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Originally published Wednesday, April 10, 2013 at 8:00 PM

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Coastal salmon seasons announced

Ocean fisheries will have a sport-catch quota of 48,000 chinook and 74,760 hatchery coho.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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Salmon anglers should see plenty of good times off the coast this summer.

The ocean fisheries will have a sport catch quota of 48,000 chinook (51,500 last year) and 74,760 hatchery coho, which is about 6,000 more than last year's quota.

Neah Bay and La Push will be open for a hatchery-marked selective chinook fishery May 10-11, May 17-18 and daily from June 22-28. At Westport, the fishery will be open daily June 8-22. It will be open at Ilwaco June 8-21. The hatchery chinook quota is 8,000. Each port could close sooner if the quota is achieved. Daily limit will be two hatchery chinook, with a minimum size of 24 inches. Release all coho and wild chinook.

The coastal fisheries for chinook and hatchery-marked coho will be open daily starting June 22 at Ilwaco and June 29 at La Push and Neah Bay. Westport will be open Sunday to Thursday beginning June 29.

All ports will have a two-salmon daily limit, but at Ilwaco and Westport anglers may keep only one chinook. At Neah Bay and La Push there will also be a bonus daily catch limit of two pink salmon.

A robust wild coho return off the coast will produce good fishing in the Queets and Quillayute river system. Inner-coastal bays like Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay should also have good late-summer and early fall salmon fisheries.

An area off Tokeland in north-central Willapa Bay will be open for sport salmon fishing only from 6 p.m. Aug. 15 to 6 p.m. Sept. 15. Anglers in Willapa Bay may use two fishing poles with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement from Aug. 1 to Jan. 31.

Additional Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca and Columbia River salmon fisheries should be known by Thursday. All seasons and regulations will be available in the next couple of weeks at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon.

Coastal lingcod stellar, black rockfish elusive

For marine anglers, mid-month marks a time of change with new fisheries opening, and others closing or conforming to new rules.

The coastal lingcod off Westport has been stellar when charter boats find windows of opportunity in between storms.

"The lingcod fishery has been really good, but the black rockfish are a little more elusive," said Larry Giese, owner of Deep Sea Charters in Westport. "There are a lot of rockfish around, but they're feeding on crab spawn and not biting what we're putting in front of them. Once the spawn ends they'll come back, and bite really well."

La Push and Ilwaco are also open for bottom-fish. Many anglers are gearing up for the lingcod fishery at Neah Bay, which opens this Tuesday.

The salmon fishery at Sekiu and Port Angeles in the Strait of Juan de Fuca have closed, but there are decent options in Puget Sound and a regulation change for the San Juan Islands.

Beginning Friday, the daily catch limit in the San Juan Islands will be reduced from two to one salmon.

State Fish and Wildlife says chinook fishing was good most of the winter, and anglers exceeded a guideline of 4,284 legal-size chinook (more than 22 inches long). Through Sunday, an estimated 4,976 chinook were caught or released.

In the meantime, chinook fishing is fair to good in San Juan Islands, Hood Canal and Saratoga Pass, which are open through April 30; and northern Puget Sound open through April 15 with a reduced one salmon daily limit. Fishing has been spotty in south central and southern Puget Sound, both open through April 30.

Looking ahead: The spot shrimp fishery opens May 4 in many areas; the halibut fishery opens in early or late May depending on the area of Puget Sound and Strait; and the halibut fishery off the coast opens in early May. For specific dates and rules, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov.

Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or myuasa@seattletimes.com

Fishing report
Location Comment
Statewide

rivers

"The (Lower Columbia) was decent with about one spring chinook for every eight boat rods Monday, but water conditions (below Willamette and Cowlitz) have gotten murky and flows really increased," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. The Lower Columbia spring chinook fishery closes after Friday, but good news is more fish are moving above Bonneville and catches have risen at Drano Lake. Slow to fair for steelhead and spring chinook in Cowlitz. Fair to good for steelhead Sol Duc, Bogachiel, Calawah and Hoh. Fair in John Day Pool for sturgeon, walleye and bass.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 2 stars

Statewide lakes Trout plants April 1-3: Battle Ground, 1,964; Upper Caliche, 150; Deer in Stevens County, 1,200; Fio Rito, 740; Fish in Chelan County, 6,676; Kress, 3,315; Lacamas, 1,450; Martha in Grant County, 150; and Roses in Chelan County, 1,131. Other lakes recently planted are Angle, Beaver, Green, Alice, Meridian, Sawyer, Ballinger, Cassidy, Flowing, Gissburg, Shoecraft, Panther, Cranberry and Lone. For latest plantings, go to http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/plants/weekly/. Statewide lowland-lakes trout opener is April 27. Good for kokanee and lake trout in Lake Chelan. Good for kokanee in American and Stevens. Potholes Reservoir is good for trout and walleye.
Biting: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

Coast razor clams "Digging (Monday) at Twin Harbors was good with most limiting (the first 15 clams dug are a daily limit), but Tuesday the weather was nasty and it was really hard digging," said Dan Ayres, the head state Fish and Wildlife coastal shellfish manager. Digging is open Thursday at Twin Harbors; and Friday to Sunday at Twin Harbors, Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks. More digs are planned for April 24-30.
Digging: Yes

Rating: 3 stars

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