ILWACO — Fisheries managers said Wednesday afternoon that Marine Areas 1 (Ilwaco) and 4 (Neah Bay) will close to salmon fishing at the end of the day, Sunday, Aug. 12. This marks the earliest ocean closure in years.
“Estimates indicate that anglers will reach quotas for coho salmon in areas 1 and 4. Closing the salmon fisheries early will help ensure compliance with conservation requirements,” the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said in a press release.
After a slow start in June, coho catch rates started to improve in July and have soared in recent days. In the most recent July 30 to Aug. 5 reporting period, 6,210 fishermen in the ocean near the mouth of the Columbia landed 378 Chinook and 7,723 coho. Through Aug. 5, a cumulative total of 1,600 Chinook (only 20 percent of the area guideline) and 14,086 coho (67 percent of the area sub-quota) had been landed, WDFW said.
The agency said recreational fisheries in both areas would have needed to close before Aug. 13 had it not been for transfers of quota by the commercial troll fishery.
While Marine Area 1 remains open, anglers fishing there can retain two salmon, only one of which can be a Chinook but must release wild coho.