Salem, Ore. -- Citing low numbers of spring chinook salmon passing over Willamette Falls and a lower than expected proportion of hatchery fish in angler surveys and ladder counts to date, fish managers at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife decided Thursday to close the Willamette River below the Falls to retention of chinook, effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, May 12.
Fishing for steelhead, shad and other species in this area will remain open, as will chinook retention above Willamette Falls and in the Clackamas River, with previously adopted seasons and bag limits still in effect. These are:
- The daily bag limit for the Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls will be two adult adipose fin-clipped steelhead.
- The daily bag limit for the Willamette River and tributaries above Willamette Falls will remain two adult adipose fin-clipped salmon and steelhead of which only one may be a Chinook, except that an additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained.
- The daily bag limit for salmon and steelhead in the Clackamas River upstream to North Fork Dam will remain two adult adipose fin-clipped salmon and steelhead of which only one may be a Chinook.
As of May 6, only 1,786 spring chinook have passed over the Willamette Falls in Oregon City, with only 935 being hatchery fish. The Willamette Management Plan objective is 20,000 hatchery fish passing over the dam.
“We’re concerned about our ability to meet escapement goals,” said Steve Williams ODFW Fish Division deputy director. “We made the decision to close the fishery below the Falls now in order to meet our hatchery broodstock needs, and to maintain fishing opportunities above the Falls.”
The mission of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is to protect and enhance Oregon's fish and wildlife and their habitats for use and enjoyment by present and future generations. Headquartered in Salem, ODFW has regional offices in Clackamas, Roseburg, Bend, and La Grande with ten district offices located throughout the state. For additional information, please visit www.dfw.state.or.us.