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Salmon season off to hot start

Opening day of ocean fishing results in many limits

By Luke Whittaker

lwhittaker@crbizjournal.com

Published on June 26, 2018 2:44PM

Comanche skipper/owner Tom Prozialeck pointed a customer to Sportsmen’s Cannery as crew members congratulated customers after a successful charter fishing trip Saturday, June 23, at the Port of Ilwaco.

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Comanche skipper/owner Tom Prozialeck pointed a customer to Sportsmen’s Cannery as crew members congratulated customers after a successful charter fishing trip Saturday, June 23, at the Port of Ilwaco.

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Rick Rae of Longview caught a keeper coho and Chinook salmon. “It was my first time out here fishing since I was junior in high school,” Rae said. “I’m taking one to my mother and putting the other in the barbecue.”

Photos by LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

Rick Rae of Longview caught a keeper coho and Chinook salmon. “It was my first time out here fishing since I was junior in high school,” Rae said. “I’m taking one to my mother and putting the other in the barbecue.”

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An employee from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife scanned a salmon for a coded-wire tag. The tags provide fishery managers and biologists with information about fishery distribution, survival and composition of the spawning-ground population.

An employee from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife scanned a salmon for a coded-wire tag. The tags provide fishery managers and biologists with information about fishery distribution, survival and composition of the spawning-ground population.

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“It was excellent,” Comanche skipper/owner Tom Prozialeck said regarding the opening day of recreational salmon fishing off the Washington coast. “I think everybody caught their kings and they’re a nice size for this time of year.”

LUKE WHITTAKER/Chinook Observer

“It was excellent,” Comanche skipper/owner Tom Prozialeck said regarding the opening day of recreational salmon fishing off the Washington coast. “I think everybody caught their kings and they’re a nice size for this time of year.”

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Sportmen’s Cannery owner Kevin Ward was surprised by the number of salmon brought in for processing during opening day. “To be honest I’m in shock,” he said as he hoisted a 20-pound Chinook salmon off the scale.

Sportmen’s Cannery owner Kevin Ward was surprised by the number of salmon brought in for processing during opening day. “To be honest I’m in shock,” he said as he hoisted a 20-pound Chinook salmon off the scale.

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ILWACO — Summer has barely begun, but the salmon fishing is already scorching hot off the Washington coast. On Saturday, June 23, the first official day of recreational salmon fishing season, the docks at the Port of Ilwaco were filled with fishermen returning with limits of Chinook and coho salmon.

“It was excellent,” said skipper and owner Tom Prozialeck of the Comanche, one of the first charter boats to return to the port during opening day. “I think everybody caught their kings and they’re a nice size for this time of the year.”

As the Saturday market bustled outside, Kevin Ward and his crew were busy cleaning salmon after salmon inside Sportmen’s Cannery.

“To be honest, I’m in shock,” said Ward, as he hoisted a 20-pound Chinook salmon off the hanging scale. “I didn’t expect to see this many fish, but it looks like everybody got something. It’s been a surprisingly good opening day — a lot better than I had expected.”

While fishing fortunes can change from tide to tide, the strong start has some wondering how long the season may last before the quota is met. The recreational Chinook quota this year is 27,500 fish —17,500 fewer fish than the quota in 2017 of 45,000. Meanwhile, the coho quota is 42,000 fish, the same as last season.

“It’s a double-edged sword,” said Sea Breeze Charters owner Pat Schenk. “It’s good for the customers now, but hopefully we’re still going in August.”









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