Starting Labor Day, anglers fishing off the coast can again catch and keep one chinook salmon per day as part of their daily catch limit.
Fishery managers for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife announced the change this morning, a week after saying anglers would be required to release any chinook salmon they catch in coastal waters.
Pat Pattillo, salmon policy coordinator, said updated harvest data show that ocean catch rates slowed enough prior to Monday’s chinook closure to allow anglers to resume catching chinook salmon Monday.
“When we announced the chinook closure, harvest rates were at record levels,” Pattillo said in the news release. “Since then, the catch has slowed substantially and we’re confident that we can keep the fishery open through the end of the season.”
As of Sunday, the coastwide sports catch had reached 91 percent of the annual 30,100-fish chinook quota, and 59 percent of the 67,200-fish coho quota, Pattillo said.
Ocean salmon fisheries are currently scheduled to continue through Sept. 18 in marine areas 2 (Westport), 3 (LaPush) and 4 (Neah Bay), and through Sept. 30 in Marine Area 1 (Ilwaco). All four areas are open for salmon fishing seven days a week.
Anglers fishing in all ocean areas can currently catch up to two marked, hatchery coho salmon per day, and those fishing in marine areas 3 and 4 can also catch one additional pink salmon per day. Starting on Labor Day, they will again be able to substitute a chinook salmon for one coho salmon in their daily catch.
Additional information on the ocean fishery, including minimum-size limits, is available in the “Fishing in Washington” rules pamphlet, posted online here.