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States set spring chinook, sturgeon seasons for Columbia and Willamette rivers

Willamette sturgeon retention season announced for July

Jan. 30, 2013

PORTLAND, 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.

The Columbia River spring chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 141,400 returning upriver spring chinook. This compares to a 2012 actual upriver return of 203,100 and leaves a harvest guideline of 5,010 upriver fish in the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam. The spring chinook season for the lower Columbia opened Jan. 1 under permanent rules. The season adopted today will take effect March 1 and is expected to extend the fishery through April 5.

On the Willamette, the spring chinook forecast is 59,800. This is below last year’s actual return of 65,100 but is still enough to allow for a full chinook retention season as described under permanent regulations.

The Columbia and Willamette sturgeon seasons set today are based on a reduced total guideline of 7,796 harvestable fish for recreational fisheries in 2013. This reflects a 15 percent conservation buffer adopted in response to recent declines in the abundance of legal-sized fish.

Oregon fishery managers also announced the sturgeon retention season for the Willamette River will occur in July with the intent of maximizing the number of fishing days.

In addition to the seasons set today, anglers are reminded of two new rules for 2013. There is now a one sturgeon annual bag limit in Oregon for all zones statewide. Under this bag limit, anglers may record just one sturgeon on their 2013 Oregon Combined Angling tag, whether caught on the Columbia River, Willamette River or elsewhere in the state.

Also new for 2013 is a barbless hook requirement when fishing for salmon, steelhead or trout on the Columbia and Willamette (below the falls) rivers and selected tributaries.

The following is a summary of recreational fishing seasons adopted at today’s meeting.

CHINOOK SALMON

Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam
Prior to March 1, permanent rules, as outlined in the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.

From March 1 through April 5, boat fishing will be allowed seven days per week from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock. Bank fishing will be allowed during the same timeframe from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam. This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 5,010 upriver spring chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort. The recreational fishery will be closed on March 26 and April 2 (Tuesdays) to allow for potential commercial fisheries.

The daily bag limit will be 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 Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border
Effective March 16, this area will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped chinook through May 5. This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 670 upriver spring chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.

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.

Fishing for salmon and steelhead from a boat between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles downstream from The Dalles Dam, is prohibited. Bank fishing is allowed throughout this area.

Select Areas
Permanent fishing regulations for recreational harvest in Oregon waters within the Youngs Bay and Blind Slough/Knappa Slough are listed in the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

Effective March 1 through June 15, on days when the lower mainstem is open to recreational chinook harvest, the daily salmonid bag limit will be the same as mainstem Columbia bag limits. On days the mainstem Columbia is closed to chinook retention, the permanent bag limits for select areas will apply.

Willamette River
The Willamette River remains open to retention of adipose fin-clipped adult chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead seven days a week.

The bag limit on the Willamette below Willamette Falls is two adipose fin-clipped chinook. Above the falls, one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained under regulations for the combined salmon/steelhead bag limit.

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 38 to 54 inches. This area is closed to retention of white sturgeon May 1-May 10. The season reopens seven days a week from May 11 through June 30, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of 41 to 54 inches.

This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 4,042 fish and may be shortened or extended, depending on catch and effort.

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 Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays Jan. 1 – June 15 and Oct. 19 – Dec. 31. This fishery will be managed to a harvest guideline of 2,021 fish and may be shortened or extended, depending on catch and effort. Angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the upstream end of Skamania Island at River Marker #82 upstream to Bonneville Dam May 1 – Aug. 31.

The daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches.

Sand Island Slough remains closed to angling Jan. 1 through Apr. 30. The Sandy River is closed to sturgeon retention.

Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam
The white sturgeon retention season in Bonneville Pool will consist of winter and summer periods. The winter retention period will take place from Jan. 1 through Feb. 10, and the summer season is expected to begin in June.

The total harvest guideline for both seasons combined is 1,100 fish. The harvest guideline was reduced from an earlier-announced 2,000 fish quota at a Jan. 22 meeting of the Sturgeon Management Task Force.

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 open to retention of white sturgeon seven days a week under permanent rules from Jan. 1 until the annual harvest guideline of 500 fish is met. The legal size limit for retention in this area is 43-54 inches fork length.

Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls including the Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River

Oregon fishery managers announced a retention season with a harvest guideline of 1,733. The proposed season would be Thursday through Saturday, July 11-13 and Thursday through Saturday, July 18-20. Staff will review catch rates after each retention period and may adjust seasons, if necessary, to stay within allowable harvest.

On the Willamette, angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the I-205 Bridge upstream to Willamette Falls May 1 – Aug. 31.

STEELHEAD/SHAD

Effective March 1 – May 15, 2013 the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of shad and adipose fin-clipped steelhead ONLY during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring chinook. Beginning May 16 permanent rules resume as listed in the 2013 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

In other business the agencies took the following actions:

  • Adopted the 2013 Winter/Spring Pre-Season Commercial Fishing Plan and General Commercial Spring Chinook Fishery Regulations, which sets gear types and season structures.
  • Set commercial fishing seasons for Select Area fisheries, including Blind Slough/Knappa Slough, Tongue Point/South Channel, Deep River and Young's Bay.
   

Contact:

John North (971) 673-6029
Kevleen Melcher (971) 673-6030
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

 
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