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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 29, 2011 at 7:45 PM

Neah Bay and Ilwaco are the best bets for salmon right now

Here is a rundown on the coastal salmon fishery, which has been good in the southern and northern portions, and fair in the central area off Westport.

“Ilwaco had the highest catch with 1.4 fish per person (25 percent of the catch was chinook, and the rest was hatchery coho),” Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist said. “Most people who knew what they were doing got fish.”

The other place producing good numbers of salmon was the northern coast off Neah Bay and La Push.

“Neah Bay was the other hotspot with 1.2 fish per person, and about half were chinook and the other half were coho along with some pinks,” Beeghly said. “We also saw pinks caught all the way down to Westport, and hardly ever see them this early. Usually they arrive in good numbers by the middle of July.”

“Fishing has been going pretty well at Neah Bay,” said Scott Barbour, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “There are kings around, but coho are on the inside and the pinks are already around too.”

At La Push they averaged one fish per rod, and almost all the catch was hatchery coho.

At Westport the catch was 0.7 fish per rod, and fish seemed to be more scattered than they’d been early last week. The catch at Westport was made up of more chinook than hatchery coho.

“The boats at Westport seemed to get either chinook or coho, and most seemed to be in their own groups (meaning it was all chinook or coho in the boat),” Beeghly said. “Some who weren’t in the pockets of fish didn’t catch anything.”

Beeghly says the fishing was good straight out from Westport in 200 feet of water on Monday, and then better another day from Ocean Shores to right out in front of the Grays Harbor bar.

The coho aren’t tiny for this time of the year and I saw them averaging 4 pounds,” Beeghly said. “That is great because normally I’ve seen in past years the average was 2 pounds. The chinook are anywhere from 7 pounds to the mid-20s, and they are all over the board for weight.”

Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay are open daily for all chinook and hatchery-marked coho. Westport is open Sundays through Thursdays only.

The Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu to Ediz Hook off Port Angeles, and the San Juan Islands open Friday for hatchery-marked kings and coho, and pinks. Areas east of Ediz Hook open Friday for hatchery-marked coho and pinks.

Most of the San Juan Islands open Friday for kings, coho and pinks. Hood Canal south of Ayock Point also opens Friday.

Northern and central Puget Sound opens July 16 for hatchery-marked chinook.

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