Anglers will be allowed to retain both hatchery and wild coho salmon beginning Saturday, Sept. 1, in ocean waters off Westport (Marine Area 2) and Monday, Sept. 3, off Ilwaco (Marine Area 1).
In addition, anglers fishing off Westport will be allowed to retain only one coho as part of their two-salmon daily limit beginning Sept. 1, while the coho catch limit in Ilwaco will remain two fish.
Those changes do not affect ocean salmon fisheries off LaPush (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4), where anglers can continue to retain hatchery coho but must release wild coho, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
Anglers were initially limited to hatchery coho – marked with a missing adipose fin – to ensure the department would meet conservation goals for wild coho while allowing for an entire salmon fishing season, said Pattillo.
However, with a month remaining in the fishery, only 25 percent of the coho quota has been reached in both Marine Area 1 and Marine Area 2.
“With such a large percentage of the coho catch quota remaining in each of those two areas this late in the season, we can allow anglers to keep both hatchery and wild coho without exceeding our conservation objectives for wild salmon,” Pattillo said.
Through Aug. 26, anglers fishing out of Ilwaco, where there is a coho catch quota of 34,860 fish, had caught 8,861 coho. Anglers fishing off Westport, where there is a coho catch quota of 25,800 fish, had caught 6,507 coho.
Anglers have a two-salmon daily limit in all four marine areas off the Washington coast. Up to two chinook may be retained in all areas.
All ocean areas (marine areas 1-4) are open to salmon fishing seven days a week.
Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 23 in marine areas 2, 3 and 4, and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the ocean salmon fishery throughout the season, and announce any other changes on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/ .
Image courtesy Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife