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Field reports: Coast salmon seasons set by Pacific council

FISHING – Washington’s 2015 salmon fishing seasons were approved this month by the Pacific Fishery Management Council, with some Puget Sound fisheries constrained to protect wild salmon listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

For coastal waters, a recreational chinook catch quota of 64,000 fish was set, an increase of 4,900 fish from 2014’s quota.

The coho quota is 150,800, about 34,000 fish fewer than last year. 

Sport salmon fishing season will begin with two short openings May 15-16 and May 22-23 for hatchery chinook in marine areas 3 (La Push) and 4 (Neah Bay).

Mark-selective fisheries for hatchery chinook will be open daily May 30 through June 12 in Marine Area 2 (Westport/Ocean Shores) and Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco). 

Recreational ocean salmon fisheries for chinook and hatchery coho will be open daily beginning June 13 in marine areas 1-4.

On the Columbia River, the Buoy 10 fishery will be open for chinook and hatchery coho Aug. 1-Sept. 7 (Labor Day).

The Columbia from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge near Pasco will be open Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 with a daily limit of three adult salmon, two of which may be coho.

The summer season from Bonneville upstream to Highway 395 will be open from June 16 through July 31 for hatchery summer chinook and sockeye. The daily limit will be two adult salmonids (chinook and steelhead must be adipose fin-clipped). All sockeye are considered adults in the daily limit. 

In Puget Sound, anglers will find solid returns of coho, pink and Skagit River sockeye salmon. However, expect adjustments to hatchery chinook fisheries, due to an expected weaker return of both wild and hatchery chinook than prior years. 

A portion of the estimated 14 million pink salmon returning to Canada’s Fraser River will make their way to the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the waters of the San Juan Islands. Another roughly 6.5 million pink salmon will return to Puget Sound; fishing should be excellent.

Specific fishing seasons and regulations for marine areas in Washington and a portion of the Columbia River will be posted soon on the state Fish and Wildlife Department website’s North of Falcon page.

Canada kills wolves preying on caribou

PREDATORS – Eleven wolves were killed in the Southern Selkirk Mountains of British Columbia during a winter effort to reduce predation on endangered woodland caribou that range in Canada, Idaho and Washington.

Another 73 wolves were killed farther north to boost caribou in the South Peace region, the British Columbia Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations announced last week.

The effort began on Jan. 15 and concluded this month. This is the first year of a five-year project of wolf removal that is being employed in conjunction with ongoing habitat protection efforts, officials said.

The Southern Selkirk herd numbers fewer than two dozen.


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