There is a saying that nothing lasts forever, and this holds true for the mighty salmon. Lately, the salmon fishing has been less-than-stellar overall, yet this cycle is ending and we are on the upswing now. You see, the ocean cannot always produce great runs, it is a wave of good and bad ocean conditions that we ride. Some years, food is abundant for the babies to grow fast and fat. Some years, not so much. But, we do not see the results of this cycle immediately, it takes a couple years for the salmon to complete its life cycle. Babies that go out to sea this year do not return for a few years. From egg to adult, it can take as many as five years!
The first sign of a rebounding salmon cycle is returns of Coho, or silver salmon. They are smaller than their their cousin, the Chinook, and spend less time at sea. When the Coho come back strong, Chinook are right behind them.
This year we are forecasted for some pretty good Coho fishing in the ocean. There were a lot of jack Coho last year. Jacks are immature one year or ‘one salt’ fish that are an indicator of next years run. We had more upwelling and cold water than anyone has seen in the last 40 or fifty years, providing the perfect ocean for baby salmon to enter. While out ocean salmon fishing last year, we witnessed many humpback whales along our coast. These migratory whales have been largely absent in years past. The head all the way to Alaska when food is scarce here, but they hung around the Oregon coast last summer. Why swim right past the buffet?! It is this buffet the salmon thrive on, as well.
Brace yourselves for some outstanding salmon fishing this year, more next year, and the year after could be some of the best salmon fishing in our lifetimes. This spring we have already seen more of those excellent conditions, and it is shaping up to be another promising sign. The future is bright, summer is coming, and so are the salmon!