Published March 13, 2009
Salmon season options a good omen for Westport anglers
The federal government -- in the form of the Pacific Fishery Management Council -- expects strong returns of hatchery coho salmon to the Columbia River this year.
More than 1 million coho -- almost double the number from 2008 -- are expected to swim up the Columbia River.
And the Columbia River's fall chinook run is expected to be about 511,000 fish -- 80,000 more than last year. But fishery managers must still keep a lot of angling pressure off chinook to protect fish listed on the Endangered Species Act.
What does this all mean?
Well, Westport's charter boat and private boat fishery depends on coho salmon that return to the Columbia River. A big return this year means a long fishing season on the coast.
Federal fisheries managers expect one of these three ocean sportfishing seasons: Option 1: 38,000 chinook and 189,000 coho. Option 2: 22.500 chinook and 189,000 coho. Option 3: 10,000 chinook and 168,000 coho. Any of these seasons are good ones for Westport anglers and sportfishing boat skippers.
Option 1, which calls for a limit of 38,000 chinook, would require that anglers release all wild chinook salmon. Anglers could keep hatchery chinook, which are marked with a clipped adipose fin. Ocean anglers have released wild -- and kept marked hatchery fish -- for years.
For more information about the salmon-season process, visit wdfw.wa.gov/fish/northfalcon/
Jim's Fishing Charters