July 10, 2012
ENTERPRISE, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today announced the spring chinook fishery on the Wallowa River will close effective at sundown Sunday, July 15.
Fishery managers recommended the closure to limit the impact the fishery would have on wild fish populations.
Fisheries in both the Wallowa and Imnaha rivers this year were constrained by lower-than-expected returns of wild salmon to Northeast Oregon rivers, which directly affected the number of hatchery salmon that could be caught.
“We had greater expectations for our chinook fisheries this year,” said Jeff Yanke, ODFW district fish biologist in Enterprise. “However, when the fish finally showed up we were left with pretty small margins.”
Chinook salmon in northeast Oregon are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act. Fisheries are opened only when the number of wild salmon that return exceed a pre-determined trigger.
“Our most recent run estimates for the Lostine River were barely above the trigger point,” explained Yanke. “Although it can be easy to get used to the returns of the past few years, it proves that these fisheries are truly a privilege and not something to be expected.”