OUTDOORS: Ocean coho quotas rising for summer season

A COHO QUOTA nearly four-times as large as last summer may await silver anglers off Neah Bay this July, August and September.

Salmon season setting continued with Tuesday’s release of three alternative season structures for the 2019 ocean salmon season off the coast by the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

Fisheries north of Cape Falcon (in northern Oregon) are limited by the need to reduce catch of lower Columbia natural tule chinook and coho stocks of concern. Additionally, three stocks of coho (Queets River, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Snohomish) remain categorized as overfished, which is also a concern when structuring 2019 fisheries.

Ocean sport fishery alternatives north of Cape Falcon in Oregon and off the Washington coast include chinook recreational quotas ranging from 22,500 to 32,500, compared to 27,500 in 2018. For coho, recreational quotas range from 100,000 to 205,000 hatchery coho, an increase from 2018’s 42,000 quota.

Starting dates range from June 15 to June 29, and in all alternatives, recreational fisheries are scheduled to run through mid-to-late September.

Both coho and chinook retention are allowed in all alternatives.

Neah Bay subarea

Recreational anglers will see a dramatic rise in coho opportunity over the 5,370-fish coho quota in 2018. And all three alternatives presented reflect increases in the chinook guideline from last summer’s 3,024-chinook number.

• Alternative I: A season running seven-days a week from June 15 through earlier of Sept. 30, or 17,910 (hatchery) coho subarea quota, with a subarea guideline of 6,500 chinook.

Daily limit is two salmon per day, except no chum beginning Aug. 1.

Chinook non-retention east of the Bonilla-Tattoosh line would begin Aug. 1.

• Alternative II: Opens a week later on June 22 and runs seven days a week through earlier of Sept. 30, or a 16,600 (hatchery) coho subarea quota, with a 5,500 chinook subarea guideline.

Daily limit is two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook.

• Alternative III: Fishing begins June 29 and continues seven days a week through earlier of Sept. 15, or a 4,370 marked coho subarea quota, with a 4,400 chinook subarea guideline.

Daily limit is two salmon, no more than one of which may be a chinook.

La Push subarea

Anglers fishing out of La Push also will see increases this summer from last season’s 1,090 coho quota, while seeing small declines from the 2018 chinook guidelines of 1,500 fish.

• Alternative I: A season running seven-days a week from June 15 through earlier of Sept. 22, or 4,380 (hatchery) coho subarea quota, with a subarea guideline of 1,400 chinook.

Daily limit is two salmon per day.

• Alternative II: Opens a week later on June 22 and runs seven days a week through earlier of Sept. 30, or a 4,150 (hatchery) coho subarea quota, with a 1,300 chinook subarea guideline.

• Alternative III: Fishing begins June 29 and continues seven days a week through earlier of Sept. 15, or a 1,090 marked coho quota, with a 1,100 chinook guideline.

This alternative provides a two-salmon daily limit, only one of which may be a chinook.

North of Falcon meeting

Salmon-season setting will be the topic of the next meeting of the North Olympic Peninsula chapter of Puget Sound Anglers on Thursday, March 21 in Sequim.

The area chapter will host biologists from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife in lieu of the group’s usual monthly meeting.

This event will be held at Trinity United Methodist Church, 100 S. Blake Ave., from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The interested fishing public is highly encouraged to come and let your voice be heard. Biologists will also answer questions from attendees.

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Sports reporter Michael Carman can be contacted at 360-417-3525 or [email protected]

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