OLYMPIA - Salmon anglers can catch a glimpse of what fishing prospects for the year ahead might look like when the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) hosts its annual pre-season forecast meeting March 1 in Olympia.

The meeting on pre-season forecasts and fishery discussions is set for 9:30 a.m. March 1 in the auditorium of the General Administration Building in Olympia, 11th Avenue and Columbia Street.

WDFW staff will provide an overview of expected abundance for various salmon species throughout the state this year. Interested citizens can also take part in fishery work sessions focusing on key issues for Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas.

Early forecasts for Chinook and coho salmon entering the Columbia River indicate saltwater and freshwater fisheries should again provide excellent fishing opportunities throughout the summer, said Pat Pattillo, WDFW salmon policy coordinator.

WDFW has set three additional public meetings in March to discuss regional fisheries issues. Input from these discussions will be considered as the pre-season process moves into the North of Falcon and PFMC meetings to determine final 2004 salmon seasons.

The meetings are set for:

• March 9, in South Bend at the Willapa Harbor Chamber of Commerce for Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay fisheries issues;

• March 11, at WDFW's Mill Creek office to discuss Puget Sound fisheries issues;

• March 16, at the Columbia River Double Tree Inn at Jantzen Beach in Portland to discuss Columbia River fisheries issues.

Pattillo said WDFW will again provide preseason salmon forecast information, proposed fishing options and details on upcoming public meetings on the department's Web site, (http://wdfw.wa.gov/).

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