Sport ocean summer chinook fishery could be dandy based on computer-generated paper fish, more forecasts will be announced Tuesday

More salmon returns have been disclosed ahead of the salmon forecast public meeting on Tuesday in Olympia, and if they are correct then anglers should see some pretty decent king fishing off the coast.

The Columbia River fall chinook forecast of 582,600 (951,300 was forecast last year with an actual return of 643,300) was announced this past week. The total return is similar to last year, which was the fourth largest on record, but substantially down from the huge returns from 2013 to 2015.

The lower river hatchery chinook stock of 92,400 and Bonneville Pool hatchery chinook stock of 158,400 – better known as “tule chinook” – are the most prized sport fish and a driving force in ocean fisheries off Ilwaco, Westport and at Buoy 10 near the Columbia River mouth.

“What is surprising is the tule return, which really contribute to the ocean fishery off Washington and Oregon, and it should be a pretty good season,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist. “Based upon their numbers they must have done OK survival wise especially with the “blob” (a warm water condition that is nutrient poor and has adversely affected marine life in recent years) since they are near shore migratory fish.”

An angler holds up a king salmon she caught in the ocean off Westport. Photo courtesy of Mark Yuasa.

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The tule are a lower river hatchery run, which is close to recent five-year average, and Bonneville Pool hatchery run that looks to be the second highest return since 2004.

Other chinook returns that should be decent are lower river wild stock forecast of 12,500 (22,200 was forecast and 13,000 was actual return in 2016); upriver bright chinook forecast of 260,000 (589,000 and 406,600); and pool upriver bright forecast of 42,100 (77,800 and 68,500).

The Select Area bright chinook return is forecast at 13,700 (15,800 and 6,700) is lsightly higher…

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