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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 3, 2010 at 2:50 PM

Good Columbia River chinook returns should create decent opportunities off the coast this summer

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More good news continued to flow out of the first preseason salmon season setting process meeting hosted by state Fish and Wildlife in Olympia on Tuesday (March 2).

According to Mark Cedergreen, the Westport Charter boat Association president, the allowable exploitation rates for chinook will be 38 percent again this season.

“We were fearful that it might have been lower than that, but we are holding onto that 38 percent again,” Cedergreen said.

The Lower Columbia River coho exploitation rate will be 15 percent for coho, and Cedergreen says it could have been higher.

“Under those circumstances we will be looking at reasonable fishing opportunities with the highlight being chinook,” Cedergreen said.

Those who sat in on the coastal panel say the range of options of catch quotas would 100,000 coho and 100,000 chinook, plus or minus when you include the nontribal commercial fishery into the mix.

“It could range from a low around 80,000 for both species to up around 120,000 for coho on the high end and maybe 110,000 for chinook,” Cedergren said. “We will also look at some selective type fisheries this year for chinook, but not for the entire season and it might be just for part of it.”

Cedergreen expects the fishing seasons to start in late June and go through September under a five or seven day a week season, plus a two fish daily limit.

“We still have a long ways to go on nailing down the specifics, and this is just the start,” Cedergreen said. “This year, I think the take home message is when you are out fishing the chinook fishing will be very good.”

The Pacific Fisheries Management Council will meet March 7-12 in Sacramento, Calif. to develop three fishing options for the coastal areas off Washington.

(Photo taken by Seattle Times staff photographer)

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