Ocean Salmon Season
by Allen Thomas
Salmon angling off the Washington and northern Oregon coast will begin July 3 with enough coho to allow about an eight-week season near the mouth of the Columbia River.
The Pacific Fishery Management Council adopted the summer and fall ocean seasons last week in California. While much of the discussion centered on fishing opportunities off central Oregon and California, fishing off northern Oregon and Washington never was in jeopardy.
Angling between Cape Falcon, near Manzanita, Ore., and Leadbetter Point at the northern tip of the Long Beach Peninsula, will debut July 3 and be open Sundays through Thursdays. The coho quota is 36,600 fish.
The bag limit will be two fish, but only one may be a chinook. All wild coho must be released. If angling effort and success are similar to 2005, those coho should support a season that lasts until mid-August.
Butch Smith, president of the Ilwaco Charter Association, said he thinks fishing could stay open through Labor Day.
"It'll be tight, but we might be able to squeak it out,'' he said. "We're only looking at a five-day-a-week season instead of seven days like last year, so that's 18 days off.''
Smith remembers 1994, when there was no ocean season off Washington.
"This is a lot better,'' he said. "I know what zero is.''
Buoy 10, the season for the lower 16 miles of the Columbia River, will open Aug. 1 with a two-salmon limit, but only one chinook. Chinook fishing is anticipated to be fair to good at Buoy 10 this summer, but coho angling likely will be poor again.
For the Westport area, fishing will open July 3 with a 27,603-coho quota. Fishing will be Sundays through Thursdays with a two-fish limit, but only one chinook.
Overall, the sport quotas off northern Oregon and Washington are 31,000 chinook and 73,200 coho. That compares with 43,250 chinook and 121,800 coho in 2005.
"The recent listing of lower Columbia River coho underscore the need to develop new fishing opportunities that limit impacts to weak salmon stocks,'' said Jeff Koenings, director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. "With changes, such as re-tooling our hatchery production, we should be able to provide meaningful and sustainable fisheries that target hatchery-origin salmon and healthy runs that do exist in the river.''
Central Oregon -- The council adopted a sport season for 20,000 fin-clipped coho off central Oregon beginning June 17. The limit is two fish per day, with angling open daily.
Final approval must come from the U.S. Secretary of Commerce.
For complete details on the ocean summer salmon seasons go to: www.pcouncil.org
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