CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today reopened the Willamette River to fishing for chinook salmon.
The Willamette had previously been closed to retention of chinook due to poor returns of hatchery spring chinook salmon.
Despite the low returns of hatchery-born spring chinook, Willamette River hatcheries have met their brood stock needs, and wild fish returns have remained comparatively stable. The other bright spot in this year’s returns is the Clackamas River, where returns of hatchery and wild fish remained near recent averages.
Effective immediately, the emergency rules enacted for most of 2008 in order to protect Willamette River spring chinook are rescinded, and angling regulations revert to permanent rules for the remainder of the year. Following today’s action, anglers will be able to keep up to two adult fin-clipped chinook in the Willamette River and open tributaries, as specified in the 2008 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
“This change will allow people to keep a chinook that may still be hanging around in the Willamette system,” said Chris Kern, assistant Columbia River fishery manager.
Although the Willamette receives a small number of fall-run chinook each year, and a few spring chinook remain available to anglers, the return to permanent regulations is not expected to substantially increase angler opportunities for chinook. It will, however, allow anglers to retain adipose fin-clipped chinook in the Willamette system if they are caught.
This action restores Willamette River regulations to permanent rules, including any special regulations noted in the 2008 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations. Anglers should be sure to read the 2008 Angling Regulations before heading into the field.