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States set spring chinook, sturgeon seasons

 
February 18, 2010

 

OREGON CITY, Ore. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring chinook salmon and sturgeon fishing seasons for the Columbia and Willamette rivers today during a joint state hearing.

Several fisheries, including those in the Willamette River and in the Columbia River between Bonneville Dam and the river mouth, are currently open under permanent rules and will remain open through February. The seasons adopted today will take effect March 1. 

In an effort to boost sturgeon populations, fishery managers also extended an existing sturgeon sanctuary on the Columbia Bonneville Dam, created a new sturgeon sanctuary on the Willamette River and announced their intention to close a bank fishing site below Willamette Falls known as “The Wall,” effective April 1. Sturgeon fishing will be prohibited in the two sanctuaries from May 1 through Aug. 31.

In a separate announcement following the joint state hearing, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it will leave in place the current regulations that allow retention of spring chinook in the Willamette River open seven days a week, with a daily bag limit of two adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon or steelhead in any combination. ODFW is forecasting a return of 62,700 chinook salmon in the Willamette, which is one of the strongest returns in several years.

The Columbia spring chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 470,000 returning upriver spring chinook. As a conservative measure, the two states adopted a 40 percent buffer, leaving a combined harvest guideline of 17,200 fish in the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.

"Thanks to the large run forecast this year we are able to craft a spring chinook season that includes plenty of fishing opportunity throughout the river," said Steve Williams deputy administrator of ODFW's fish division. “If the forecast comes in as expected we may be able to provide even more opportunity.”

The sturgeon seasons are based on a recreational harvest guideline of 19,200 fish, including 3,600 in the Willamette.

About 50 people including sport and commercial fishermen showed up to listen and present testimony at the hearing, conducted at the Oregon Historical Society Bldg. in Oregon City.

The following is a summary of recreational fishing seasons adopted at today’s meeting. Additional information may be obtained on the ODFW website at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/columbia.asp.

CHINOOK SALMON

Columbia River from Buoy 10 to I-5 Bridge

Anglers will be permitted to fish seven days a week from March 1 through April 18 or until the harvest guideline is achieved. The season will be closed on Tuesdays, March 9, 16, 23 and 30. The purpose of the Tuesday closures is to provide possible commercial fishing days. The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a chinook. The rules also allow retention of up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.

Columbia River from I-5 Bridge upstream to I-205 Bridge

This area is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon seven days a week from March 1-14 and three days a week Thursday through Saturday from March 18 – April 3, or until the harvest guideline is achieved. The season is closed Tuesday, March 9. The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a chinook, and up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.

Columbia River from I-205 Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam

This area will be closed to boat angling for salmon and steelhead through June 15 or until further notice. However, bank angling for salmon will be permitted from the I-205 Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam seven days a week from March 1 – 14 and Thursday through Saturday March 18 – April 3. The season will be closed Tuesday, March 9.

Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border

This area is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead through March 15 under permanent rules. Effective March 16, this area will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and adipose fin-clipped chinook through May 31, or until the harvest guideline is achieved. The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, and up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.

Angling for salmon and steelhead from a boat between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles down stream from The Dalles Dam, is prohibited. Bank angling is allowed in this area.

Willamette River

Open to retention of adipose fin-clipped adult chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead seven days a week the entire year. Bag limit is two salmon or steelhead in any combination below Willamette Falls. Above the falls, one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained.

STURGEON

Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Wauna power lines (River Mile 40)

Retention of white sturgeon is allowed seven days a week Jan. 1 – April 30, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of between 38 and 54 inches. This area is closed to retention of white sturgeon May 1-May 21. The season reopens seven days a week from May 22 through June 26, or until the harvest guideline is achieved, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of 41 to 54 inches.

Columbia River from Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam (including all adjacent Washington tributaries)

Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Jan. 1 – July 31 and Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, or until the harvest guideline is achieved. Daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches. Angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the upstream end of Skamania Island at River Marker #82 upstream to Bonneville Dam May 1 – Aug. 31.

Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam

This area is expected to reach the harvest guideline of 1,400 fish on Feb. 20, 2010 and will close to retention of white sturgeon effective 12:01 a.m. Feb. 21. Catch-and-release sturgeon angling will remain open.

Columbia River from The Dalles Dam to John Day Dam

This area is open to retention of white sturgeon seven days a week under permanent rules from Jan. 1 until the annual harvest guideline of 300 fish is met. The legal size limit for retention in this area is 43-54 inches fork length.

Columbia River from John Day Dam to McNary Dam

This area is expected to reach the harvest guideline of 165 fish Feb. 28, 2010 and will close to retention of white sturgeon effective 12:01 a.m. March 1. Catch-and-release sturgeon angling will remain open.

Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls including the Multnomah Channel

Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Jan. 1 – March 31 and Nov. 1 – Dec. 31. Daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches. On the Willamette, angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the I-205 Bridge upstream to Willamette Falls May 1 – Aug. 31.

In other business the agencies took the following actions:

  • Adopted the 2009 Winter/Spring Preseason Commercial Fishing Plan
  • Set commercial fishing seasons for Select Area fisheries, including Blind Slough/Knappa Slough, Tongue Point/South Channel, Deep River and Young's Bay.
  • During chinook salmon season, limited retention of fin-clipped steelhead and shad to only those days where salmon season is open.
  • Limited the chinook salmon daily bag limit to one fin-clipped fish a day in Select Area fisheries on those days when the Columbia River below the I-5 Bridge is open to retention of chinook.
   

Contact:

John North (971) 673-6029
Chris Kern (971) 673-6031
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038
Fax: (971) 673-6070

 
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