Clackamas, Ore —State fishery officials met today and agreed to re-open the mainstem Columbia River recreational salmon fishery for retention of chinook salmon from Hood River Bridge upstream to Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco, Washington at 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 22 due to an unexpected bump in passage of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam.
The Technical Advisory Committee, which monitors run sizes, met this morning and determined that the bright fall chinook run has improved since their last meeting. The run was previously expected to come in about forty percent lower than preseason predictions, which resulted in a closure earlier this week. The current forecast of 115,000 upriver bright fall Chinook is still well below the preseason forecast of 185,200 for this stock.
The catch quotas for upriver bright fall chinook are based upon a percent of the total upriver bright run, so an increased run equates to a larger quota, and the increase allowed the states of Oregon and Washington to re-open a portion of the area above Bonneville Dam to retention of chinook salmon.
“Because the quotas are based on total run size, the improved chinook run allows us to re-open a portion of the recreational fishery above Bonneville,” says Chris Kern, ODFW Assistant Columbia River Fisheries Manager. “At this time, the increase isn’t quite large enough to allow us to re-open the fishery below Bonneville through the end of September.” Fishery managers will monitor the run over the weekend and will meet next week to consider a potential re-opener below Bonneville if the counts at Bonneville Dam stay high.
Fall chinook sport and commercial fisheries are managed on separate quotas that are each based upon a percentage of the total run size, making it possible for one fishery to achieve the quota while another fishery has not. Oregon and Washington fisheries managers closed the recreational chinook fisheries earlier this week because sport fisheries had exceeded the recreational quota of both upriver bright and lower river fall chinook. As outlined in preseason planning, a substantial portion of the commercial allocation was reserved for late-fall fisheries, allowing commercial fisheries to proceed even at the reduced run sizes. With today’s upgrade in run size, both commercial and recreational quotas have been increased.
Sports fisheries above Bonneville Dam will be altered due to recent concerns about escapement of broodstock to Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery. Returns to this facility are tracking below the number of fish needed to meet the hatchery’s production needs. The facility is located just downstream of the Hood River Bridge. In order to avoid additional losses of fish returning to this facility, sports fisheries above Bonneville Dam will only be open to chinook retention from Hood River Bridge upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco, Washington.
The mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco, Washington remains open for coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Non-adipose fin-clipped coho must be released downstream of the Hood River Bridge.
Plans and catch allocations for the 2007 Columbia River fall fisheries were developed during the Pacific Fishery Management Council North of Falcon public process in March and April of 2007.
Additional information may also be found on ODFW's Web page at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/index.asp