Follow us:

Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 12, 2012 at 3:43 PM

Early “wish list” for Puget Sound fisheries comes out at state Fish and Wildlife salmon season setting meeting

Big King Tay-Brent Kingston July 2010.JPG

The first North of Falcon salmon season setting meeting was held today in Olympia, and the preliminary outlook calls for just a handful of changes in sport fisheries from last season.

All of the changes require approval from state, tribal, federal and non-tribal constituents involved in the season setting meetings, and is just one of the early steps in a long drawn out process to finalize fisheries.

Call it a “wish list” if you’d like as once today’s meeting is completed, the state will then go over ideas provided by sport and non-tribal commercial fishermen with their tribal co-managers later this week.

Computer test models run with some of the expansions show that none should affect poor returning chinook runs into Puget Sound.

The possible sport fishing expansions in marine areas discussed was pushing the opening date of the northern Puget Sound selective hatchery chinook fishery from July 13 to July 1, and turning south central Puget Sound, Hood Canal and the eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca to winter hatchery-marked chinook fisheries.

Steve Thiesfeld, a state Fish and Wildlife salmon manager says at this point they aren’t sure if any of proposals will make it through the entire process, but all are on the early draft.

The marked-chinook selective fisheries in eastern Strait of Juan de Fuca would be open Feb. 1-April 30; south central Puget Sound would be open Oct. 1-April 30; and Hood Canal would be open Oct. 16-April 30.

One issue for the eastern Strait fishery would be impacts made on Dungeness River spring chinook.

State fisheries handed out a table that showed chinook escapement into extreme terminal areas of south central (Area 11) and southern Puget Sound (13) have numbered well over 50,000 fish each year since 2001.

An extreme terminal area is defined as chinook that have made it back to the mouth of the rivers.

“We’ve got more chinook coming through Area 11 than we’ve ever had,” Thiesfeld said. “From the data I’ve seen is they could be coming in later or they’re not as snappy.”

Another proposal is the western Strait of Juan de Fuca (Area 5) around Sekiu going to a non-select coho fishery in September.

Other proposed changes include keeping Port Susan (8-2) open for coho in October; opening the Tulalip Bay terminal fishery from early June to May 4, and allowing anglers to purchase a two-pole endorsement; and possibly opening a small coho-only fishery in certain parts of outer Elliott Bay in August to target large numbers of returning net-pen fish.

The Suquamish and Muckleshoot tribes have also proposed to no fishing in Elliott Bay this summer as Green River chinook returns have been poor in recent years.

Three ocean salmon fishing options that came out last week were also discussed at the meeting, and many are hopeful that the middle option could become a reality.

“If we get the middle option, we could see some good coastal salmon fishing this summer,” said Mark Cedergreen, the chairman of the Westport Charterboat Association. “We’ll see what we can do to make that happen.”

IMG_1595.JPG

The high option

51,500 chinook and 71,400 hatchery coho: The hatchery chinook-only fishery would be open June 9-22 at Ilwaco and June 16-30 at Westport, La Push and Neah Bay, and could close sooner if the 8,000 quota is reached. Chinook and hatchery coho fishing would reopen daily beginning June 23 at Ilwaco and July 1 in the three other coastal areas.

The middle option

45,500 chinook and 63,000 hatchery coho: The hatchery chinook-only fishery would be open June 16-22 off Ilwaco and June 16-23 at Westport, La Push and Neah Bay, and could close sooner if the 6,000 quota is reached. Chinook and hatchery coho fishing would reopen June 23 at Ilwaco and June 24 at Westport, La Push and Neah Bay. Ilwaco, La Push and Neah Bay would be open daily, and Westport would be open Sunday through Thursday.

The low option

35,500 chinook and 54,600 hatchery coho: Chinook and hatchery coho fishing would be open July 3-Sept. 23 and be closed on Sundays and Mondays at La Push and Neah Bay. Westport would be open July 1-Sept. 23 and closed Fridays and Saturdays. Ilwaco would be open daily June 30-Sept. 30.

Last year’s sport fishing quotas were 33,700 chinook and 67,200 hatchery coho.

Remaining salmon planning meetings

Tuesday, March 13, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Coastal Regional Public Meeting Willapa Bay fishery discussion at the Raymond Elks Lodge – 326 3rd St. in Raymond.

Wednesday, March 14, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Columbia River Public Meeting commercial & sport fishery discussions in Vancouver, Washington, Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way in Vancouver.

Thursday, March 15, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Puget Sound salmon fisheries discussion at City Hall Council Chamber, 321 E. 5th Street in Port Angeles.

Tuesday, March 20, 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Coastal Regional Public Meeting Grays Harbor fisheries discussion at Grays Harbor Montesano City Hall, 112 North Main Street in Montesano.

Wednesday, March 21, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Pre-season Columbia Basin salmon forecasts and fishery outlook, Benton PUD, 2721 West 10th Avenue in Kennewick.

Saturday, March 24, 10 a.m.-Noon, Puget Sound Recreational salmon fisheries discussion at state Fish and Wildlife Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd. in Mill Creek.

Monday, March 26, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., North of Falcon Meeting for Columbia River and Ocean discussions at WDFW Offices in Olympia at the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Room 172.

Monday, March 26, 7 p.m., Public Hearing on Ocean Salmon Management Options, at the Chateau Westport, 710 West Hancock in Westport.

Wednesday, March 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., North of Falcon Meeting for Puget Sound discussion on inside salmon seasons and regulations at Lynnwood Embassy Suites, 20610 44th Ave. West in Lynnwood.

Friday, March 30, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Coastal Regional Final public discussion of Willapa Bay & Grays Harbor salmon seasons at WDFW Offices in Olympia at Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Room 172.

Sunday to Friday, April 1-6, all-day, Pacific Fishery Management Council all ocean and inside salmon fisheries finalized at Seattle Sheraton Hotel, 1400 Sixth Ave. in Seattle.

Comments

COMMENTS

No personal attacks or insults, no hate speech, no profanity. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate this thread by reporting any abuse. See our Commenting FAQ.



The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►