FISHING – A banner season is expected for Washington salmon anglers, and the fish are already cruising the state’s saltwaters.
A strong return of more than 1.2 million hatchery coho is forecast to return to the Columbia River, the largest since 2001.
“Any of the four ocean ports —Ilwaco, Westport, La Push and Neah Bay — will be excellent, and the fish are out there right now,” said Doug Milward, a state coastal salmon fishery manager. “Spoon-feed me these words and make me eat them if I am wrong, but the guys bottomfishing can’t keep the coho off their hooks.”
Westport and Ilwaco seasons open today.
The Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu to Freshwater Bay and Port Angeles opens Wednesday for hatchery chinook and coho. A huge run of pink salmon will allow anglers to keep an additional two pinks in their daily limit.
In northern and central Puget Sound, the catch quotas for hatchery-marked chinook has been lifted for the first time since its conception in 2007, and is open July 16 to Aug. 31.
More than 5.1 million pink salmon are expected back to Puget Sound streams this summer, nearly 2 million more than the 2007 forecast.
Nature calls for a road trip
TRAVEL – Natural attractions for travelers this week include:
Camas blooming near the Lolo Pass Visitor Center on the Montana-Idaho Border south of Missoula. The sea of purple blooms is sacred to the Nez Perce and Salish tribes.
Going to the Sun Road over Logan Pass in Glacier National Park opened this weekend. The stunning Highline Trail was still closed because of snow hazards.
Gregoire adds to commission
WILDLIFE – Three men were appointed to vacancies on the nine-member Washington Fish and Wildlife commission this week by Gov. Chris Gregoire:
David Jennings, Olympia, works in the Environmental Health Division of the state Health Department; past president of the Black Hills Audubon Society.
Rollie Schmitten, Lake Chelan, former Washington State Department of Fisheries director as well as director of the Northwest Region for National Marine Fisheries Service.
Brad Smith, Bellingham, dean of the Huxley College of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University and former director of the Office of Environmental Education for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Staff and wire reports
Uses conflict on Idaho trails
OFF-ROADING – Eastern Idaho officials are considering a management plan for a popular trail system that is seeing increased conflicts between mountain bikers, horseback riders, ATV users and hikers.
Pocatello Mayor Roger Chase put together a committee to study the problems at City Creek. The city has closed gates to prevent motorized traffic because of damage to the trails.