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Island salmon angling cut back
"Fishing around WhidbeyHere are the salmon seasons announced Friday for the marine areas surrounding Whidbey Island. The season begins May 1, 2000 and continues through April 30, 2001.MARINE AREA 9 (Admiralty Inlet)May 1-Aug. 31: closedSept. 1-Sept. 15: Two salmon daily limit, release chum and chinookSept. 16-30: ClosedOct. 1-Oct. 31: Two salmon daily limit; release chinookNov. 1-Nov. 30: Two salmon daily limit, one of which may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length.Dec. 1-Feb. 15: ClosedFeb. 16-April 10: One salmon daily limit, chinook must be at least 22 inches in length.April 11-April 30: Closed.MARINE AREA 8-2 (South half of Saratoga Passage, Everett, Mukilteo, Langley)May 1-Sept. 15: ClosedSept 16-Oct. 31: Two salmon daily limit, release chinookJuly 14-Sept. 30 : Tulalip Bay open only. Check fishing pamphlet.Nov. 1-Feb. 15: ClosedFeb. 15-April 10: One salmon daily limit, chinook must be at least 18 inches in length.April 11-April 30: ClosedMARINE AREA 8-1 (Deception Pass, Skagit Bay, north half of Saratoga Passage)May 1-Sept. 15: ClosedSept. 1-Oct. 31: Two salmon daily limit, release chinookNov. 1-Nov. 30: Two salmon daily limit, one of which may be a chinook at least 22 inches in length.Dec. 1-Feb. 15: ClosedFeb. 16-April 10: One salmon daily limit, chinook at least 22 inches in length.April 11-April 30: ClosedWhidbey Islanders will have less time to fish for salmon due to the new seasons announced Friday by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife.In recent years the west side of Whidbey Island, Marine Area 9, opened on Aug. 1. But this year, the opening date has been set for Sept. 1. And fishing will be open for only two weeks, until Sept. 15, when it will be closed for another two weeks before re-opening Oct. 1.And in Marine Area 8-2, including Possession Point and the popular shore fishery at Possession Point Bait Co., the season will open Sept. 15 rather than Aug. 1 as in the past.Russ Ramsey, a board member of the Whidbey Island Chapter of Puget Sound Anglers, lamented the loss of fishing time when asked about his reaction. It's the worse cutback I can remember, he said, referring to the combination of cuts in areas 9 and 8-2. It's bad news for local fishermen.The Bait Company receives an economic boost by anglers lining its shores to catch coho returning to the pen where they were raised. Those coho begin returning in August, but this year anglers can't try to catch them until Sept. 16.However, when it does open island anglers will be flocking to Possession, because the west side closes Sept. 15. Those who fish Bush Point, Lagoon Point and Fort Ebey will have to look south for more fishing opportunities.The fishing seasons were set after a lengthy process that began in February. The Pacific Fishery Management Council set ocean fishing seasons while state and tribal co-managers set the seasons for Puget Sound and other state waters in the North of Falcon process.The aim of establishing the seasons was to provide sport fishing opportunities for anglers for healthy hatchery stocks while ensuring that wild salmon are protected, said Phil Anderson, state Fisheries' chief of intergovernmental affairs.This year's forecast for all Puget Sound coho stocks is just 45 percent of last year's preseason forecast, which proved to be optimistic.Ramsey described coho fishing in 1999 as terrible, while the year before it was a great year.Anyone interested in the particulars of the season setting process is welcome to attend the next meeting of Puget Sound Anglers. Shari Stoican, president of the combined Puget Sound chapters, will be speaking at the Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 18. She will discuss the season and how sports anglers fared overall, and in Puget Sound specifically."