OLYMPIA – Starting Sunday (Aug. 14), anglers fishing off Westport and Illwaco will again be restricted to one chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two salmon off the state’s southern coast.
State fisheries managers increased the daily limit to two chinook last week, but a sudden surge in the recreational catch prompted a return to the one-chinook rule in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco) and Marine Area 2 (Westport), said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW),
“The number of anglers fishing out of Westport this week increased dramatically and their success in catching chinook was better than any week in recent history,” Pattillo said. “While we’re reluctant to go back to one chinook a day, this change is necessary to keep this fishery open for a full season.”
Pattillo noted that the new chinook catch limit will apply only to marine areas 1 and 2. Anglers fishing off La Push (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) can continue to catch and keep two chinook as part of their daily limit – which also allows them to keep one additional pink salmon per day in those areas.
Prior to last week’s decision to increase the chinook limit off Westport and Ilwaco, WDFW found that catch rates were lagging well behind last year’s pace, Pattillo said. But that changed abruptly this week, when the number of anglers fishing those areas jumped 30 percent over the same period last year.
“We couldn’t ignore that much of a change in the fishery,” he said.
Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 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/.
Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits and area catch guidelines, is available in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.