The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife will host three public meetings in coastal communities later this month to solicit input on regulations for the 2011 fall chinook salmon and coho seasons in Oregon bays and coastal rivers.
The meetings are scheduled for April 26-28 in North Bend, Newport and Tillamook, and discussions will include sport and commercial chinook seasons in terminal ocean areas off Tillamook, Elk, and Chetco rivers, sport chinook fisheries in all coastal rivers, and sport wild coho fisheries in select rivers and lakes.
Fishery managers are looking at mostly improved fishing prospects in 2011, thanks to continued good forecasts of chinook and coho salmon in many coastal watersheds.
“Coastwide, chinook forecasts are up about 20 percent over last year primarily due to strong returns on the south coast and, to a lesser extent, on the mid coast,” said Ron Boyce, ODFW Ocean Salmon Columbia River program manager. “However, chinook forecasts for north coast basins are still uncertain.”
“Chinook regulations overall should be less constrained than last year,” he added, “but anglers can expect some bag limit restrictions and area closures in north coast streams although fewer than last year.”
ODFW will also be seeking input on proposed wild coho fisheries in 10 rivers (Nehalem, Tillamook, Nestucca, Siletz, Yaquina, Alsea, Siuslaw, Umpqua, Coos, and Coquille) and Tenmile Lakes. This will be the third year that wild coho fisheries have been considered in select rivers that meet criteria under a federal Fishery Management and Evaluation Plan as well as Pacific Fishery Management Council guidelines. The number of rivers was increased from three last year to ten this year in response to the large number of adults spawning in 2010 (over 265,000) and another high return forecasted for this year (nearly 250,000).
“These will be very conservative fisheries that meet all conservation guidelines but nonetheless provide significant opportunity for recreational fishing,” Boyce said. “I think the huge coho returns we’ve seen the last few years are in response to favorable ocean conditions but also can be attributed to years of hard work to restore coho salmon populations along the Oregon coast.”
At the upcoming public meetings ODFW staff will present information on the run forecasts and discuss options for the chinook and coho seasons.
ODFW staff will use public feedback from these meetings to develop recommendations for the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission to consider at its June 3 meeting in Salem.
All meetings are from 7 to 9 p.m. The meeting dates, locations, and ODFW contacts are as follows:
-- April 26, North Bend, North Bend Public Library, 1800 Sherman Ave. Contact: Mike Gray, (541) 888-5515.
April 27 Newport, Hallmark Resort Newport, 744 Elizabeth. Contact: Bob Buckman, (541) 265-8306 X224.
April 28, Tillamook, Oregon Department of Forestry, 5005 Third St. Contact: Chris Knutsen, (503) 842-2741.