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Strong returns expected for Columbia River fall salmon seasons

 
Aug. 5, 2009

 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Anglers can look forward to large numbers of coho and improved returns of chinook salmon this year during the fall fishing season on the Columbia River, which kicked off Aug. 1.

Fisheries managers are forecasting a return of more than 500,000 adult fall chinook this year, which is comparable to the 10-year average and the largest return since 2005. The total includes five major runs of chinook salmon, each with its own management guidelines.

The big story is the projected return of 700,000 coho salmon to the Columbia River, which would be the largest return since 2001. Ocean anglers have been reporting good numbers of coho since the ocean fishing seasons opened in late June, according to John North, fisheries manager with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program.

Anglers are reminded that Columbia River fisheries are managed to quotas based on Endangered Species Act limitations on wild fish. The flexible nature of these fisheries allows managers to maximize fishing opportunities under the ESA but this also means that regulation changes can happen quickly.

ODFW recommends that anglers make sure they understand the latest season dates and regulations before they head out to the river to pursue these prized fish. Anglers are advised to stay tuned for changes that can take place as new information becomes available. Updates can be found on the ODFW website at www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/columbia.asp and on the ODFW telephone hotline at 1-503-947-6000.

Based on an expected catch of about 10,700 chinook, the Buoy 10 chinook fishing season is scheduled to continue through Aug. 31 or until the management guideline is met. The daily bag limit is two adult salmon per day, of which only one may be a chinook.

The expected large return of coho salmon this year means anglers can expect the coho fishing season to continue through December. ODFW increased the bag limit at Buoy 10 to three coho per day, beginning Sept. 1. The department expects anglers will catch up to 119,000 coho in the Buoy 10 fishery.

For the Columbia between Tongue Point and Bonneville Dam, the chinook season opened Aug. 1 with an expected catch of about 15,000 fish. That fishery is divided into two sections. In the lower section, from Tongue Point (River Mile 18) upstream to the Lewis River, the chinook retention season is scheduled for Aug. 1 – Sept. 13. From the Lewis River upstream to Bonneville Dam, chinook retention will be allowed Aug. 1 – Dec. 31, or until management guidelines are met. In both cases, the bag limit is two fish per day, of which only one may be a chinook.

The 2009 fall seasons and regulations were established based on extensive deliberations between state and federal agencies, tribal representatives, and recreational and commercial fishers through a public forum known as the “North of Falcon” process, which takes place each spring. Harvest management is complicated by Endangered Species Act listings on several fish stocks.

The following dates and rules apply to Columbia River fall fisheries:

Buoy 10 upstream to Tongue Point

  • Adult chinook (>24”) retention allowed Aug. 1 – Aug. 31, or until management guidelines are reached.
  • Adult coho retention (>16”) allowed Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
  • Through Aug. 31, the daily bag limit is 2 salmon/steelhead in combination, but only one may be a chinook. Chinook may be fin-clipped or not, but coho and steelhead must be adipose fin-clipped.
  • Beginning Sept. 1, the daily bag limit will be increased to include up to 3 adult coho (bonus coho bag).

Mainstem Columbia River from Tongue Point upstream to Bonneville Dam

  • Open for adipose fin-clipped steelhead and adipose fin-clipped coho Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
  • Open to retention of chinook (adults and jacks) Aug. 1 – Sept. 13 from Tongue Point upstream to a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse (Ore.) through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island (Wash.).
  • Open to retention of Chinook Aug. 1 – Dec. 31 from a line at Warrior Rock through red buoy #4 to a marker on Bachelor Island (Wash.) upstream to Bonneville Dam.
  • Daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination and five jacks, but only one adult fish may be a chinook. Chinook adults and jacks may be fin-clipped or not, but coho and steelhead must be adipose fin-clipped.

Mainstem Columbia River above Bonneville Dam

  • Open for steelhead, coho, and chinook salmon (adults and jacks) Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
  • Daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination and five jacks. Chinook adults and jacks may be fin-clipped or not. Steelhead must be adipose fin-clipped, and coho retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be adipose fin-clipped.

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Contact:

John North (971) 673-6029
Chris Kern (971) 673-6031
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038

Fax:     (541) 276-4414
 
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