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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

September 5, 2013 at 12:18 PM

Ocean salmon fishing still worth the trip as coho action builds


The coastwide ocean salmon fisheries remain good, and should stay that way until the seasons close later this month.

“At Westport the average was 0.3 chinook per person, and 1.0 for coho,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “I think it’s going to be pretty productive once it goes to non-select (all coho wild or hatchery may be retained) starting Friday (Sept. 6).”

Anglers off Ilwaco may already keep both wild and hatchery coho, which began on Sunday, Sept. 1. La Push and Neah Bay will remain open for hatchery coho only, and release wild coho.

Fishing at Ilwaco this past week was pretty slow with a 0.2 chinook per person average and 0.3 for coho.

“At La Push it was 0.3 chinook per person and a 1.1 coho average,” Beeghly said. “The pinks have pretty much disappeared and they’re still doing well on coho.”

Up at Neah Bay fisheries samplers saw a 0.2 chinook per rod average and 0.6 for coho. Neah Bay anglers were still catching some pinks, and if you add those into the mix it is a 1.1 fish per person average. Effort was starting to wane big time at Neah Bay, which is typical for this time of the year.

Albacore tuna action remains good for some boats while others struggle to find fish, and it has been that way all summer long.

“I saw private boats with one tuna, and saw one boat that had 80 tuna,” Beeghly said. “It is all about being in the right place at the right time, which is story of the season. Westport charter boats are still doing pretty consistently well.”


Boat were finding the run as near as 25 miles this past week, and as far out as 45 miles. Beeghly thought people may have tried in closer because of the weather.”

Westport and Ilwaco anglers started off the summer season by only being allowed to keep hatchery-marked coho – those with a missing adipose fin. This rule was to make sure enough wild coho reached spawning grounds, and keeping the ocean fisheries open through the entire season.

But, with less than a month left in the season, and just 49 percent of the coho quota caught at Ilwaco through Aug. 31, and through Sept. 1 only 53.5 percent at Westport, state fisheries managers felt anglers could keep both without compromising wild fish conservation goals.

Through Aug. 31, anglers fishing out of Ilwaco had caught 18,810 coho of the 37,380 fish quota. Anglers fishing off Westport, had caught 15,588 coho through Sept. 1 under a sport quota of 27,660.

The daily limit is two-salmon in all coastal marine areas. Up to two may be chinook in all areas, but chinook must be released in that part of Marine Area 4 east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh Line. Anglers at La Push and Neah Bay can also keep two additional pinks as part of their daily catch limit.

All ocean areas are open daily for salmon fishing. La Push and Neah Bay are open through Sept. 22, and Ilwaco and Westport are open through Sept. 30.






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