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States set spring Chinook seasons for Columbia River

January 29, 2014

Vancouver, Wash. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring Chinook salmon seasons for the Columbia River today during a joint state hearing in Vancouver.

The Columbia River spring Chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 227,000 returning upriver spring Chinook. This compares to a 2013 actual upriver return of 123,100 and leaves a harvest guideline of 10,157 upriver fish for the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam. The spring Chinook season for the lower Columbia below the I-5 Bridge opened Jan. 1 under permanent rules. The season adopted today will take effect March 1 and is expected to extend the fishery through April 7.

The recreational harvest guideline is a result of an increase in the recreational share of allowed ESA impacts for spring Chinook; the share is 70 percent this year compared to 60 percent available to the recreational fishery in 2013. This increase in the sport fishing allocation is part of the lower Columbia River fisheries management framework recently adopted by the states. Beginning in 2017, the sport fishing allocation for spring Chinook will increase to 80 percent under the new management framework.

In addition to the seasons set today, anglers are reminded that a Columbia River Basin Endorsement is now required for all anglers with an Oregon license when fishing for salmon, steelhead or sturgeon in the Columbia River Basin.

The following is a summary of recreational fishing seasons, including those 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 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.

From March 1 through April 7, 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. The recreational fishery will be closed on March 25 and April 1 (Tuesdays) to allow for potential commercial fisheries.  This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 10,157 upriver spring Chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.

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 in Oregon.

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 9. 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.

This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 1,354 upriver spring Chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.

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 in Oregon.

The one chinook bag limit upstream of Bonneville Dam is new for 2014. It was adopted with the support of various angler groups in order to extend the fishing season.

Select Areas

Permanent fishing regulations for recreational harvest in Oregon waters within Youngs Bay and Blind Slough/Knappa Slough are listed in the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

Effective March 1 through June 15, 2014 on days when the mainstem below Bonneville Dam 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

On the Willamette River, the spring Chinook forecast is 58,700 fish. This is slightly more than last year’s actual return of 47,300 and will allow for a full Chinook retention season as described under permanent regulations.

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.

STEELHEAD/SHAD

Effective March 1 through May 15, 2014 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 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

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Contact:

John North (971) 673-6029
Jeff Whisler (971) 673-6024
Jessica Sall (503) 947-6023

 
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