Ocean salmon fishing options unveiled

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Ocean salmon fishing season this summer off the Washington and northern Oregon coasts likely will be similar or slightly better than in 2016.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council on Monday in Vancouver adopted three options for ocean seasons. Following a series of public meetings in Washington, Oregon and California, the council will select a final alternative April 6 through 11 in Sacramento, Calif.

Here is a look at how the three options would apply for the Columbia River ports of Ilwaco, Chinook, Hammond, Astoria and Warrenton:

Alternative 1 — There would be early-season hatchery chinook fishing from June 17 through 30. The main chinook and coho season would begin July 1 with a coho quota of 29,400.

Alternative 2 — This option has no early-season chinook fishery at Ilwaco. The summer fishery would be open for chinook and coho beginning June 24 with a coho quota of 25,200.

Alternative 3 — This season most resembles 2016. Fishing would open July 1 for chinook and coho with a coho quota of 18,900. Ilwaco would be the only area north of Cape Falcon, Ore., with coho retention.

The council sets ocean seasons off all three West Coast states.

“In the north, several coho runs will keep ocean quotas lower than normal,’’ said Chuck Tracy, council executive director. “In the south, the low forecast for Klamath River fall chinook is unprecedented and the most restrictive alternative the council will consider allows no ocean fishing between Cape Falcon, Oregon, and the U.S.-Mexico border after April 30 this year.’’

A public meeting to discuss the options, plus sport and commercial fisheries in the Columbia River, will begin at 9 a.m. March 24 at the Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way.