Those chomping at the bit for the sport ocean salmon fishing opener this weekend will like this news I got passed along by Tony Floor, the director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association.
Steve Watrous, a sport fishing advocate/representative for the Lower Columbia River and ocean area out of Ilwaco received an e-mail today from a nontribal troller friend that said the salmon are massing in the ocean off the Washington coast right now.
This is what they said: Trollers out of Neah Bay and LaPush didn’t bother to fish this last opener as the coho are so thick they couldn’t get their gear through them. As a matter of fact [Washington nontribal troller] Geoff LeBon indicated that the coho were from the surface to the bottom. Already many 6-plus pounders.
The ocean sport quota is 176,400 hatchery coho and 20,500 chinook, compared to last season’s 20,000 coho and 20,000 chinook.
Westport will be open Sundays to Thursdays beginning June 28, then is open daily starting July 24. Ilwaco is open daily for salmon starting Sunday, June 28. Neah Bay and La Push will be open Tuesdays to Saturdays only beginning Saturday, June 27, and then is open daily starting July 18.
Westport, Neah Bay and La Push will close Sept. 20 or until the quota is achieved. Ilwaco will close Sept. 30 or until the quota is achieved.
The daily limit off the coast will be two salmon of which only one may be a chinook. Neah Bay will also have a bonus bag limit of two pink salmon, and Westport will get an additional one pink in the daily limit.