Sport anglers fishing for salmon off the coast of Washington may increase their daily limit to two chinook.
The state Department of Fish and Wildlife enacted the rule on Aug. 1.
Since the season began, anglers were limited to one chinook per day, but after a month of fishing, 75 percent of the chinook quota remains, which is enough to ease the one-chinook limit, said Doug Milward, ocean salmon fisheries manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
"When we set the catch limits this year we wanted to make sure anglers were able to continue fishing for the more abundant coho without closing the fishery to meet conservation goals for chinook," Milward said.
Preseason forecasts showed that more than 1 million Columbia River coho were expected to return this summer, allowing fishery managers to set the recreational harvest quota at 176,400 coho. The recreational chinook harvest quota was set at 20,500 fish.
Current regulations for coastal marine areas:
_ Marine Areas 1 (Ilwaco) is open seven days a week with a daily limit of two salmon, all wild coho must be released.
_ Marine Area 2 (Westport) is open seven days a week with a daily limit of two salmon, plus one additional pink salmon, all wild coho must be released.
_ Marine Area 3 (La Push) is open seven days a week with a daily limit of two salmon plus two additional pink salmon, all wild coho must be released.
_ Marine Area 4 (Neah Bay) is open seven days a week, daily limit two salmon, plus two additional pink salmon, all wild coho must be released. All chum must be released and chinook east of the Bonilla-Tatoosh line.
Additional fishing regulations, including minimum size limits and area catch guidelines, are in WDFW's Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet, available online at wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regs_
Game fish are catch and
release in Dungeness
State officials are protecting the wild summer steelhead runs and other game fish with stricter rules that began in early June.
All game fish in the Dungeness River, Gray Wolf River, plus the Skokomish and South Fork Skokomish rivers, are catch and release until further notice.
Up to two hatchery steelhead may be retained below the Dungeness Forks Campground.
The waters from the forks at Dungeness Forks Campground to Gold Creek remain closed.
From Gold Creek upstream, all game fish are catch and release with selective gear rules.
The rule change also affects all trout and game fish from the mouth at Dungeness Forks Campground upstream to the Olympic National Park boundary.
Wild summer steelhead inhabiting the affected waters are part of the Puget Sound Steelhead Distinct Population Segment, which is listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. The fishing gear rule changes are intended to protect wild summer steelhead from incidental fishing mortality, state officials said.
Anglers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery.
For more information, call Bill Freymond, Region 6 regional fisheries manager, at 360-249-2600, ext. 225, or e-mail to: William.Freymond@dfw.wa.gov.