OLYMPIA — Anglers in Washington can expect similar salmon fishing opportunities this year compared to 2021, with some improved opportunities in the ocean driven by strong expected coho returns, state fishery managers announced.
The 2022-23 salmon fishing seasons, cooperatively developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were tentatively set Tuesday afternoon at a week-long Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) meeting.
“We continue to see low returns of some stocks across Washington, especially Chinook stocks, and our first priority is to craft fisheries that conserve and aid recovery of those runs,” said WDFW Director Kelly Susewind. “At the same time, there are bright spots in this year’s forecast, and we developed what we believe are some novel ways to maximize opportunities in areas where healthy runs might mingle with those weaker stocks.”
Season recommendations move forward for approval by the National Marine Fisheries Service and final rulemaking, including additional opportunity for public comment and consideration of those comments.
Summer fisheries on the Columbia River are expected to be reduced compared to last year, with fishing from the Astoria-Megler bridge to Highway 395 bridge in Pasco starting June 16.
The fishery below Bonneville is scheduled to be open through June 22. Sockeye retention is not allowed.
Fall fisheries from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 bridge in Pasco is planned for an Aug. 1 opener, with different dates by area for Chinook and coho, and includes steelhead restrictions throughout the river.
Another strong coho run is expected and a similar Chinook run size compared to last year should provide for some good fishing opportunities.
At the coast, coho are expected to return in large numbers in 2022, and in coastal marine areas coho quotas reflect those improved forecasts.
Fishery managers agreed to recreational ocean quotas of 27,000 Chinook and 168,000 marked coho, more than double the 2021 coho quota.
LaPush (Marine Area 3) and Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) will open for salmon retention beginning June 18, followed by Ilwaco (Marine Area 1) on June 25 and Westport-Ocean Shores (Marine Area 2) on July 2.
All areas are scheduled to remain open until Sept. 30 or until quotas are met, with species and size restrictions dependent on the area.
Additional information about this year’s sport salmon fisheries and the North of Falcon process can be found on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/nof. Visit https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations to see statewide fishing regulations and download the latest fishing rules pamphlet, and https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ for emergency rule changes that may impact fisheries.