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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

June 11, 2012 at 10:25 AM

Westport is the early hot bed off the coast for hatchery chinook fishing

The early ocean hatchery-marked chinook salmon fishery mainly off Westport got off to a really good start, which bodes well for what lies ahead this summer.

“The (June 9) opener was really good and it was a nice start to the season, and we saw a lot of (two hatchery chinook daily) limits,” Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife coastal salmon biologist said. “I would say over half the boats we sampled has limited.”

“The average size was 12 pounds with a wider range of weights from 7 to 22 pounds,” said Beeghly. “The boats weren’t going out very far and found fish just outside of Grays Harbor off Ocean Shores and the south jetty in 60 to 120 feet of water.”

The weather on Saturday wasn’t very good so many private boat anglers didn’t make it out, but by Sunday the ocean swells calmed down.

“This is really cool to see these fish around in good numbers,” Beeghly said. “It is a nice start to the season and I’m excited.”

Mark Cedergreen, president of the Westport Charterboat Association also provided some good reports on the hatchery chinook opener.

“It was a very good weekend of fishing,” Cedergreen said. “There wasn’t a lot of salmon fishermen on charter boats since most had booked bottomfishing trips, but once word gets out on how good it was I’m sure we’ll see more people coming out.”

“Hopefully it is indicative of a very good summer fishing season,” Cedergreen said. “I know from the red buoy line south to Willapa Bay and beyond there seemed to be a lot of chinook right along the beach line.”

“I won’t say every charterboat limited every day, but it is excellent and the my guess is the average catch was about a fish and a half per person, and that is pretty good chinook fishing,” Cedergreen said.

On the southern end at Ilwaco the opener wasn’t quite as good, and was mainly due to lousy weather and a rough ocean.

The bar at the Columbia River mouth was closed to boats under 30 feet on Saturday, and only one charter and one private boat made it out and caught a couple of fish. There was no update yet on what happened off Ilwaco on Sunday.

The good news is that nontribal commercial trollers were finding chinook right off Klipson Beach, located between Long Beach and Ocean Park.

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