Angler attention is definitely moving toward salmon fishing on all fronts as we near the month of September. There is still a lot of attention being focused on the ocean fishery known as Area 2.
As of Monday, this fishery allows the angler to retain a daily limit of two salmon, both of which may be a Chinook. All wild coho must be released. This provision remains in effect until the hatchery coho or Chinook guideline is attained. It should also be noted that the Grays Harbor Control Zone closed on Aug. 11. One should consult with the Washington State Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for precise boundaries pertaining to this ruling.
Area 2-1, which is essentially Willapa Bay, is currently open to salmon fishing and draws quite a few anglers for this early salmon season. There is an opportunity to retain three adult salmon, however, all wild Chinook and chum must be released. Anglers may fish with two poles if they possess a two-pole endorsement. There are two closure areas in effect, namely the South Willapa Bay Area and the North River Closure area. Again, anglers need to be aware of the boundaries pertaining to these closures.
One of the more welcomed salmon fisheries is Area 2-2 which exists east of the Buoy 13 line. This fishery provides anglers with a daily limit of two salmon of which one may be a Chinook. All wild coho must be released. This season opened today and closes Aug. 31, however, this season may be extended depending on fishing success. The Humptulips North Bay Fishery is also in effect and again, the rules pamphlet covers this information for those fishing these waters.
The other good news for salmon fishers is the opening at the Chehalis River Aug. 16 for salmon fishing. The opener is for water from the Highway 101 bridge system to Black River and includes all channels, sloughs and interconnected waterways. There is a daily limit of six salmon of which three adults may be retained, however, all adult Chinook must be released. There is also a single-point barbless hook requirement in effect.
What this means is that one can expect to see anglers lining the banks of the Chehalis River in Aberdeen. Boat traffic should also pick up and for the balance of the season, this will fluctuate according to the salmon runs that occupy the river system.
Finally today, the Westport Boat Basin and Ocean Shores Boat Basin opened to salmon fishing. This opener offers the angler a daily limit of six salmon with four adults retainable. All Chinook must be released, which makes this fishery primarily a coho opportunity. Further restrictions include a night closure rule, anti-snagging rule and the usage of only single-point barbless hooks.
These many salmon options demonstrate that we are beginning to turn a corner in regard to inland salmon fishing. A few early openers have set the stage and gotten the attention of anxious anglers. Hopefully, there will be salmon in the waters open to fishing.