Ocean salmon fishery opens July 1

OLYMPIA – Anglers can reel in salmon off the Washington coast beginning July 1, when the ocean sport fishery gets underway daily in all four marine areas.

This year’s sport fishing opportunities are mostly focused on chinook salmon, which are forecast to return at a rate slightly above the 10-year average, said Wendy Beeghley, an ocean salmon manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).  Anglers can fish for chinook in all four marine areas.

“We expect a pretty good chinook fishery in the ocean this summer,” Beeghley said. “However, we’ve put restrictions in place in an effort to protect coho, which are forecast to return in low numbers.”

Only Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will be open for coho retention. Fishery managers have attributed the low number of returning coho to poor ocean conditions last year.

This year’s 18,900 coho quota is a significant reduction from the 150,800 fish quota in 2015 and the lowest coho quota since 1998. The recreational chinook catch quota this year is 35,000 fish, down from 64,000 in 2015.

Marine Area 1 is scheduled to close Aug. 31 while marine areas 2 (Westport), 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) are scheduled to close Aug. 21. Fisheries may close sooner than scheduled if the quota is met. Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage athttp://wdfw.wa.gov/ for updates on the ocean fishery.

In Marine Area 1, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be a chinook. Anglers fishing in Marine Area 2 can retain one salmon daily. In marine areas 3 and 4, anglers will have a two-salmon daily limit. Anglers will be required to release all coho salmon in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, but can keep hatchery coho in Marine Area 1.

Additional information on fishing regulations can be found in Washington’s Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet, available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

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Anglers can keep two Chinook off Westport beginning Aug. 18

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Kirk Calkins and friends with a nice mixed bag of kings and silvers from Westport Saturday morning.

OLYMPIA – Starting Monday, Aug. 18, anglers fishing in ocean waters off Westport can keep up to two chinook salmon as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

With that change, anglers will be allowed to keep two chinook per day in ocean waters off Westport (Marine Area 2), La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4).

Those fishing Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) will continue to be limited to one chinook as part of their two-salmon daily limit.

All ocean areas are open to salmon fishing seven days per week. Wild coho must be released in all four areas.

Ron Warren, fisheries policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the previous daily limit of one chinook off Westport was designed to ensure the fishery would remain open the entire season.

“We’ve kept a close eye on the pace of catch in the area,” Warren said. “With sufficient quota remaining, we want to maximize the recreational fishing opportunity through the rest of the season.”

Ocean salmon fisheries are scheduled to continue through Sept. 30 in marine areas 1 and 2 and through Sept. 21 in marine areas 3 and 4. However, a portion of Marine Area 3 will reopen Sept. 27 through Oct. 12.

Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season and will announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/rules_all_saltwater.j .

Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum size limits and catch guidelines, is available in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/ .

Tom Weaver with a beautiful Westport king salmon

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2014 Washington Salmon Season

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VANCOUVER – State and tribal co-managers yesterday agreed on a package of salmon fisheries that meets conservation goals for wild salmon populations and provides fishing opportunities on healthy stocks.

Washington’s 2014 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized yesterday during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) meeting in Vancouver. The regulations cover salmon fisheries in Puget Sound, Washington’s ocean and coastal areas and the Columbia River.

WDFW fishery managers worked closely with tribal managers to develop salmon seasons and catch quotas that meet conservation goals for wild salmon, said Phil Anderson, WDFW director. Many members of the public also provided valuable input.

“This year’s process had a number of difficult challenges in designing salmon fisheries,” he said. “We were able to overcome those challenges through a commitment by all those involved to recover and protect wild salmon stocks while providing meaningful fishing opportunities in Washington’s waters.”

While conservative management plans for salmon assist in aiding salmon recovery, good habitat is the backbone of strong, sustainable fisheries, said Lorraine Loomis, Swinomish Tribe fisheries manager.

“Right now we are losing salmon habitat faster than we can restore it,” she said. “Fortunately, decent returns of hatchery salmon mean that both tribal and non-tribal fishermen will be on the water this year.”

As in past years, recreational salmon fisheries will vary by area:

Puget Sound: Anglers will have an opportunity to take advantage of a strong return of coho and Skagit River sockeye salmon but will see adjustments to wild chinook fisheries.

The forecast for sockeye returning to Baker Lake is strong enough this year to allow for both a lake fishery, open July through September, and a fishery on the Skagit River, which will be open June 14 through June 29.

A portion of the estimated 23 million sockeye returning to Canada’s Fraser River will make their way to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the waters around the San Juan Islands. Anglers fishing for sockeye in Marine Areas 5-7 will be allowed to keep two sockeye in addition to daily catch limits for other salmon during July and August.

In fall and winter, several Puget Sound marine areas will be converted to mark-selective fisheries to help protect wild chinook returning to Lake Washington and other watersheds. In the following areas, anglers will only be allowed to keep hatchery fish:

  • Marine Area 11 (Tacoma/Vashon Island) will become a mark-selective fishery October through December
  • Anglers in Marine Area 5 (Sekiu) must release wild chinook and wild coho during the month of October and must release wild chinook from Feb. 16 through April 10.
  • Marine Area 7 (the San Juan Islands) will convert to a mark-selective fishery for the month of October and the South Sound (Marine Area 13) will be restricted to hatchery chinook from Oct. 1 through April 30.
  • Marine areas 9 (Admiralty Inlet) and 10 (Seattle/Bremerton) are scheduled from July 16 through Aug. 31, but will have more restrictive in-season management triggers.
  • The mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook on the Skykomish River is scheduled June 1 through July 31. Meanwhile, day closures will be in effect for all anglers on the Puyallup and Nisqually rivers this year.

Anglers on the Skokomish River will have an additional week to fish for chinook. The season will be open Aug. 1 through Sept. 1, but day closures remain in effect. The Skokomish also will be open daily for coho beginning Sept. 15.

Columbia River: The Buoy 10 salmon fishery will be open from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. The fishery will be open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Sept. 1 with a daily limit of two salmon, only one of which can be chinook. From Aug. 30 through Sept 1, all retained chinook must have an adipose or left ventral clip.

From Sept. 2 through Sept. 30, anglers will have a daily limit of three hatchery coho but must release chinook. Fisheries managers will assess in-season catch and may enact in-season changes to the chinook retention in August and September. From Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, anglers can keep five fish, two of which can be chinook.

In the following fisheries, anglers fishing from the same boat may continue fishing for salmon until all licensed anglers have reached their daily limits:

The mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Lewis River will be open for hatchery coho Aug. 1 through Dec. 31. Anglers will be allowed to retain one adult chinook as part of their two-adult daily limit from Aug. 1 through Sept. 6. From Sept. 7 through Sept. 14, anglers will be allowed to retain hatchery chinook. From Oct. 1 through Dec 31, anglers can retain two chinook daily.
The Lewis River upstream to Steamboat Landing dock and the point straight across on the Oregon side of the river will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 for hatchery coho and chinook, with a daily limit of two salmon.
The Steamboat Landing dock upstream to the Bonneville Dam will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 for hatchery coho and chinook with a daily limit of three salmon, two of which can be hatchery coho.
Bonneville Dam to McNary Dam will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 with a daily limit of three salmon, two of which can be hatchery coho. Anglers must release any unmarked coho caught downstream of the Hood River Bridge.
The sockeye and hatchery summer chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam will be open from June 16 through June 30 on the mainstem Columbia River, with a daily limit of two adult salmon or steelhead, or one of each.

Washington’s ocean waters: The PFMC yesterday approved a recreational chinook catch quota of 59,100 fish, which is an increase of 11,000 fish from 2013’s quota. The PFMC, which establishes fishing seasons in ocean waters three to 200 miles off the Pacific coast, also adopted a quota of 184,800 coho for this year’s recreational ocean fishery – about 110,000 fish higher than last year’s quota.

Mark-selective salmon fisheries will begin in ocean areas on various dates in May.

The recreational salmon fishing season in Marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay) will begin with two short openings May 16 and 17, and May 23 and 24 for hatchery chinook. The mark-selective fishery for hatchery chinook in those two marine areas will then reopen May 31 and run seven days a week through June 13.
Mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook will be open daily May 31 through June 13 in Marine Area 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores) and Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco). In all areas, anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon, but must release coho and wild chinook. The fisheries could close earlier if a coastwide quota of 9,000 hatchery chinook is reached.
Recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho will be open daily beginning June 14 in Marine areas 1-4. Anglers will have a daily limit of two salmon in Marine areas 3 and 4. Those fishing Marine areas 1 and 2 also will have a two-salmon daily limit, but can keep only one chinook per day. Marine Area 4 will close Sept. 21 while Marine areas 1 and 2 close Sept. 30. Marine Area 3 closes Sept. 21 but will be open again Sept. 27 through Oct. 12.

Specific fishing seasons and regulations for marine areas in Washington and a portion of the Columbia River will be posted on WDFW’s North of Falcon website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/ within a few weeks.

Wishkah River

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Location:
Flows into the east end of Grays Harbor at Aberdeen.

Directions:
Take U.S.12 to Aberdeen and turn right on Wishkah Road which parallels the river.

Facilities:
Aberdeen has all you amenitites.

Contact:
Big Mouth John’s Tackle

Species:
Winter Steelhead, Coho and Chinook Salmon, Resident and Sea-Run Cutthroat Trout, and Seaperch

Fishing the Wishkah:
Though only one valley away from the Hoquiam, the Wishkah is a much better salmon and steelhead river, thanks to its better fish habitat and access to the water. Though your chances of hooking a keeper chinook aren’t all that great, work your way up Wishkah Road to the mouth of the West Fork Wishkah during October and November and you just might locate a Coho or two.
The winter steelheading is up and down from year to year, but some season the Wishkah will give up 150-200 fish. The best part of fishing the river is that the steelhead fishing remains pretty consistent from December until the end of the season in March.
Sea-Run Cutthroat is fair in the river in the month of October. Like the nearby Hoquiam, the regulations call for the release of all wild non-clipped Cutthroats.

Grays River

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Location:
Enters the Lower Columbia River west of Skamokawa.

Directions:
Take Highway 4 west from Cathlamet or east from Naselle. To reach much of the middle portion of the river, take Loop Road south off the highway (midway between the town of Grays River, and the highway bridge over the river), or turn south on Highway 403 near Rosburg to reach the lower river.

Facilities:
Illwaco, the nearest town of any size, is about 20 miles to the southeast and offers all your amenities. About 30 miles to the west is Fort Canby State Park, which has tent and RV sites, restrooms with showers, and a small store.

Contact:

Species:
Winter Steelhead, Sea-Run Cutthroat, Resident Cutthroat, Chinook, and Coho Salmon.

Fishing the Grays River:
Once a pretty well respected winter steelhead stream, the Gray’s has slipped a few notches over the years. Although stocked with 40,000 to 50,000 steelhead smolts a year, the steelhead catch bumps up and down every year from 150-400 fish a winter. That’s probably a ray of hope for the visiting angler. When the few steelhead that return from their ocean adventures usually occurs in the months of December and January. Fall salmon fishing is a whole lot worse and is only open in certain areas. There can be some excellent cutthroat fishing in the months of October and November. I would stick with fishing a nightcrawler behind a slip sinker with a minimum of a 48″ leader.

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2014 Northwest Salmon Derby Series

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Welcome to the Northwest Salmon Derby Series
The Northwest Salmon Derby Series, presented by Allstate Boat Insurance and Northwest GMC Dealers, is a fishing promotion program directed by the Northwest Marine Trade Association – producers of the Seattle Boat Show. In 2014, the Northwest Salmon Derby Series partners with 15 derbies throughout the region to promote fishing opportunities and events. At the conclusion of the Everett Coho Derby in September*, the Derby Series will award the grand prize boat to one lucky winner!

Mercury Marine Salmon Derby Challenge
Mercury Marine is proud to be the exclusive engine sponsor of the 2014 Northwest Salmon Derby Series. Mercury is announcing a new contingency program – the “Mercury Marine Salmon Derby Challenge!” At each of the 15 tournaments, Mercury will award the following prizes to the Top 3 finishers in each derby if their boat is equipped primarily by Mercury outboard engines (2009 or newer):

  • $3,000 for first place
  • $2,000 for second place
  • $1,000 for third place

2014 Northwest Salmon Derby Series Schedule

  • ROCHE HARBOR SALMON CLASSIC, February 6-8 Information: Website Phone: 360-378-5562 E-mail: market@rocheharbor.com Kids Division: No
  • OLYMPIC PENINSULA SALMON DERBY, DISCOVERY BAY, February 15-17 Information: Website E-mail: mldtatum@embarqmail.com Kids Division: No
  • EVERETT BLACKMOUTH DERBY, BAYSIDE MARINE, March 22 Information: Website Phone: 425-501-4024 E-mail: wowoody1@yahoo.com Kids Division: No
  • BELLINGHAM SALMON DERBY, July 11-13 Information: Website Phone: 360-966-2621 E-mail: roylentz@zeninternet.com Kids Division: Yes
  • HARBOR MARINE SALMON TOURNAMENT, EVERETT July 26-27 Information: Website Phone: 425-259-3285 E-mail: james@harbormarine.net Kids Division: No
  • SOUTH KING COUNTY PSA SALMON DERBY, PT DEFIANCE, August 2 Information: Website Phone: 206-387-9293 E-mail: twiest@sooscreek.com Kids Division: Yes
  • GIG HARBOR PSA SALMON DERBY, August 9 Information: Website Phone: 253-255-8168 E-mail:jeff@zuniga-family.com Kids Division: Yes
  • SOUTH SOUND SALMON DERBY, OLYMPIA, August 16 Information: Phone: 360-250-9808 E-mail: bartoldo@yahoo.com Kids Division: Yes
  • SEKIU SALMON DERBY, August 23-24 Information:Coming Soon
  • WILLAPA BAY SALMON DERBY, TOKELAND, August 30 Information: E-mail: dfdbones@aol.com Kids Division: No
  • COLUMBIA RIVER FALL SALMON DERBY, VANCOUVER, August 30 Information: Facebook Page, Website Phone: 360-256-3935 E-mail RGI@q.com Kids Division: Yes
  • EDMONDS COHO DERBY, September 6 Information: Website Phone: 206-920-2468 E-mail :tdstumpf@yahoo.com Kids Division: Yes
  • * EVERETT COHO DERBY, September 20-21 Information: Website Phone: 425-923-8405 E-mail: everettcohoderby@gmail.com Kids Division: Yes
  • BAYSIDE MARINE SALMON DERBY, EVERETT, November 1-2 Information: Website Phone: 425-252-3088 E-mail: jeff@baysidemarine.com Kids Division: No
  • RESURRECTION SALMON DERBY, FRIDAY HARBOR, December 5-6 Information: Website Phone: 360-202-2664 E-mail:chris@jollymonanacortes.com Kids Division: No


* Drawing for Grand Prize Derby Series Boat will be held at Everett Coho Derby, September 21st. Anglers participating in derby events after September 21 will be entered to win the 2015 Series grand prize.


Focused on Salmon Recovery

The Northwest Salmon Derby Series, presented by Allstate Boat Insurance and Northwest GMC Dealers, was created in 2004 by the Northwest Marine Trade Association (NMTA) for the purpose of promoting salmon fishing opportunities in the Pacific Northwest. In the first year of the Series, six existing derbies were identified to become partners of the Series. Since that year, the Series has expanded to 15 tournaments in 2014.

Carefully and selectively, the Series has been very keen to partner with derbies that are wild fish friendly. Each event occurs within the guidelines of open fishing seasons that occur at a time of the year and area where hatchery chinook and coho salmon exist. In fact, some of the tournaments have gone to “hatchery fish only” even during times and places where retention of unmarked chinook and coho are acceptable for retention in accordance with the Department of Fish and Wildlife rules.

We, at the Northwest Salmon Derby Series and NMTA, are a partner to the protection and enhancement of wild chinook and coho stocks. We encourage anglers to fish selectively and carefully to release unmarked chinook and coho salmon, particularly when the rules require release.

By working with government agencies to protect wild stocks, while accessing abundant hatchery salmon, we believe this formula is the road map to the future of sport fishing for salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

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More than 1.2 million coho expected in Washington waters this summer!

This years prediction of coho abundance in 2014 that is almost three times larger than last year.

The forecast calls for 1,213,700 coho to arrive off the Washington coast, compared to a preseason forecast of 716,400 last year, when 445,300 actually returned.

These coho are the bread and butter for coastal and Columbia River fisheries, and just waxes figures since 2009.

The forecast in 2009 called for 1.2 million coho, with an actual return of about 1.05 million in what was deemed as a “wonderful ocean coho fishery season.”

Last year, the ocean sport fishery off the Washington coast had a sport catch hatchery coho quota of 78,760, and has hovered about 80,000 for the past four years.

This should give fisheries managers plenty of wiggle room to create some fairly decent fishing seasons off the coast at the ports of Neah Bay, La Push, Westport and Ilwaco, as well as those headed up the Columbia River.