2003 salmon seasons
just got back from the first of the north of falcon meetings. got to see all the predicted run sizes for coho, chinook, and pinks.... and things look pretty good.
more hatchery and wild coho across the board, and the increase in columbia river hatchery coho stocks should definetely bolster offshore fishing for coho in early july (seriously lacking in 2002).
the pink run looks good too. there's roughly 2 million puget sound pinks but the preliminary estimate mentioned for the fraser river is 16 million fish.
always nice to get some good news about fisheries for a change. it's really amazing to me how some of the critical stocks recently have rebounded (such as oregon coast natural stocks). nice to know that along with improved ocean conditions, more stringent harvest levels in canada and selective fisheries in washington state seem to be making a difference. too bad puget sound chinook stocks don't seem to be making the same recovery.
first week of july doesn't seem too far away. soon it'll be day after day of running in the fog, getting sloshed around in monster rips, following birds and whales to the feed (and salmon), and of course casting and stripping clousers to aggressive, feeding silvers (leave that trolling... i mean bucktailing.... further east and nw).
There's even more good news. The feds will be buying mass marking trailers for Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The new program requires that all fish produced in federal hatcheries for harvest be fin-clipped as well as all fish produced in hatcheries that get federal money. That isn't the case currently.
On top of that, biologists I've talked to say that part of the reason for the increase in salmon/steelhead stocks is a decadal oscillation in the Pacifc-- read that a cycle-- where we've experienced the crash and now we're rebuilding populations.
That doesn't mean we can forget the stewardship-- it just means that stewardship projects (habitat, etc.) will have better rewards.
However, the oscillation will probably swing back the other way in 15 years-- that might be a good time to retire to Florida...
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