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Strong fall chinook returns expected for Columbia River
 
July 27, 2011

 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Columbia River fisheries managers are expecting the largest return of fall chinook salmon since 2004 to begin arriving when the fall fishing season gets under way Aug. 1.

Fisheries managers are forecasting a return of 766,000 adult fall chinook this year, which is even larger than last year’s strong return of 657,000 fish. If the run materializes as expected, it would be the largest total fall chinook return since 800,000 fish returned in 2004. Nearly 500,000 of the total are expected to be mid- and upriver bright salmon, which are highly prized by anglers because they are big, bite and fight hard and are high in food quality.

“For the angler in the know, mid- and upriver brights are what they’re looking for,” said John North, manager of ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program. “They’re the most desired fish of the fall run because of their size and table fare.”

Coho returns are expected to be poorer this year, at about half of the 2001-2010 average, with a forecast return of 270,800 fish.

Columbia River fisheries are managed to quotas based on Endangered Species Act (ESA) limitations on wild fish, according to North. The flexible nature of these fisheries, he said, allows managers to maximize fishing opportunities under the ESA. However, it also means that regulation changes and season modifications can happen quickly based on actual returns and harvest rates.

Because fisheries are managed to specific harvest guidelines for key fish stocks, emergency in-season closures can occur if these guidelines are met. Anglers are therefore 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. ODFW also distributes all in-season changes through the news media and through social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The 2011 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. Season regulations vary by area, date, and species, and are summarized by fishing area below.

2011 Columbia River fall salmon and steelhead seasons

Buoy 10 upstream to Tongue Point

  • Aug. 1 – Aug. 28:
    • Open for adult chinook (>24”; fin-clipped or not), adipose fin-clipped steelhead, and adipose fin-clipped adult coho (>16”).
    • Daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, of which only one may be a chinook. Jacks (coho or chinook) may not be retained.

  • Aug. 29 – Sep. 30:
    • Closed for chinook. Open for adipose fin-clipped steelhead and adipose fin-clipped adult coho (>16”).
    • Daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult coho/steelhead in combination. Jacks may not be retained.

  • Oct. 1 – Dec. 31:
    • Open for chinook (adults and jacks; fin-clipped or not), adipose fin-clipped steelhead, and adipose fin-clipped coho (adults and jacks).
    • Daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, and may include up to two chinook. Jack chinook and adipose fin-clipped jack coho may be retained with a daily bag limit of five jacks in addition to the adult daily bag limit.

Tongue Point upstream to a line projected from Warrior rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore to Red Buoy #4 to the orange marker atop the piling near the lower end of Bachelor Island, Washington

  • Aug. 1 – Sept. 9:
    • Open for chinook (adults and jacks, fin-clipped or not), adipose fin-clipped coho (adults and jacks), and adipose fin-clipped steelhead.
    • Daily adult fish bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, of which only one may be a chinook. Jack chinook and adipose fin-clipped jack coho may be retained with a daily bag limit of five jacks in addition to the adult daily bag limit.
  • Sept. 10 – Sept. 30:
    • Closed for chinook (adults and jacks). Open for adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead.
    • Daily adult fish bag limit is two adult coho/steelhead in combination. Adipose fin-clipped jack coho may be retained with a daily bag limit of five jacks in addition to the adult daily coho/steelhead bag limit.
  • Oct. 1 – Dec. 31:
    • Open for chinook (adults and jacks, fin-clipped or not), adipose fin-clipped coho (adults and jacks), and adipose fin-clipped steelhead.
    • Daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, and may include up to two chinook. Jack chinook and adipose fin-clipped jack coho may be retained with a daily bag limit of five jacks in addition to the adult daily bag limit.

From a line projected from Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore to Red Buoy #4 to the orange marker atop the piling near the lower end of Bachelor Island, Washington upstream to Bonneville Dam

  • Open for chinook (adults and jacks; fin-clipped or not), adipose fin-clipped coho, and adipose fin-clipped steelhead Aug. 1 – Dec. 31:
    • From Aug. 1 – Sept. 9, the daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, of which only 1 may be a chinook, and five jacks.
    • From Sept. 10 – Dec. 31, the daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, which may include up to two chinook, and five jacks.

Bonneville Dam upstream to Oregon/Washington Border

  • Open for chinook (adults and jacks; fin-clipped or not), coho, and adipose fin-clipped steelhead Aug. 1 – Dec. 31.
    • Coho (adults and jacks) must be adipose fin-clipped if kept downstream of the Hood River bridge.

Daily bag limit is two adult salmon/steelhead in combination, which may include up to two chinook, and five jacks.

###

   

Contact:

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

 
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