The ocean salmon fishery has come out of its July Fourth funk, and in recent days fishing was pretty good especially at Westport and Neah Bay.
“Westport had a 0.9 fish per person average, but it has definitely increased in the past two days,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “They are killing them now, and had a pretty even split between chinook and (hatchery-marked) coho. A lot of chinook being caught the last couple of days and a handful of pinks too.”
Beeghly says reports show fish were found right off the beach at Ocean Shores, straight out of the harbor in about 220 feet of water, and as close in as 140 feet.
Up at Neah Bay it is all about the pinks.
A whole lot of pinks, that made up half the catch, and the other part almost split identically between chinook and hatchery-marked coho with a 1.1 fish per rod catch this past week.
At La Push they saw a 1.6 fish per person average, and they had just a few more hatchery-marked coho tossed in than chinook along with a few pinks.
At Ilwaco they averaged 1.3 fish per rod this past week.
“They got way more coho than chinook at Ilwaco,” Beeghly said. “It was about four coho caught per every chinook.”
Beeghly says the salmon at Ilwaco were kind of spread out in the ocean, althougha lot of the charters that went out early came back fast with limits.
“Saturday was a great fishing day at Ilwaco, and Sunday the guys who went north got them and the guys who went straight out got nothing,” Beeghly said. “And then on Monday they got them again. If you find a group of fish you do real well, and the fish are moving around.”
“Effort is way lower than in previous years,” Beeghly said. “At Westport effort on weekends is pretty strong, and on weekdays it has been pretty weak.”
“Some boats are starting to make a few tuna trips, and the top boat I saw had 12 fish,” Beeghly said. “They are now making trips out of Ilwaco, Westprot and even La Push had two trips taken this past week. I heard two stories that the tuna were 40 and 60 miles out.”
(Photo courtesy of the Westport-Grayland Chamber of Commerce. Caption: Mark Cann of Federal Way with a 24 pound, 14 ounce king caught last weekend, and was the winning daily derby prize fish and Westport’s Catch of the Week.)