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Forecast calls for strong salmon returns

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Hal C
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Joined: 09 Jun 2006
Posts: 68

PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:18 am    Post subject: Forecast calls for strong salmon returns Reply with quote

Salmon fishing in the NW - Get ready for a good season! Posted here with permission by Tony and NMTA - The Northwest Marine Trade Association, the oldest and largest regional boating trade organization in the nation.

Forecast calls for strong salmon returns

It’s hard to believe it’s April already. The trees are budding out, temps are coming up ever so slightly, spring chinook salmon are pouring into the Columbia and gas prices just jumped about $.20 last weekend. Do you think it’s related to spring chinook salmon or this time of year?

For most of us living in the Pacific Northwest, it feels good to look back over our shoulders and say adios amigo to winter and bring on spring. I like this time of year as the days are getting longer and drier, even though it snowed in my hometown of Olympia last weekend.

As I sat down in front of the computer screen this morning, contemplating writing this column, there is a lot to chew about in the “fish world.” The legislature is still in town and the “dark side” has produced an attack on the Fish and Wildlife Commission that many consider unprecedented. The bill, recognized as SSB 5127 calls for reducing the policy making authority of the Fish and Wildlife Commission, replacing current Commissioners and reducing their number from nine to five. As bear bait for the Governor to support the bill, the legislation gives her office the authority to appoint the Fish and Wildlife director. To spare you the politics behind this bill, sponsored by Senator Ken Jacobsen of Seattle and all commercial fishing interests in the state of Washington, it is a bill worth sending directly to a landfill site near you. If passed, it has the potential to send fish management backward in time and promote gillnetting as the key to tourism in Washington. Please consider e-mailing, calling or writing your state legislator to say “NO!” To find the legislator where you live, click on

The next nine days also represent the conclusion of the annual salmon season setting process called North of Falcon. This year’s package, in my view, has considerable good news which includes a few conservation issues. Coho salmon fishing in the ocean, particularly at Westport and Ilwaco at the mouth of the Columbia River should be sensational as over a million coho salmon will be migrating back to the river. I believe the all-time record return of coho salmon occurred in the mid-80’s when over a million and a half fish entered the mouth of the Columbia.

The pink salmon forecast is also sensational as 15 million pink salmon are bound for the Fraser River in southern British Columbia, and an additional 5 million pink salmon will enter Puget Sound. Wow! It is very important to bleed and ice pink salmon quickly after they are caught as the flesh will turn soft as the result of warm August days. Peak timing in the Strait of Juan de Fuca should be around early/mid-August and it will likely get crazy around the Mukilteo area and the beach immediately south known as “Humpie Hollow.” Sounds like a bunch of camels going crazy in a Steven King-produced horror movie.

For this writer, the 2009 Puget Sound selective fishing package for hatchery-produced chinook salmon will be the meat on the bones at the conclusion of the North of Falcon process. Will we see more selective fishing time? The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has developed an outstanding package to access more hatchery-produced chinook salmon. However, it’s impossible to predict the outcome of this package until the season setting meetings and negotiations with the tribes are complete on Thursday, April 9.

In the meantime, hope you can get outside during April. Time to let the sun fry the moss off our backs. I’m headed for the Columbia River to start chasing spring chinook salmon along with 100,000 of my best friends. See you on the water.
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Captain Walker
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Joined: 07 Nov 2006
Posts: 105

PostPosted: Wed Jul 15, 2009 8:52 am    Post subject: Visit Tony's Latest - Summer Salmon Fishing in the NW Reply with quote

Check out Tony's summer 2009 article on the Summer Salmon Season.

Summer Salmon Fishing in the NW
Captain David Walker

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