June 26, 2008

Coho Salmon Season in Ocean Opens on Sunday

Ocean salmon angling opens Sunday off the southern Washington and northern Oregon coasts, with fishing not expected to be particularly good or the season lasting very long.

Angling will be allowed Sundays through Thursdays with a two- fish limit. The limit can be two coho, two chinook or one of each. The quota for the ports of Astoria and Ilwaco is just 10,180 coho, a number that's expected to last about a month.

A year ago, the quota was 71,450 with angling open daily.

This year's forecast is for a Columbia River coho population of 196,000, which is a terrible number. Last year was subpar 462,000. A good year is 800,000 to 1 million.

Ocean survival conditions were poor in 2005 and 2006, leading to this year's coho woes.

Actually, the coast has been open for chinook-only since June 1.

The catch for the Columbia River mouth area in the first three weeks has been a total of 622 anglers and 205 chinook.

Hopefully, the main ocean season will stay open until Aug. 1, when angling begins at Buoy 10 just inside the mouth of the Columbia River.

Buoy 10 is the name given to the lower 16 miles of the river from Buoy No. 10 upstream to Tongue Point in Oregon and Rocky Point in Washington.

The limit will be two fish daily, although only one chinook, through Sept. 1.

Beginning on Sept. 2, the limit is two hatchery coho.

"Anglers who want to participate in this year's fishery off the Washington coast should plan to go early, because we're likely to reach the limited catch quotas earlier than usual,'' said Phil Anderson, deputy director of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Originally published by The Columbian.

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