The big ones that didn’t get away
The big story at the Port of Edmonds recently has been fishing. Several weeks ago I noted that the season was expected to be good. It turns out that was a major understatement.
By all accounts this year has been the most successful and productive anyone can remember.
Without exception those to whom we have spoken have commented that they have never seen fishing like this, even as far back as thirty or more years ago.
According to a recent report from the Department of Fish and Wildlife, “limits are still more often the rule rather than the exception. The area right off Edmonds has been very consistent for over a month now.”
Recent spot checks here have counted in excess of 200 boats. Ron Garner, the President of Puget Sound Anglers Sno-King Chapter, said that the Salmon fishery has been the best that many can remember.
“The King fishing was the start and was off the charts, followed by one of the best Coho years ever.” He added, “this is also a gigantic economic generator for our region.”
According to Fish and Wildlife, spending by fishers, hunters and wildlife viewers generates more than $4.5 billion annually for Washington state’s economy.
In a hearing with the legislature earlier this year, the agency reported that statewide 12,850 jobs are related to recreational fishing. That pencils out to $393 million in personal income.
This season’s unprecedented success has, happily, kept our Port operations crew hopping. Many boat owners, who haven’t had much opportunity to use their craft, have this year found themselves going out three or four times a week.
The Port staff launched 1158 boats during the month of September alone. Although September is usually our busiest month for launches, this year it was 400 above what was expected.
The number of boats in the guest moorage area was up by 14 percent for July, August and September and the number of nights that boats stayed increased as well.
The Edmonds Coho Derby, which takes place the weekend after Labor Day, sold 970 tickets with the winning fish weighing in at just over 11 pounds cleaned.
Although the fish are not large this year, they are very plentiful and have been hovering outside Edmonds.
We are told that this is most likely due to the long stretch without rain.
If the size of this year’s run is any measure, Northwest salmon will not be headed for the endangered species list anytime soon.