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Pacific NW King Salmon Time

 
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Hal C
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject: Pacific NW King Salmon Time Reply with quote

- Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.



July 2010 Here Come the Kings!


Bet your bips on it. Here they come! Big, chrome bright, fresh from SE Alaskaís rich ocean pasture with an attitude. Bone crushing strikes, monofilament peeling off the reel, hard head shakes attempting to get those sharp hooks out of their chops......yeah, itís king salmon time baby. Giddy up!

King salmon, a term used in the Pacific Northwest for mature Chinook salmon, are entering the prime of their lives and on their way home to salmon hatcheries or the rivers of their origin. Three, four and even five years ago, these king salmon jumped a train northbound, foraging on bait-fish, squid and zooplankton, destined for the waters off northern British Columbia and SE Alaska. They hit every diner on this journey, putting on weight like a sumo wrestler at a steak house. This all-you-can-eat behavior prepares them for their migration into Washington and Oregon rivers where their feeding appetite ceases and they live off their bodies until they begin spawning, usually by late September and throughout October.

The 2010 version of this annual phenomenon is a special chapter in recent strengths and weaknesses of the chinook salmon population, due largely to the strength of the Columbia River king salmon forecast. As reported in this space a month ago, this is clearly the largest return of king salmon since the modern day record was set in the Columbia River back in 1987, when three-quarters of a million king salmon produced a tsunami wave of silver migrating into the lower Columbia. I know, as I was there.

In last monthís column, I encouraged anglers to head to Westport, on the central Washington coast, to participate in a new hatchery-produced, fin-clipped king salmon fishery. At this writing, that fishery is history (June 12-30) and the news is out: 7,000 anglers popped around 4,600 hatchery kings. The ratio of hatchery fish to wild fish was about 60% or greater. In the commercial troll fishery in May and part of June, the rate was around 80%. Non-tribal trollers took around 40,000 kings during this timeframe, which again suggests that the kings are off our coast now, and should continue their pasturing before entering the Columbia River in mid-August. The coastal salmon season re-opens July 1st (Neah Bay, La Push and Ilwaco) and July 4th (Westport). Check WDFW for regulations regarding which days of the week these four coastal areas are open before charging down to the beach.

If ocean salmon fishing does not turn your wheel, you have more options than attempting to pick winning numbers in the stateís ---. First, the San Juan Islands opens July 1st, seven days per week. This is the beginning of their king salmon season. Last year, it was hotter than Mt. St. Helens on May 18, 1980, especially in the eastern San Juans. Anglers from Bellingham to Everett hope that is the case again this year. Second, the Strait of Juan de Fuca from Sekiu east to Ediz Hook in Port Angeles also opens for hatchery kings only, on July 1st. This region is a special king salmon fishery attracting anglers with boats deemed not safe for ocean water conditions. Freshwater Bay, just west of Port Angeles has been very good the last few years, along with Sekiu, the premier small boat fishery in inland waters.

Third, beginning July 16th, for the fourth consecutive year, Puget Sound waters from the north tip of Vashon Island to Pt. Wilson, Port Townsend will enjoy another six week hatchery-only king salmon fishery. Port Townsend has been the big ticket on the opener the last few years and thatís a good bet again this year. Do not overlook Kingston or Pt. No Pt. on the ebb tide or Possession Bar west of Edmonds.

If your head isnít spinning with salmon fishing options by now, golf is an option. My two older brothers are big time golfers. As I have said to them, if you can suggest a receipe for grilled fresh golf balls, that rival a slab of king salmon on the barbe, then sing it to me.

In the meantime, I am heading for the big show, the smell of a fresh caught king salmon emanating out of my cooler in the morning. Mercy! Somebody help me now! See you on the water... itís show time!
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Captain Walker
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 04, 2010 3:56 pm    Post subject: August is Salmon Season! Reply with quote

Follow Tony into the August Salmon Season

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