Tentative dates for salmon seasons in Grays Harbor tributaries released

Recreational fisheries limited, questions about chum retention linger

GH Newspaper Group

A draft version of the 2017-18 Grays Harbor freshwater salmon seasons has been released, showing limited opportunity for sport fishermen on the Chehalis and Humptulips rivers.

They are preliminary dates provided by Region 6 biologist Mike Scharpf. Final seasons are set when the Pacific Fishery Management Council meets April 7-12 in Sacramento.

The Chehalis River could open for a jack season Aug. 1-Sept. 15 below the South Elma Bridge. Jacks are salmon that return a year early in their spawning cycle. The limit would be six juvenile fish per day with a 12-inch minimum. Starting in that same stretch of river Sept. 16 the retention of adult fish would be legal with a limit of two, one of which may be an adult wild coho. Wild Chinook must be released. That season is expected to go through the end of the year. Starting Jan. 1, 2018 and running through the entire month the adult limit remains at two, but all wild coho and Chinook must be released. Last season there was no fishery after the first of the year.

The Satsop River below Swinging Bridge Park will open later this season, Oct. 1. The adult limit is two salmon, one of which may be a wild adult coho; adult wild Chinook must be released. That season is proposed to stay open through the end of the year. Starting Jan. 1, 2018, all wild Chinook and wild coho must be released.

Questions remain about the retention of chum salmon in Grays Harbor tributaries. Those seasons have not yet been proposed.