While we’ll have to wait a little longer before this is finalized by the individual state commissions, based on past experience, the proposed Buoy 10 Salmon season that the state of Washington released yesterday should be all the information we need to understand our upcoming opportunities on the Lower Columbia River out of Astoria.
Anglers will get a full season this year at Buoy 10 with the season opening on August 1st and lasting through December 31st. Chinook Salmon will be open through August 20th and Coho open through December 31st. Anglers will be allowed to keep two Salmon, only one of which can be a Chinook through the 20th. While many may want more opportunity for Chinook, the big story this year is the return of significant numbers of Columbia River Coho.
Buoy 10 Salmon fishing is one of my favorites. We run a lot of amazing guided fishing trips and charters out of Astoria and while the fishing is certainly the main attraction, there are lots of other things going on in the area to make it special. Combine some enjoyable coastal weather with a great coastal vibe that takes on a whole different feel as thousands of fishermen and women arrive to enjoy this world-class fishery. There’s a hustle and bustle as all of these people come together with one purpose…to land some salmon.
This year there should be a lot of fish to catch. Looking at the 2019 fall forecast, we’re expecting a Columbia River Chinook Salmon run of about 340,000, which is a little better than last year’s actual return. Considering some of the sentiment that many had in 2018, I think most people will be happy with this number. Coho Salmon abundance is going to be plentiful with a forecast of over 900,000 fish expected to enter the Columbia River. While this number is going to bode well for the Buoy 10 season, our ocean season out of Astoria should be excellent.
We have some big tides to kick off the Buoy 10 season, which should help move some fish into the river a bit. Ocean fishing during the first part of the month will definitely be the preferred option for some. Softer tides, or holdover tides, starting on the 7th should create some nice fishing conditions in the river. As the month goes on, fishing in the Lower Columbia River around Astoria will continue to improve as that bio-mass of salmon instinctually make their way toward the fresh water. Expect fishing to remain good for Coho Salmon through the middle of September. Good tides will allow for additional opportunity through the middle of October.