SALEM – The states of Oregon and Washington decided today to close the Columbia River estuary to retention of chinook salmon, effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, Aug. 25.
The chinook fishery from Buoy 10 upriver to Tongue Point had been tentatively scheduled to continue through September 1 or until the harvest objective of 6,500 fish was achieved.
The action was taken Thursday afternoon at a joint state hearing of the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife. It was necessary to close the Buoy 10 season early because fishery managers anticipate the harvest objective will be met this weekend, as catch rates to date have far exceeded those expected and seen in recent years, and fishing effort and catch between now and then is expected to be high.
“I am disappointed that we have to close the season early,” said Steve Williams, assistant administrator for the Fish Division the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Closing the season early is not something I enjoy doing. I am certainly aware of the impact this has on anglers and the community. The bottom line is we’ve got more demand and more interest and more ability to catch fish than we have fish to provide.”
Williams noted that for those anglers who have participated in the Buoy 10 fishery to date the catch rates have been “nothing short of fantastic.” Surveys showed that last weekend alone anglers landed about 1,900 chinook.
Retention of adipose-clipped coho and adipose-clipped steelhead will still be allowed at Buoy 10 through December 31 as prescribed under permanent regulations. The bag limit on those species is a total of two adult fish per day.
Seasons and catch allocations for the Buoy 10 and other Columbia River fall fisheries were developed during the Pacific Fishery Management Council North of Falcon public process last spring.