fish. Anglers who are land locked and fish these waters may keep four adult salmon; however, all wild Chinook must be released.
So, it is very apparent we are swiftly moving toward an inland salmon season. Everyone interested in this subject is paying close attention to what is about to occur in the bay. With the absence of rain, salmon should be stacking up and fishing should be superb. At least this is what fishers are hoping.