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Salmon Outlook Somewhat Improved


They’re nothing like the good ol’ days, but 1995 ocean salmon fishing seasons off the Washington Coast are vastly improved from last year’s closures.

“There’s lots of gloom and doom in the package we have this year, but at least there’s something in it for everyone,” said Tony Floor, state Fish and Wildlife Department salmon fishing expert in Olympia. “We’re still in a deep hole for coho and chinooks, but there’s at least some fishing opportunity in all areas.”

The Strait of Juan de Fuca continues to be in dire straits for fishing.

Sekiu area anglers can take two salmon a day through June 15, but they have a 30-inch maximum length limit for chinooks. Then, just when the fish should be piling in, salmon fishing is closed June 16-Aug. 4.

However, the Sekiu area will be open for salmon fishing for the oddyear-run of pink salmon from Aug. 5-Sept. 10.

Willapa Bay, one of the least restricted coastal areas to fish for kings, has a forecast of 35,000 returning kings, the lowest return since 1987, but still up from the historical average of 20,000.

Westport salmon fishing will open July 24 and remain open until anglers catch their quota of 20,800 coho.

Floor expects the season to last three or four weeks.

“The charterboat operators were wise in lobbying for a later opening,” Floor said. “In June the coho average 4 pounds, but by July they should be running 8 to 10 pounds - and the ocean doesn’t get any flatter than it does that time of year.”

The larger Grays Harbor fishery opens Sept. 15 for chinook and coho.