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Sound fishing ahead on coast

Sun., April 12, 2009

Puget Sound is the big winner in saltwater salmon seasons set recently by Pacific Fishery Management Council.

By allowing selective fishing for hatchery chinook and coho with clipped adipose fins, the seasons and opportunity are vastly expanded this year.

One of the biggest bumps will be in northern and central Puget Sound (Areas 9 and 10), where the chinook fishery will run July 16 through August.

In the Strait of Juan de Fuca off Sekiu and Port Angeles, the chinook season is July 1-Aug. 15.

More than 5.1 million pink salmon are expected back to Puget Sound streams this summer, nearly 2 million more fish than forecast in 2007. They’re the smallest Pacific salmon, yet they’re easy and delightful to catch.

The Washington Coast ocean coho salmon fishery should be fantastic this summer, experts say, noting a forecast for the largest returns to the Columbia since 2001.

“It is hard to find any negatives about this season compared to the last three years,” said Mark Cedergreen, president of the Westport Charterboat Association. “It will be like the good old days as far as the catching goes.”

The ocean sport quota is 176,400 hatchery coho and 20,500 chinook, compared with last season when it was 20,000 for coho and 20,000 for chinook.

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