A Little Too Much Coffee, Perhaps …

Outdoor reporters, sheesh, if they’re not hyper about some upcoming fishery, they’re declaring The End Is Near because some stat somewhere has their drawers up in a bunch.

Or, ahem, maybe that’s just me.

Just 19 days ago, with possibly the best one-day creel ever for a single dock at Sekiu, I was like, “I’m not quite ready to declare WDFW’s projection of a 6-million-humpy return null and void, but, ummm …”

Ummm, as in, “HOLY @#$%@% !@##% $!@#$%@$ @%$@$#%@$%@, THE HUMPIES ARE COMING!!!!!!!!!!!! ELEVENTY JILLION OF ‘EM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Fast forward two weeks and about 60 miles east to the catch hauled into Everett’s 10th St. launch last Sunday, 173, and I’m leaving voice mails along the lines of this to Steve Thiesfeld in Oly: “Hey, uhh, Steve, this is, ummm, Andy, Northwest Sportsman, dude, where are the humpies?!?!”

One hundred and seventy-three is just one-sixth of how many were tallied on the same mid-August Sunday in 2009’s run.

Pretty soon I’m searching Google News for “2011 pink salmon return,” “pink salmon return late?” “pink salmon return off,” “pink salmon run collapse,” “pink salmon biologists worried,” “pink salmon biologists fretting,” “pink salmon biologist found slumped over drunk in office, before noon,” “pink salmon biologist’s life remembered,” “pink salmon biologists flee to Canada en masse,” etc.

Canada is where we actually find Steve T. today — total coincidence, though.

WDFW’s Puget Sound Salmon Manager is up in Richmond, B.C., for a Pacific Salmon Commission Fraser River Panel meeting, and this morning forwarded me an 16-page document with all sorts of catch stats, charts, tables, eye-catching colored lines, etc., etc., etc

It’s just a total blizzard of scientific and mathematical data that, for a Wazzu English major, is almost totally inscrutable, but it boils down to: pink salmon movement through the Strait of Juan de Fuca is on the upswing, the massive Fraser run is on schedule, and, seriously, breathe through your nose, Walgamott, before hassling overworked state staffers.


“I suspect that some of the stocks might be a bit late, but will be increasing shortly,” Thiesfeld says. “If they are lower than forecast anywhere, it would be the northern S rivers, as catches have been fairly good in Area 11 so far.”

There are also interesting signs off the Washington coast. The inseason catches out of Westport and LaPush are well over tallies for the entire 2009 and 2007 seasons and above 2007 at Neah Bay though about 2,500 below ’09’s total catch.

Those fish are probably headed to the Northern S’s — the Skagit, Stilly and Snohomish systems, once the epicenter of Hump City for Pugetropolis residents.

That’s shifted south in recent odd-years, to the Central and South Sound. Area 11 is off Tacoma, where over 900,000 are expected back to the Puyallup, Nisqually and smaller streams. Just over 2.75 mil are forsoothed to return to the S’s.

Another 2.2 million are forecast for the Duwamish/Green, a fishery which begins today — and hey, look at that, somebody is all excited about it on the front side.

Give it about a week and then you’ll probably get some hits googling “pink salmon editor fretting.”


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