Pink salmon forecast could leave anglers feeling blue

For anglers who look forward to relatively easy catches of salmon from Whidbey Island shores every other year, the early word out of Olympia might not be what you’d like to hear.

Pink salmon aren’t expected to arrive in great numbers this summer.

“I’d say pink salmon are probably going to be the lowlight of this year’s salmon forecast,” said Mark Baltzell, Puget Sound Recreational Salmon Fishery Manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “The preliminary indication is we’re not going to have a good pink return, especially in a lot of those normal rivers like the Skagit and Stillaguamish.”

Environmental conditions in rivers in 2015 such as drought, then flooding, coupled with poor returns, lead fish managers to anticipate a bad result two years later.

And the news for coho might not be significantly better, Baltzell said.

The state issued a rare closure of coho fishing in nearly all Puget Sound waters last year to help replenish stocks.

Coho, also called silvers, also are a late summer fishery through September.

“The preliminary indication for coho is things are looking a little better than last year, yet they’re still not really great,” Baltzell said. “We’ve seen a little better marine survival.”

“My guess is we won’t have any great, amazing numbers (for either species),” said Ryan Lothrop, state fisheries manager. “We’re developing the forecast now.”

Baltzell said it could be a couple weeks until the state has a better idea of how many coho and pinks are expected to return to Puget Sound.

When asked if there was a possibility that there might not be any season at all this summer for pinks or coho, he couldn’t give a definitive answer.

“I really hate to make those kind of predictions this early,” he said.

“I would say that it’s always our goal to offer as much opportunity as we can. It kind of hinges on us getting agreement with co-managers (tribes), and we have to get the federal fishing permit under the Endangered Species Act. They have to approve our fisheries.”

More in Life

‘Monologues’ a tapestry of women’s voices on stage

Whidbey joins 20th anniversary global events

Ladies! Be smart. Watch out for your heart

Local cardiac screening saves lives

National fiddlin’ champions perform in Freeland Sunday

Bee Eaters to buzz Dancing Fish Vineyards

At the scene of the murder of merlin Mariner at Whale Bell Park, Officer Polly Graph and Ashford Gris break up a fight between the murdered man’s fiancé Goldie Digger and his estranged wife Rainy Gray. Detective I.B. Fuzz and Coroner Gus Gruesome, right, are shocked. Photo by Kramer O’Keefe.
It’s a “Whale of a Tale” in Langley Feb. 24-25

By BETTY FREEMAN For Whidbey News Group For 34 years, Langley has… Continue reading

Living the motto ‘neighbors helping neighbors’

Volunteers can still sign up for Hearts & Hammers

Whidbey Playhouse has a winner with “The Producers”

Cast, costumes, set, singing all stand out

Gardening workshop in full bloom

30 years of digging the dirt

‘Conductor’ leads night of laughs, rich desserts and fund-raising

The annual Coupeville Lions Scholarship Auction Saturday was an evening filled with… Continue reading

Rockin’ A Hard Place: Remembering a whole lot about a land that time forgot

It’s always good to hear visitors marvel at our beautiful sights here… Continue reading

On a mission to help hoarders

Downsizing, clearing clutter also part of Oak Harbor business

Rockin’ A Hard Place: Happy trails to you, until we meet in Coupeville

Over Christmas and New Year’s, some friends sat around our house sharing… Continue reading

Balancing life with a ‘Great Dane cane’

Big service dog makes big difference for Oak Harbor woman