Ocean salmon fishing is kicking off along the coast; local fishing opens in the coming weeks.
Sport anglers will have their first opportunity to catch salmon off Washington’s coast at Neah Bay and La Push, with fishing along the Grays Harbor and Pacific County coasts to follow.
The Ilwaco fishery (Marine Area 1) opens on June 25, and the Westport fishery (Marine Area 2) opens on July 2.
Fish managers say that they expect a decent forecast of nearly 1.2 million coho, which is near the actual return of more than 1.1 million in 2021, and around 485,000 fall Chinook up from the actual return of 481,300 in 2021.
“We have strong coho forecasts for the Columbia River and coastal Washington and a large coho quota that reflects that,” said Kyle Adicks, intergovernmental salmon manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). “We had to delay opening dates a little to protect Chinook stocks, particularly lower Columbia tules.”
Adicks noted that if the weather cooperates, fishery managers expect to see good fishing for Chinook and coho in all the ocean marine areas. The Department will be monitoring catches in each area and making adjustments to seasons as needed to stay within quotas.
The coastwide sport catch quota is 168,000 hatchery coho and represents a significant increase over last year’s initial quota of 70,000. This season’s Chinook quota of 27,000 is nearly identical to the 27,250 quota in 2021.
All four coastal ports are scheduled to remain open daily through Sept. 30 or until each area’s recreational salmon quotas and/or guideline are achieved. Anglers should check the area-specific rules for daily bag limits.
Ilwaco (Marine Area 1):
Columbia River Control Zone is closed to fishing for salmon, except open to fishing from the north jetty when adjacent waters north of the Control Zone are open to fishing for salmon or the Buoy 10 fishery is open to fishing from salmon. The Chinook guideline in Area 1 is 7,700 (7,200 in 2021) and the Area 1 coho quota is 84,000 (42,400 in 2021).
Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2):
Willapa Bay (Marine Area 2-1) and the portion of Grays Harbor (Marine Area 2-2) west of the Buoy 13 line also open July 2 under the same rules as Marine Area 2. Regulations for Marine Areas 2-1 and 2-2 change in August, and details are listed in the Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. Fishery managers anticipate the 2022-2023 edition of the pamphlet will be available online in late June and scheduled to begin arriving in stores shortly after.
Grays Harbor Control Zone is closed beginning August 8. The Marine Area 2 Chinook guideline is 12,070 (12,925 in 2021) and Area 2 coho quota of 62,160 (20,440 in 2021).
La Push (Marine Area 3):
The Marine Area 3 Chinook guideline is 995 (1,300 in 2021) and the Area 3 coho quota is 4,370 (1,430 in 2021). The season Area 3 Chinook quota is 125.
Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) west of Bonilla-Tatoosh line:
Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) east of Bonilla-Tatoosh line:
The Marine Area 4 Chinook guideline is 6,110 (5,825 in 2021) and the Area 4 coho quota is 17,470 (5,730 in 2021).
Waters east of a true north-south line through Sail Rock are closed through July 31.
Throughout the summer, anglers can check WDFW’s webpage at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/reports/creel/ocean for updates.