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Coho seasons get bump this year

Allowed catch of Chinook is less on Columbia River

April 11, 2007

Ocean fishing for hatchery coho will open June 23 off the central and southern Oregon Coast with more than double the 2006 total allowed catch.

"That's awesome, great," said Corie McGranahan, the skipper of the charter boat Reel Nauti out of Depoe Bay. "The fact that they're actually going to keep us open is so cool, because the last couple years we get a quota, and we catch 3 (percent), maybe 4 percent of it, and they cut us off."

Salmon seasons were approved last week by the Pacific Fishery Management Council after a weeklong series of meetings in Seattle.

On Friday in Salem, members of the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission will hear about the seasons during their April meeting.

The total allowed hatchery coho catch is 50,000 fish between Cape Falcon, about 30 miles south of the Columbia River mouth, and the California border.

That's more than double the 20,000 hatchery coho that were allowed in 2006.

"You know, coho really are like our Aspen ski resort here," said Liz Hamilton, the executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. "It's what people go to the coast to fish for; it's fabulous."

Coho fishing opens June 23 and runs seven days per week through Sept. 16 or the landing of the total allowed catch.

The season is shorter south of Humbug Mountain, just south of Port Orford, to the California border. It closes Sept. 4 there.

The downside to the salmon situation is Columbia River fall-run Chinook.

Because of a predicted low return, the allowed Chinook sport catch off the mouth of the Columbia -- Cape Falcon north to Ledbetter Point, Wash. -- is about half (4,300 fish) of the allowed catch in 2006 (8,300).

But, again, the allowed catch of hatchery coho is up: 58,800 this year compared with of 36,600 in 2006.

Although salmon seasons are the lead item on the commission agenda, there's more on the plate:

 

  • Before the discussion and vote on the salmon seasons, Steve Williams will give an update about hazing efforts to reduce sea lion predation of salmon.

     

    Hazing efforts are under way at the mouth of the Rogue River on the south coast and at the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

    Williams is the assistant Fish Division administrator for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

     

  • A final discussion, public input and vote about removing the American and Arctic peregrine falcons from the state Endangered Species List.

     

     

  • A presentation, discussion and listening to public input about the final draft-management plans for the Jewell Meadows and Wenaha Wildlife areas.
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