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Columbia River steelhead season opens Friday

 
June 11, 2009

 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – In a joint state hearing conducted Wednesday, fishery managers from Oregon and Washington opened the steelhead, sockeye, and jack chinook season from Tongue Point upstream to the I-5 Bridge on the Columbia River, effective Friday, June 12.

The area from the I-5 Bridge upstream to the Oregon/Washington border above McNary Dam opens June 16 for jack chinook, sockeye, and adipose fin-clipped steelhead.

The season downstream of I-5, which had been scheduled to open May 16 under permanent rules, was postponed earlier this year to prevent the incidental catch of chinook salmon that returned to the Columbia in fewer numbers than expected.

The decision to open the fishery was based on new estimates that indicated 165,000 spring chinook will return to the Columbia River, ensuring that ESA guidelines will be met.

“While it was disappointing we could not open the steelhead season earlier this year, one of our first and foremost responsibilities is to deal with our obligations under the Endangered Species Act,” said Steve Williams, deputy administrator of ODFW’s fish division.

“The new forecast provides a small amount of breathing room that we needed to allow the season to proceed,” said Williams.

The action taken by the two states does not alter summer seasons previously scheduled to begin June 16. Rules for summer salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River from June 12 onward are shown below.

Tongue Point upstream to the I-5 Bridge:

  • Open for adipose fin-clipped steelhead from June 12-Dec. 31.
  • Open for sockeye salmon from June 12-July 31; all sockeye count towards the adult daily bag limit.
  • Open for jack chinook salmon from June 12 onward. Through June 15, jacks must be adipose fin-clipped to be retained; from June 16 onward, jacks may be retained whether they are fin-clipped or not. Jacks are defined as chinook salmon less than 24” long.
  • Open for adult chinook salmon (clipped or not) from June 22–July 5.
  • The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jacks.

I-5 Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam:

  • Open for adipose fin-clipped steelhead from June 16-Dec. 31.
  • Open for sockeye salmon (must be tagged as adults) from June 16-July 31.
  • Open for jack chinook salmon (clipped or not) from June 16 onward. Jacks are defined as chinook salmon less than 24” long.
  • Open for adult chinook salmon (clipped or not) from June 22-July 5.
  • The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jacks.

Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border open to the following effective June 16:

  • Open for adipose fin-clipped steelhead from June 16-Dec. 31.
  • Open for sockeye salmon from June 16-July 31; all sockeye count towards the adult daily bag limit.
  • Open for jack chinook salmon (clipped or not) from June 16 onward.
  • Open for adult chinook salmon (clipped or not) from July 1-July 31.
  • The combined daily bag limit is two adults and five jacks.

Summer and fall recreational fisheries are also summarized on the ODFW website.

Other actions taken at the Joint State/Compact hearing included setting initial summer chinook commercial seasons for non-Treaty and Treaty Indian fishers. Actions taken are available on the ODFW website.

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Contact:

Chris Kern (971) 673-6031
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038
John North (971) 673-6029
Fax: (541) 673-0372

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