SALEM — Wild coho seasons on many coastal rivers and bays will open beginning Sept. 15.
This year rivers in 11 basins on Oregon’s coast will be open for wild coho harvest including Tillamook Bay, Nestucca Bay, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Beaver Creek, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coos, Coquille and Floras Creek/New River. In addition, Tenmile, Siltcoos and Tahkenitch lakes will have wild coho seasons.
Fishery managers are predicting there will be 206,600 adult wild coho in the ocean this summer, most of which will return to Oregon’s coastal rivers and streams. This is slightly below last year’s predicted return, and significantly lower than the 2014 actual return of 359,624 fish.
“Unlike recent years, this year’s projections are not as consistent up and down the coast, resulting in shorter seasons on some rivers, while others are very similar to last year,” said Mike Gray, ODFW fish biologist in Charleston.
On the North Coast, there will be shortened seasons in the Tillamook and Nestucca basins and, due to poorer forecasted status, the Nehalem will not open for wild coho at all (though it remains open for hatchery coho).
“Our North Coast seasons are more conservative this year than 2013-2014, but we still have opportunity for harvest,” said Chris Knutsen, ODFW fish biologist in Tillamook.
Seasons on the Alsea and Siuslaw also will be shortened compared to 2014, while the Umpqua will join many other basins that have been moved away from specific harvest quotas. Instead biologists are implementing a fixed season length.
River-specific seasons, quotas, bag limits and closed areas can be found on the ODFW website.
While 2015 is the seventh year in a row that Oregon’s coastal rivers will open to the harvest of wild coho, fishery managers are sounding a cautionary note for the near future.
“We’re coming off some very robust years for wild coho, but based on what we’re seeing with ocean conditions, anglers should begin preparing for smaller wild coho returns and reduced harvest opportunities in upcoming years,” according to Chris Kern, ODFW fish division deputy administrator.