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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

May 19, 2012 at 10:41 AM

Tracking ocean commercial salmon troll fleet is good gauge of what sport anglers can expect next month

The nontribal commercial salmon troll fishery began on May 1, and initial reports showed chinook fishing was fairly good.

“They started out really great, and hit a batch of fish right away and had some big catch days,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife coastal salmon biologist. “But, since this last storm the fish seemed to have dispersed and they weren’t doing quite as well.”

The nontribal commercial troll fishery is open through June 30 or until a catch quota of 31,7000 is achieved.

Beeghly says they chinook will school up and be fairly accessible for a week or so, and then a storm will come and then you can’t find the fish anywhere.

“Right now they aren’t getting the big numbers of fish, but they’re still catching some fish,” Beeghly said.

“It bodes well for our June sport chinook fisheries,” she said.

Those sport fisheries begin with a hatchery-marked chinook season that opens daily June 9-23 in the ports of Ilwaco and Westport. The sport hatchery chinook fishery at La Push and Neah Bay opens June 16-30. The daily limit is two hatchery chinook over 24 inches long. Release coho and wild chinook.

Most of the commercial trollers were finding the best chinook success about 35 miles off Neah Bay at an area called “The Prairie.”

Down south, “a few trollers fishing straight off Westport did just as well as those up north, but it has dropped off considerably,” Beeghly said.

Commercial troll fishery is open daily, but how much they get out is dictated by the weather and Beeghly says they all got blown off the water after about a week-and-half of fishing time.

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