It has been a remarkable coastal salmon fishery, and one that will go down as the best seen in many seasons plus state Fish and Wildlife officials are meeting this afternoon to possibly make some changes at Westport, La Push and Neah Bay.
“It has been a long time since we’ve seen it this good, and well deserved for the coastal communities,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “It is basically (two-salmon) daily limits in the ocean off Ilwaco, and we’re still seeing some boats coming in early with their catch.”
At the southern-most port of Ilwaco, salmon anglers this week averaged 1.7 fish per rod (0.3 for chinook and 1.4 for coho).
Just up the coast at Westport the catch average increased to 1.7 per rod with 0.7 on chinook and 1.0 on coho.
“Most boats seem to be running out to the deeper water, but some guys are fishing out on the beach,” Beeghly said.
The charter fishing fleet was fishing about 20 miles offshore along the 300 to 400 foot line. The smaller boats were finding decent action off the beach just north of Ocean Shores and the Grays Harbor (GH) Buoy. Daily limit at Westport is now two kings.
To the north, La Push anglers averaged 1.2 fish per rod (1.0 on coho and 0.2 on chinook), and at Neah Bay it was 1.0 fish per rod with an average of 0.2 for chinook and 0.8 for coho.
“Effort is starting to drop down everywhere along the coast, and this is what we see historically,” Beeghly said.
A conference call between state Fish and Wildlife and NOAA will happen Wednesday to discuss possibly going to non-select for coho at Westport, La Push and Neah Bay. That means both wild and hatchery coho could be kept sometime in the near future if approved by the federal agency.
The effort and catch at the Buoy 10 salmon fishery on the Lower Columbia River mouth is mixed with some having good success. The average was 0.3 for chinook and 0.3 for coho.
The albacore tuna action remains hot.
“It is especially hot out of Westport where they are slaying them,” Beeghly said. “This week I saw boats about 40 to 50 miles out, and the private boats are doing a little better getting anywhere from two to five fish per anglers. The charters were averaging 10 fish per angler.”
Beeghly says most boats out of Westport were running south off Leadbetter Point into Marine Catch Area 1.