Pink salmon are the big news for Puget Sound anglers, but ocean anglers heading to Westport are already hooked into the biggest coho salmon year since 2001.
More than 1 million coho salmon are expected to return to the Columbia River this fall, and all of those fish have to swim by Westport.
The fish are already there, said Steve Thiesfeld of the state Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“We’re hearing from commercial trollers who quit fishing because they couldn’t get their lures past coho to the chinook salmon,” Thiesfeld said.
Stormy seas during the past week put a damper on the June 28 ocean salmon opening day, but boats that got out took easy limits of hatchery coho, said Larry Giese of Deep Sea Charters.
“There are a lot of fish out there,” Giese said.
Surfers catching waves near Westport’s South Jetty have seen coho slamming baitfish right outside of the breakers.
Westport salmon anglers have a catch quota of 62,875 hatchery coho this year, which is nine times the actual coho catch from last year, Giese said.
Westport’s charter boats will fish for salmon Sundays through Thursdays until July 18, when salmon fishing goes to seven days a week, Giese said.
Anglers are limited to two hatchery coho salmon or one hatchery coho and one chinook salmon. Anglers also may keep a bonus pink salmon.
“It’s going to be great fishing,” Giese said.
Chester Allen, The Olympian
Westport Charter Boat Association www.charterwestport.com
Deep Sea Charters www.deepsea-charters.com or 360-268-9300 Westport Charters www.westportcharters.com or 360-562-0157