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ODFW adopts three coho bag limit above Willamette Falls

Oct. 14, 2014

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Anglers may keep an additional bonus coho salmon on several Willamette Valley area streams upstream of Willamette Falls under temporary fishing rules adopted by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Effective Wednesday, October15, the daily bag limit for coho salmon increases to three fish on the Willamette mainstem above Willamette Falls, and the Molalla, Santiam, Yamhill, South Yamhill and Tualatin rivers. Prior to the rule change, the limit was two coho per day.

The increased bag limit was prompted by recent information that indicates strong returns of coho moving above Willamette Falls this year. Through early October, more than 10,000 adult coho passed ODFW’s fish counting station at Willamette Falls and more are to come over the next month. This action follows a similar temporary rule change recently implementing a three coho bag limit in the Clackamas and Sandy basins.

“It’s exciting to see another strong return of coho this year,” said Tom Murtagh, ODFW fish biologist, who noted that while the coho run was not expected to be as large as the banner runs in 2009, 2010 and 2013, it’s still shaping up to be a very good run.

“We’re always pleased when we are able to offer additional fishing opportunities to anglers,” he said.

Coho can be difficult to catch in the Willamette this time of year due to water temperature and other factors, according to Murtagh, who noted that rains forecast in the region the next several weeks could improve fishing prospects as coho continue to congregate at the mouths of the Tualatin, Molalla and Yamhill rivers. Fish will begin moving into tributaries after significant rains raise streamflow and cool water temperatures.

Anglers are reminded that only adipose fin-clipped coho may be retained in the Willamette and tributaries below Willamette Falls, including the Clackamas and Sandy rivers. However, both clipped and unclipped coho may be retained in specified water above the falls.

Also, anglers need to know that combined daily limits still apply when catching more than one species of anadromous fish. Accordingly, in those areas above Willamette Falls that are also open to retention of Chinook salmon and steelhead, the combined daily bag limit is two adult fish, with the exception that one additional, or “bonus” fish, may be kept if it is a coho or adipose fin-clipped steelhead. Consult the 2014 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for more information on regulations, open areas, seasons and bag limits on these species.

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Contact:
Tom Murtagh (971) 673-6044
Rick Swart (971) 673-6038

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