The agency is projecting 729,000 salmon in coastal waters in 2011, up from a 2010 projection of 245,000 fish, Department of Fish and Game spokesman Harry Morse said.

If actual salmon numbers come anywhere close to the latest forecast, West Coast salmon fisherman could see their first good catch in years after cancelled seasons in 2008 and 2009 and a shortened season in 2010 led to hundreds of millions of dollars in losses, according to department estimates.

“Good news for a change,” said Fish and Game Deputy Director Sonke Mastrup. “Salmon numbers are projected to provide some real opportunity for sport and commercial anglers.”

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