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Originally published July 23, 2014 at 8:15 PM | Page modified July 23, 2014 at 10:30 PM

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Salmon fisheries going down as one of the most memorable in recent years

This summer’s salmon fisheries will definitely go down as one of the most memorable in recent years. The ocean salmon fishery is still topping the news; a record sockeye run is heading up the Columbia; and many places in between are giving way to fun action.


Seattle Times staff reporter

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This summer’s salmon fisheries will definitely go down as one of the most memorable in recent years.

The ocean salmon fishery is still topping the news; a record sockeye run is heading up the Columbia; and many places in between are giving way to fun action.

“At Ilwaco we’ve got great fishing with a 1.6 fish average per person, and a lot of people coming in early with limits of mostly (hatchery-marked) coho,” said Wendy Beeghly, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Effort is starting to really pick up, and I expect it to continue this way through Labor Day.”

At Westport, anglers averaged 1.3 fish per rod with a ratio of 2-to-1 hatchery coho to kings. In La Push, it was 1.0 fish per rod, and most were kings.

On the northern coast at Neah Bay, it was 0.5 fish per rod, but others claim it was much better of late than the actual numbers revealed.

“Fishing has been real good at Neah Bay, and the (state Fish and Wildlife) checker told us that everyone who went to Swiftsure Bank limited on kings,” said Tony Floor, the director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Association.

The hatchery king fishery in northern and central Puget Sound started off a bit on the sluggish side.

“The catches aren’t exciting so far this season, but that just means it will likely last a little longer,” Mark Baltzell, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist, said.

In northern Puget Sound (Marine Catch Area 9) through Sunday, it showed a catch estimate of 1,028 hatchery kings through Sunday under a harvest quota of 3,218 or 32 percent of the catch ceiling threshold.

In central Puget Sound (Area 10) it has been a little slower with a catch estimate of 203 hatchery kings under a harvest quota of 1,112, which puts that fishery threshold at about 18 percent.

The state Fish and Wildlife test fishing boat in northern Puget Sound at Midchannel Bank area near Port Townsend (an area that has been hot the past two seasons) has caught just eight kings from July 16 through Tuesday with a hatchery mark rate (fish with a missing adipose fin) of 70 percent.

The Area 10 test fishing boat hooked three hatchery kings, which is mimicking what the rest of the sport fleet has encountered since the opener. In central Washington, the sockeye fishing grounds affected by wild fires have become accessible thanks in part to cooler, wetter weather.

“Things are much improved, and I drove to Brewster (Monday), and the power is on and businesses are open,” said Dave Graybill, longtime eastside outdoor radio host.

Sockeye fishing is also going very well at Lake Wenatchee, and access to the state park where the boat launch is open.

Fishing Report
Location Comment
Marine areasThe hatchery king fishing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca has been decent at Freshwater Bay and Hein Bank, but slow at Sekiu and Port Angeles. Coastal tuna action has been good for this early in the season, but rough water conditions and dicey weather made it somewhat tough for most to get out of port this past week although those who did scored fairly good numbers of fish. The Harbor Marine Salmon Tournament in Everett this weekend was cancelled due to low ticket sales. Slow to fair for kings in the San Juan Islands. Hood Canal south of Ayock Point is open for salmon. Crab fishing is good in many open areas of Puget Sound and Hood Canal, and check the rules pamphlet for what days fishing is allowed. Slow to fair at times off the Edmonds Pier for hatchery kings. In south central Puget Sound, the catch estimate through July 13 is 980 hatchery kings with anglers scratching out a few hatchery kings off the Clay Banks at Point Defiance Park in Tacoma, Point Dalco on Vashon Island, Point Robinson, Southworth and Gig Harbor.
Biting: YesRating: ★★★  
Statewide rivers

“Winding down for summer chinook and sockeye (in Lower Columbia), but picking up for steelhead in Cowlitz, Drano (Lake) and Bonneville Pool,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

The Skykomish River is slow to fair for steelhead at Reiter Ponds, and stretch from Monroe to Wallace River is open for hatchery kings through July 31. Fall chinook and hatchery coho fishing in the Lower Columbia River opens Aug. 1, including the Buoy 10 area. Fair to good for walleye in Woodland area of Lower Columbia, and for bass in Bonneville Pool.

Biting: YesRating: ★★★  
Statewide lakesA total of 5,764 sockeye have been transferred to Baker Lake, and has produced fair to good fishing.Lake Merwin in Cowlitz County was planted on July 14 with 2,338 rainbow trout, and almost 1,548 averaging 7 pounds. Black Lake in Chelan County was planted July 7 with 4,831 trout. Fair for kokanee at Stevens, American, Samish and Meridian lakes. Fair for trout at Mineral, Deer, Padden, Green, Desire and Gissburg. Good at Potholes Reservoir for walleye, bass, carp and trout. Lake Chelan is productive for lake trout. Fair to good for cutthroat trout, and very good for perch and bass in Lake Washington.
Biting: YesRating: ★★★  


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