Every year, wildlife officials keep track of how many salmon return to their spawning grounds. This year, they expect low returns of salmon in Washington state — and that could change the fishing outlook.

Forecasts for four species of salmon — chinook, coho, sockeye and chum — are likely to limit fishing opportunities this year. 

Kyle Adicks is the intergovernmental salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. 

“We have a growing population that isn’t necessarily good for salmon habitat,” he said. “We have a lot of people that value salmon — like to go out and catch them, like to see them spawning in our streams, like to see killer whales eating them in Puget Sound, but it’s kind of a resource that has been shrinking over time.”

That shrinking could be connected to declining ocean conditions, among other factors. 

With the forecasted numbers in hand, fishery managers will kick off a 1 1/2-month process next week to craft the guidelines for the 2018 fishing seasons in Puget Sound, along the coastline and up and down the Columbia River.