By Kimberly Mason
For The Chronicle
A reminder that anglers fishing ocean waters off Neah Bay (Marine Area 4) will be restricted to one Chinook as part of their daily limit of two salmon is in order. The rule came down from WDFW in mid-July. Their thought in the decrease is to “increase the likelihood of providing a season-long fishery.”
We had been allowed to retain two Chinook a day since July 1. But an unusually strong start to the fishing season prompted fishery managers to make a change, said Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator for WDFW.
“The fishery in marine area 4 got off to such a hot start that more than a third of the Chinook harvest guideline for the area already has been taken,” Pattillo said. “After consulting with our coastal community advisors, we decided to make this change now to try to stay within the Chinook guideline and allow for a full season of fishing.”
Through July 8, anglers have taken 1,492 Chinook off Neah Bay. The Chinook harvest guideline for that area is 4,700.
Salmon fishing remains open seven days a week in marine area 4, as well as in marine areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 3 (LaPush). Marine Area 2 (Westport) is open for salmon fishing Sundays through Thursdays.
In all four marine areas, anglers must release wild coho salmon.
Rivers, Lakes, and Streams
“Riffe Lake is still fishing really good for silvers,” said Charles McElroy, sporting goods clerk at Sunbird Shopping Center. “You’ve got to go deeper for them, about 80-feet, now that the water has warmed up.”
Merwin and Yale kokanee anglers are getting good hauls.
The local small lakes are fishing well in the early morning and late evenings.
The Columbia, from Longview on down, has been good for steelheaders.
Anglers on the Cowlitz River have been having luck with bait, said McElroy.
“The guys that are using a bobber and jig aren’t doing as well as the bait fisherman at the pool at Barrier Dam,” McElroy said. “They’re just killing ‘em with bait.”
They are still hauling in spring Chinook, though the most of the fish seem to be a little past their prime.
River flows on the Cowlitz have stayed steady the last few days at just below 6,000 cfs.
Last week Tacoma Power recovered 1,264 summer-run steelhead, 123 spring Chinook adults, 16 jacks, 39 mini-jacks, 13 sockeye salmon and one chum salmon during five days of operations at the Cowlitz Salmon Hatchery separator.
During the past week Tacoma Power employees released 17 spring Chinook adults and one jack at the Day Use Park in Lake Scanewa above Cowlitz Falls Dam. They released two spring Chinook adults and one jack into the Cispus River above the mouth of Yellow Jacket Creek and released seven spring Chinook adults and 11 jacks into the upper Cowlitz River at Packwood. Eighty-three spring Chinook mini-jacks were released into Riffe Lake at the Mossyrock Park boat launch.
A total of 81 summer-run steelhead and 12 sockeye salmon were transported to the lower Cowlitz River and released at the I-5 boat launch during the week. In addition, one sockeye salmon was released at the Massey Bar boat launch last week
In the Salt
“The salmon seemed to have moved offshore,” said McElroy, “they’re about 20 miles out and in 300 feet of water. It’s been rougher than a cob some days, you better pick your day before heading out.”
Neah Bay to marine area 9 has been fishing well for bottom fish and salmon.
The tuna seem to be out about 30 miles, but they are starting to haul them on board in good numbers.
Crabbing in Puget Sound is reportedly good to great.
Kimberly Mason is a freelance writer and photojournalist. Visit her website The (Almost) Daily News (almostdailynews.com), find her on Facebook (Kimberly Mason — The Chronicle), call 269-5017 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.