According to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildllife, fishing opportunities look promising for chinook in Washington’s ocean waters and the Columbia River, as well as for coho in coastal bays and rivers, according to preseason salmon forecasts released today at a public meeting in Olympia.
Forecasts for chinook, coho, sockeye and chum salmon mark the starting point for developing 2012 salmon-fishing seasons in Puget Sound, the Columbia River and Washington coastal areas. The forecasts were developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty Indian tribes.
Fishery managers have scheduled a series of public meetings over the next few weeks to discuss potential fishing opportunities before finalizing seasons in early-April. A meeting schedule, salmon forecasts and information about the salmon season-setting process are available on WDFW’s website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/northfalcon/.
Phil Anderson, WDFW director, said protecting and restoring weak wild salmon populations will continue to be the top priority as fishery managers develop salmon seasons.
“Over the next few weeks, we will work with tribal co-managers and constituents to establish fishing opportunities on abundant runs of hatchery salmon while ensuring we meet or exceed conservation objectives for wild fish populations,” said Anderson.
Anderson noted that state budget reductions over the past three years are also a factor in designing fisheries that can be managed effectively with a reduced staff. State general-fund support for WDFW has been reduced by $38.2 million, or nearly 40 percent, since 2009.
For more information, check out the WDFW website HERE.