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Originally published Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 8:00 PM

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Coho mark rates for sport fisheries down this year

The projected coho mark rates (hatchery fish with a missing adipose fin) for the 2011 sport fisheries will likely dip from previous years.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Reel Time Northwest

Seattle native and lifelong angler Mark Yuasa blogs on fishing in the Pacific Northwest.

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While perusing through all the paperwork from the salmon forecast meeting last Tuesday, there was one glaring item that caught my eye.

And that is the projected coho mark rates (hatchery fish with a missing adipose fin) for the 2011 sport fisheries, which will likely dip from previous years. In many salmon fisheries only hatchery fish may be kept to ensure enough wild fish return to spawning grounds.

"The mark rates are down, and the reason is a lower forecast for Columbia River hatchery coho, and we've got a very good Oregon coastal natural run (249,400 wild coho compared to 148,000 last year)," said Doug Milward, the state Fish and Wildlife coastal salmon resource manager.

"Everything did well except Columbia River hatchery coho so we'll have a very different mix of fish than we usually see in the catches," Milward said.

The Columbia River hatchery coho forecast is 375,100 compared to 408,000 last year, and more than one-million in 2009.

The projections along the coast for hatchery coho are: Neah Bay, 28 percent in June, 42 in July, 40 in August and 45 in September; La Push, 50, 45, 50 and 44; Westport, 57, 55, 54 and 48; Ilwaco, 68, 65, 62 and 65.

"We usually see a much higher percentage of coho caught in the coastal sport fisheries," Milward said. "It has been as high as 90 percent at Ilwaco, and 60 percent is pretty normal for Westport."

In Puget Sound, the hatchery mark ratio will also be lower due to a forecast that calls for 605,609 wild coho (299,926 last year) and 375,607 hatchery coho (314,404).

While it is a pretty strong coho return it could mean anglers will be releasing lots of wild coho in the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu to Port Angeles, and the San Juan Islands.

In past summers these areas are usually open for hatchery-marked coho only, although last September there was a brief two-week period at Sekiu when all coho could be kept.

The projections for hatchery coho at Sekiu are 42 percent in June, 39 in July, 38 in August and 38 in September; Port Angeles, 40, 36, 37 and 34; San Juan Islands, 30, 34, 35 and 28.

Usually wild and hatchery coho are fair game once they've cleared the Strait, and enter most areas of Puget Sound during the summer except for South Sound south of the Narrows Bridge.

The next Puget Sound salmon season meeting is 9 a.m. March 15 at the General Administration Building, 210 11th Ave. S.W. in Olympia

All seasons will be finalized April 9-14 in San Mateo, Calif.

Spring chinook possession limits

Many Washington anglers are planning to fish for spring chinook both on the Willamette in Oregon and Lower Columbia rivers.

They're also wondering how to deal with a two-spring chinook daily limit in the Willamette, and a one-spring chinook daily limit in Lower Columbia.

"The simple answer is you just can't exceed your possession limit where you're sitting (or should we say fishing)," said Sargent Rick Webb with state Fish and Wildlife enforcement in Vancouver.

What that means is you can catch one spring chinook in the Columbia, and then go into the Willamette and pick up a second fish. But, remember you need an Oregon license to fish the Willamette, and a Washington or Oregon license for the Lower Columbia.

What you can't do is catch your one spring chinook in the Willamette, and then go out into the Columbia to catch your second fish.

If you're lucky enough to catch that "second spring chinook," then officer Webb says, you're allowed to pass through the one-fish limit area, but you can't stop and fish again or that's breaking the law.

Another new rule is you have to keep fish whole and not fillet it (you can gut and bleed it on the water) until you get to your primary mode of transportation on land.

In the Lower Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam the daily limit is two adult adipose fin-clipped salmon or steelhead (chinook longer than 24 inches and steelhead longer than 20 inches), of which no more than one may be a chinook, and five adipose fin-clipped chinook jacks.

Outdoor calendar

March 12: Ilwaco, Westport and LaPush reopen for lingcod fishing; April 16: Neah Bay reopens for lingcod fishing; March 15: North of Falcon meeting to discuss Puget Sound salmon fisheries, 9 a.m. at General Administration Building in Olympia; March 31: Washington fishing and hunting licenses expire; April 9-14: PFMC and North of Falcon meeting salmon fisheries finalized at San Mateo Marriott Hotel; April 29-30: Washington State Federation of Fly Fishers Show at Ellensburg Event Center/Fairgrounds (www.washingtoncouncilfff.org); April 30: Washington lowland lakes trout fishing opener; May 21-22: South Olympic Peninsula Outdoor Adventure & Recreation Expo at Grays Harbor Fairgrounds in Elma (www.ghcfairgrounds.com); June 19: The Jimmy Green Memorial Fly Fishing Show and Casting Expo at Lake Tye in Monroe (www.jimmygreenflyexpo.com).

Notes

• John Martinis with John's Sporting Goods in Everett is hosting a free seminar 7 p.m. Friday on salmon fishing at Bayside Marine, 1111 Craftsman Way in Everett; 7 p.m. March 17 halibut fishing at Everett Fireman's Hall, 2411 Hewitt in Everett; and 7 p.m. April 12, shrimp fishing at Bayside Marine. Details: 425-259-3056.

• The Steelhead Trout Club meeting is 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Orient Express Restaurant, 4th Ave. So. in Seattle. Details: 425 941-1148 or www.steelheadclub.com.

• A documentary on nature connection, modern culture and children titled "PLAY AGAIN" is 7 p.m. Monday at the Seattle REI Store. The event is free. The movie explores the changing balance between the virtual and natural worlds. Details: 425-788-1301 or www.wildernessawareness.org.

• The Renton Chapter of the Puget Sound Anglers meeting 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at the Kennydale Memorial Hall, 2424 N.E. 27th St. in Renton. There will be a St. Patrick's Day potluck. Details: www.pugetsoundanglers.org/chapters/renton.

• The Washington Ruffed Grouse Society habitat banquet is 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the Red Lion Hotel, 11211 Main St. in Bellevue. Cost is $60. Details: 425-649-5194 or www.ruffedgrousesociety.org.

• The Puget Sound Anglers of Lake Washington meeting is 6:45 p.m. Thursday at the Community Center at Mercer View, 8236 S.E. 24th St. on Mercer Island. Mike Meseberg of Mar-Don Resort will discuss warm-water game fish in Potholes Reservoir. Details: 425-823-0704 or www.psalakewashington.org.

• The Coastal Conservation Association Sea-Tac Chapter banquet and auction is 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Pioneer Park Pavilion, 330 S. Meridian in Puyallup. Cost is $75. Details: 206-910-9065.

• The Washington Fly Fishing Club meeting is March 15. Bob Jateff with state Fish and Wildlife is the guest speaker. Guests must pre-register to attend the meeting. Details: www.wffc.com.

• Hunters can purchase and submit applications for a spring black bear hunting permit applicable to specific areas of western and Eastern Washington. Deadline is March 10, and winners will be notified by March 31. Details: http://fishhunt.dfw.wa.gov/ or 877-945-3492.

• The Northwest Fly Anglers five-week advanced fly-tying class will be held Thursdays at 7 p.m. beginning Thursday and through April 7, at Ingraham High School, 1819 N. 135th St. in Seattle. Cost is $50 and limited to 12 people. Details: 206-367-1723.

• The Washington Outdoor Women is hosting an Introduction To Waterfowling workshop April 2 at a private hunt club near Monroe. Learn about the tradition, techniques, shotgun shooting, and ethics of hunting waterfowl from certified instructors and hunters. Cost is $90. Must be 18-years-and-older. Deadline is March 21. Details: www.washingtonoutdoorowmen.org.

• The Northwest Fly Anglers Fly Fishing Club eight-week beginning fly casting class starts April 5 at the Green Lake casting pier in Seattle. Cost is $40. Details: 425 486 5011 or slowsnap@att.net.

• The Northshore Trout Unlimited meeting is the second Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Shoreline-Lake Forest Park Senior Center, 18560 1st Ave. N.E. in Shoreline. Details: http://northshoretu.blogspot.com.

• The South Sound Chapter of Pheasants Forever banquet and silent auction is 5:30 p.m. March 19 at the Tacoma Elks Club, 1965 South Union Avenue in Tacoma. Details: www.pugetsoundpf.org.

• Issaquah Paddle Sports is accepting registration for Lake Sammamish spring nature tours 9 a.m.-noon and 1:30-4:30 p.m. March 12, and 1:30-4:30 p.m. March 13 at Lake Sammamish State Park in Issaquah. Cost is $6, and $10-$15 for kayak rentals. Preregistration is required. Details: 206-527-1825 or 866-306-1825 or www.kayakacademy.com.

• Mount St. Helens climbing permits are on sale. Cost is $22. Permits are required year-round to climb above 4,800 feet. Details: 360-891-5007 or www.mshinstitute.org.

• The South King County Puget Sound Anglers is offering a Marine Science Scholarship to a 2011 graduating high school senior who plans to pursue a Marine Science or Fisheries career. Apply at www.TheWashBoard.org. Details: www.pugetsoundanglers.net.

• The Washington Fly Fishing Club is offering a four-week Advanced Fly Casting Class starting April 6, and six-week Beginning Fly Casting Class starting April 7 at the Green Lake casting pier in Seattle. Cost is $50 for advanced and $45 for beginner class. Details: 206-542-4623 or www.wffc.com.

• The Washington Sea Grant and the Port of Seattle Fishermen's Terminal are hosting a four-week boat engine troubleshooting and maintenance workshop beginning March 8 at the Nordby Building at Fishermen's Terminal in Seattle. Cost is $150, and preregistration is advised. Details: 206-543-1225 or sfisken@u.washington.edu.

• The Issaquah Alps Trails Club hosts weekly hikes and meets in downtown Issaquah. Details: www.issaquahalps.org.

• The Washington Trails Association offers statewide trip reports and trail conditions. Details: www.wta.org.

• The Seattle Audubon Society offers field trips and classes every month. Details: 206-523-4483 or www.seattleaudubon.org.

• The Western Bass Club meets every third Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Kennydale Hall in Renton. Details: www.westernbassclub.comor www.nickbarrfishing.com.

• The new nonprofit Cascade Musky Association is looking for members. Cost is $25 or $35 for a couple/family membership. Details: www.cascademuskyassociation.com or www.wafish.com.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com; twitter.com/MarkKYuasa

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