Puget Sound, Coast Salmon Forecasts Out

WDFW’s 2011 summer salmon forecasts for Puget Sound were released today, reconfirming that we’ll have a great pink run — just under 6 million are forecast back — see somewhere around 1 million chums, nearly a quarter million Chinook as well as 367,000 more coho than were predicted in 2010.

6 MILLION PINKS ARE FORECAST TO BE INBOUND TO PUGET SOUND, INCLUDING OVER A MILLION TO THE SNOHOMISH RIVER, WHERE THIS ONE WAS LANDED IN 2009. (WRIGHT & MCGILL/EAGLE CLAW PHOTO CONTEST)

“This is shaping up to be a really good year in Puget Sound for both coho and pink salmon,” said salmon manager Steve Thiesfeld.

He says that most Chinook fisheries here will likely be similar to 2010 –Chinook predictions are up for the Nisqually and Deschutes but about the same for the Skokomish and Puyallup — though low Green River and Elliott Bay forecasts could limit some opportunities.

The pink forecast is a bit higher than early word we posted Feb. 4, and is driven by a forecast of over 2 million to the Green River alone.

The coho forecast for the Sound is 981,216, with about 19 percent headed to the Snohomish, 16 percent to the Skagit and 15 percent to Hood Canal.

A downer — but one that is not unexpected based on past performance for this year-class — is the piddling predicted return of 34,683 sockeye to Lake Washington, just one-tenth of how many is required to hold a fishery. It would be the third lowest of the 2000s.

On the Pacific, fueled by a quarter million “tule,” or Lower Columbia River Chinook, fishing is expected to be similar to 2010.

“Last year, fishing was good for Chinook and fair for coho,” said Doug Milward, WDFW ocean salmon fishery manager. “The number of salmon available for this summer’s ocean fishery is expected to be similar to last year, so anglers should see another good year of fishing.”

And (much) further afield, fall king numbers to the Sacramento are nearly three times as high (729,000) as the 2010 forecast, and the Klamath is predicted to see 371,000, around 180,000 more than were forsoothed for last season.

Release of the forecasts is the first step in the annual North of Falcon salmon-season-setting process. Next up, state, sport and commercial anglers, the comanagers and Feds will huddle in more than 10 meetings over the next month before coming up with seasons in mid-April.

For more, and to follow the whole North of Falcon process, see WDFW’s Web site.

Here are the raw salmon numbers for the Sound, as well as some coastal systems such as Willapa Bay, Grays Harbor and others.

NOOKSACK

Chinook: 37,384
Coho: 52,039
Pinks: 68,000
Chums: 31924

SKAGIT

Chinook: 15,962
Coho: 154.293
Pinks: 797,604
Chums: 26,834

BAKER

Sockeye: 23,954

STILLAGUAMISH

Chinook: 1,888* (fall)
Coho: 67,200
Pinks: 657,643
Chums: 12,605

SNOHOMISH

Chinook: 12,590* (fall)
Coho: 188,400
Pinks: 1,332,388
Chums 58672

LAKE WASHINGTON

Chinook: 10,288* (Issaquah)
Sockeye: 34,683
Coho: 28,606

GREEN

Chinook: 18,610
Coho: 41,805
Pinks: 2,176,925
Chums: 193,396* (Central Sound cumulative forecast)

PUYALLUP

Chinook: 10,190
Coho: 54,588
Pinks: 922,632* (South Sound cumulative forecast)
Chums: 294,118* (South Sound cumulative forecast)

DESCHUTES

Chinook: 19,501

NISQUALLY

Chinook: 34,403
Chums: 78,397 * (South Sound cumulative winter chum forecast)

QUILCENE

Coho: 36,388

SKOKOMISH

Chinook: 29,965
Coho: 26,844

WILLAPA BAY

Chinook: 36,768
Coho: 112,446

GRAYS HARBOR

Chinook: 13,934* (fall)
Coho: 133,054

QUINAULT

Coho: 57,267

NORTH COAST INDIE TRIBS

Coho: 29,610

HOH

Coho: 11,625

QUILLAYUTE

Summer coho: 8,199
Fall coho: 59,233

Here is the upcoming meeting schedule:

March 1

2011 Salmon Forecasts and Fishing Opportunities:

  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m., General Administration Building Auditorium, 210 11th Ave. SW, Olympia.
  • WDFW presents Puget Sound, coastal Washington and Columbia River salmon abundance forecasts. Fishery management objectives and preliminary fishing opportunities for 2011 are discussed.

March 5-10

Pacific Fishery Management Council:

  • Hilton, Vancouver, Washington, 301 West 6th Street.
  • The PFMC adopts a range of ocean fishery options, including catch quotas for sport and commercial fisheries.

March 9

Willapa Bay Fisheries Discussion:

  • 6 pm – 8 pm Raymond Elks Lodge,  326 3rd St., Raymond, WA
  • Public discussion of Willapa Bay salmon forecasts and fishing opportunities.

March 14

Columbia River Fisheries Discussion:

  • 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Vancouver Water Resources Education Center, 4600 S.E. Columbia Way, Vancouver, Washington.
  • Public discussion of management objectives and preliminary options for Columbia River fall commercial and sport fisheries.

March 15

First North of Falcon Meeting:

  • 9 a.m.-3 p.m., General Administration Building Auditorium, 210 11th Ave. SW, Olympia.
  • Discussion of management objectives and preliminary fishery proposals for Puget Sound, coastal Washington and Columbia River area sport and commercial fisheries.

March 17

Grays Harbor Fisheries Discussion:

  • 6 pm – 8 pm Montesano City Hall, 112 N. Main St., Montesano, WA
  • Public discussion of Grays Harbor salmon forecasts and fishing opportunities.

March 18

Puget Sound Recreational Fisheries Discussion:

  • 6 p.m.-8 p.m., Skagit County PUD, 1415 Freeway Drive, Mount Vernon.
  • Public discussion of management objectives and preliminary options for Puget Sound marine and freshwater sport fisheries.

Puget Sound Commercial Fisheries Discussion:

  • 10 a.m.-noon, WDFW Mill Creek Office, 16018 Mill Creek Blvd., Mill Creek.
  • Public discussion of management objectives and preliminary options for Puget Sound commercial fisheries.

March 23

Pre-season Columbia Basin Salmon/Steelhead Forecasts and Fishery Outlook:

  • 6 p.m.-9 p.m., Benton PUD, 2721 W. 10th Ave. Kennewick.
  • Public discussion of potential recreational and commercial salmon fisheries statewide.

March 24

Final Grays Harbor/Willapa Bay Fisheries Discussion:

  • 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. S.E., Olympia.
  • Public meeting to reach final agreement on sport and commercial salmon seasons for Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay.

April 5

Second North of Falcon Meeting:

  • 9 a.m.- 5 p.m., Embassy Suites Hotel, 20610 44th Ave. West, Lynnwood.
  • Public meeting to present results of state-tribal negotiations and analyses of preliminary fishery proposals. With public participation, preferred options are developed for Puget Sound and Columbia River area sport and commercial fisheries.

April 9-14

Final Pacific Fishery Management Council:

  • San Mateo Marriott Hotel, 1770 South Amphlett Blvd., San Mateo, California.
  • PFMC adopts final ocean fisheries regulations and state-tribal fishing plans are finalized for all inside area commercial and sport salmon fisheries.
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