As the coastal salmon fishing opener looms on the horizon there are a some telltale feelers happening right now to let us know what to expect.
Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay all open June 18 for hatchery marked chinook fishing, and the commercial troll fishery has been finding some fish in the ocean since the beginning of last month.
“What I know is the troller fishery catch almost looks like last year, and they’ve caught about 10,000 in May,” said Doug Milward, the state Fish and Wildlife coastal salmon manager. “Catches are picking up again right now, and there have been fish off Westport and Ilwaco, and up north the whole time.”
“The fish tend to be deep, although that is changing right now,” Milward said. “Things are setting up to where this should be a great fishery.
During the first week in May the troller caught 1,000 chinook, and then 2,500 in the second week, and 3,500 by the third week.
There was a lull during the troll fishery, but the weather hasn’t been good this past month so there were days when the commercial fishermen couldn’t get out onto the ocean pasture.
The coastwide season runs from June 18-25, and each port will close once they’ve achieved their catch quota. The hatchery-marked chinook minimum size if 24 inches, and the daily limit is two fish. Release wild chinook and all coho.
The second half of the summer fishing season opens June 26, and anglers should check the regulation pamphlet for specific rules and when fishing is open during each week at all ports.