In a week that marked the opening of the Buoy 10 fall salmon fishery, some anglers enjoyed pretty good coho success on nearby ocean waters.
“I was impressed with the size of the fish. They were as big as they usually are at the end of August,” reported Buzz Ramsey a day after trolling to the mouth of the Columbia.
He and three other fishermen fishing with guide Bill Monroe Jr. limited on hatchery coho in the 7- and 8-pound range.
“By the time Labor Day rolls around, they’re going to be pretty nice fish,” Ramsey says.
It’s believed that coho pack as much as a pound a week on this time of year in preparation for their spawning runs.
Ramsey reports they were running anchovies and cut-plug herring behind Fish Flashes, with the BMK, or Bill Monroe Killer, finish and the latter bait working best.
With overcast skies in the morning and the coho on top, he says that they only had to run out 12 to 15 feet of line at first, but gradually more to get deeper as the day brightened.
He says it was a roughly 60-40 split between clipped and unclipped silvers.
“We had a couple doubles,” Ramsey says.
Just under 214,000 coho are expected to the Columbia, nearly as many as actually returned last year.
While no fall kings were welcomed aboard the boat that day, it’s a different story inside.
“Terry Mulkey got four nice Chinook that morning and three the day before,” Ramsey reports .
The longtime guide was fishing the outgoing tide around the Astoria-Megler Bridge.
Fishery managers expect a return of 375,000 fall kings to Buoy 10 this season, roughly half of the average over the past decade.
Because fewer upriver brights are coming back, there’s a lower harvest rate on the stock, and so the daily limit at the mouth of the Columbia is just one salmonid — Chinook, hatchery coho, or hatchery steelhead through Aug. 24.
After that date, Chinook retention is scheduled to close but the daily limit rises to two salmonids, but only one hatchery steelhead.
Limits and closing dates have also been tweaked in the Lower and Mid-Columbia. ODFW lays them out here.
Ramsey reminds anglers who might venture onto the Pacific for coho to cross the bar a couple hours into the incoming flood tide.
“When the tide’s going out, it can be rough and really buck up,” he warns.