Salmon fishing is definitely on the minds of many at this time. Some changes and early openers have made this fishery very enticing.
First of all, the fact that the Department of Fisheries has expanded the catch option on the ocean to the retention of both wild and hatchery coho helps. It has already been reported that anglers fishing ocean waters off Westport can keep up to two Chinook as part of their two fish daily limit. These changes certainly enhance any consideration to fish blue water.
Now that salmon are beginning to move into coastal rivers it is currently changing fishing dynamics. Also, some earlier openers have given anglers the opportunity to pursue salmon sooner than in past seasons.
The two Harbor rivers which have been given early opening dates are the Humptulips and Chehalis rivers. The Wynooche River will once again remain closed to the taking of salmon.
The Hump opened Sept. 1 and boasts a rather generous catch limit. Up to three adult salmon may be retained of which only one may be a Chinook and only one may be a wild coho. All chum salmon must be released.
The Chehalis River also opened on the first and it too has a generous catch limit this year through the 30th of the month when fishing from the mouth of the 101 bridge in Aberdeen to the Porter Bridge, anglers are entitled to retain a daily limit of six fish of which three may be wild coho and adult Chinook must be released.
These two salmon fisheries have generated much interest and many happy anglers. The recent rains have brought in fresh fish and anytime anglers can take home a salmon for their efforts translates into a win win situation.
We are still quite early in the season, but at least fishers have the opportunity to make an effort and hopefully do well.
Now, after this weekend the salmon opportunities expand yet further to include the Satsop River and Marine Area 2-2. Marine Area 2-2, which is basically the Chehalis Bay, will allow anglers three adult fish of which one may be a Chinook. The reason this opener is so entreating is, depending on the rain situation or lack of it, fish may stack up before migrating. If this is the case, anglers will have another good location to wet a line.
The Satsop River, which is further upstream, would expect fish later if there is not enough water available for their migration. Whereas this river opens on the 16th, it may still yield fish because we have seen significant rain in past weeks to change the situation.
The Satsop River will be strictly a coho fishery this year. Until the end of November, anglers will be able to retain up to three adult fish of which only two may be wild coho. All adult Chinook must be released.
All this information simply means that anglers will be able to access fish sooner and possibly take home more fish than in previous seasons. Now, we need a little cooperation from mother nature to put this plan together.