June means that marine fishing for salmon is around the corner. We are getting close to the first wave of coastal fishing for salmon.
The Washington Department of Fisheries announced the recreational ocean salmon fishery for chinook and hatchery coho will open beginning Saturday, June 22, in all four marine areas. Each area will close September 30 or when their individual catch quota is met. The La Push (marine area 3) sub-area will re-open October 1 through October 13 or until a quota of 100 chinook or 100 coho is met.
In marine area 1 (Ilwaco) and marine area 2 (Westport), anglers can retain two salmon only of which one can be a chinook. Anglers fishing marine areas 3 and 4 (Neah Bay) will have a two salmon daily limit. In all marine areas, anglers must release wild coho.
When it comes to marine area 2 (Westport), this fishery will be open Sunday through Thursday and will close Fridays and Saturdays.
The daily limit may be only one chinook in conjunction with hatchery coho salmon. This season may close early if the quota of 15,540 hatchery coho or 13,100 chinook guidelines are met.
Fishing inland in the Chehalis River has been down for quite some time. The Department of Fisheries predicted low returns of spring chinook salmon and promptly closed the Chehalis River, the South Fork of the Chehalis, North Fork Newaukum River and the Skookumchuck River. The action was taken because these springers would be more vulnerable to fishing pressure. Any incidental encounter of spring chinook during game fishing could subject these fish to stress, injury or death. This can not be risked particularly in a year when the predicted runs are low; and thereby, harming future runs. The Chehalis River should re-open Sunday June 30th.
All other rivers, streams and beaver ponds are opened to fishing the Saturday before Memorial Day. Along with lakes and the upcoming ocean fishery, it makes for a wide open opportunity to pursue fish. Anglers definitely have options when it comes time to wet a line.
The most obvious, and the one that gets national attention is the ocean salmon fishery. People flood Westport with a variety of boats in high hopes of successfully connecting with fresh salmon. The charter boat industry has been the “bread and butter” of this small fishing community for years. So, it is with great anticipation that this will be a productive season on all fronts.
The one thing local anglers take away from the ocean season is the projection of returning salmon for the inland river fishery. Accurate numbers have a direct bearing on the fall salmon season.
As the ocean season gets started, everyone is on “pins and needles” awaiting the results of the 2019 ocean returns. We have had years when the results translated into a generous fall season. On the other hand, we have had seasons when the results were not as positive.
The hope, of course, is that the early projections for a bountiful salmon fishery will hold true.