The ocean summer salmon fishery has picked up with best catches happening off the southern coast.
“Ilwaco continues to be the hotspot, but we had bad weather coastwide this past week,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife coastal biologist. “At Ilwaco they averaged 1.30 fish per person, and chinook kind of disappeared and it was a four-to-one coho to chinook ratio.”
At Ilwaco on Sunday fishing dropped off a little bit, and it was windy although Beeghly says she wasn’t sure if that had an impact on fishing or what the deal actually was. Most charter boats are still going up north from Ilwaco off North Head to middle of the Long Beach town area.
Just a short trip up the coast at Westport, the average was half a salmon per rod, and it was almost an even split of chinook and coho in the catch.
“The private guys are targeting chinook, and there are a few more coho around,” Beeghly said. “The coho were out deeper in about 160 feet of water and the chinook are hanging just off the beach, and most people are successful up north off Ocean Shores.”
Beeghly says she has heard the best chinook catches have been anywhere from depths of 30 to 60 feet.
“There is a wide variance of depths the fish are being caught, and it has been changing every day,” Beeghly said. “It seems like the fish have moved around a lot so far this season and not staying in one place for very long.”
La Push and Neah Bay both opened this week for all salmon species, and La Push anglers averaged one fish per rod, and saw slightly more chinook than coho in catches.
Neah Bay had a 0.70 fish per person average with more chinook than coho, and about a two-to-three ratio.
“I heard a lot of guys were running out to Blue Dot and finding good catches, there was a pretty good king bite at Mushroom Rock,” Beeghly said. “We also saw 25 pinks total in Neah Bay last weekend but no big numbers yet, and saw three pinks in La Push.”
Beeghly says they’ve seen a few 20-plus pound kings, and most were in the 12 to 15 pound range.