by Mark Yuasa
Just when everyone thought salmon-fishing prospects had hit rock bottom, they took a turn for the better this week.
"Overall, the entire coast improved for salmon fishing, and effort was up everywhere except La Push," said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Ilwaco anglers experienced some bad weather, but all the charters that got out reached their limits mainly on coho, with fewer chinook caught. The catch-per-person average was 1.3 fish, and that was artificially deflated because many private boats couldn't get out because of rough seas.
At Westport, the catch average was almost one salmon per rod, with one-third of the catch chinook and two-thirds coho.
"Fishing turned out to be pretty good [yesterday], and most are getting their chinook limit, and some are getting a coho, too," said Mark Cedergreen, head of the Westport Charterboat Association. "The boats found the fish off Willapa in 180 feet of water."
Tuna have disappeared off Westport and the water temperatures have dropped, most likely related to cooler northwest winds.
Fishing at Neah Bay-La Push has improved dramatically. Many anglers had been going offshore to places like Blue Dot, Table Top and Prairie to find fish, but now they're finding them closer to the entrance of the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
"We saw a 1.06 fish-per-person average, and about eight out of 10 fish were coho," Beeghly said. "They are getting into nice, big schools of coho, but we haven't seen the huge numbers of pinks yet."
In the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Sekiu, Freshwater Bay and Port Angeles, fishing improved for hatchery-marked kings and coho, as well as pinks.
"I talked to a [state Fish and Wildlife] checker who said there was a lot of silvers, and over 50 percent of them were marked [with a missing adipose fin]," said Val Olson at Olson's Resort in Sekiu.
Columbia River: "Best [steelhead] catch rates were from Longview downstream, although some boats from Camas-Washougal upstream are catching some fish, including summer chinook," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.
Good for sturgeon in the estuary from Knappton to Chinook.
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