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Poor returns stifle northeast Oregon spring Chinook salmon seasons

May 16, 2019

LA GRANDE, Ore. – Spring Chinook fishing on the Snake, Wallowa, and Imnaha Rivers and Lookingglass Creek in northeast Oregon will remain closed in 2019 due to low returns.

As updated run size estimates are available, an opening of a season may be considered on Lookingglass Creek.

Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) fisheries managers in Northeast Oregon are again faced with low returns of upriver spring Chinook to popular fishing locations. The 2019 forecasts were for just 99,330 fish to pass Bonneville Dam on their way to their spawning tributaries, half of the 10-year average of 198,200 fish.

While ODFW makes every effort to offer opportunities to fish for these prized salmon, protecting wild stocks and meeting hatchery broodstock needs are a priority.

Snake River:

ODFW will not be opening the Snake River for adult spring Chinook salmon below Hells Canyon Dam in 2019.

ODFW and Idaho Fish and Game fishery managers, who co-manage the Hells Canyon sport fishery, were unable to release juveniles below Hells Canyon Dam in 2017 due to excessive dissolved gas levels; these fish were instead released at Rapid River in Idaho.

The lack of these returning fish combined with poor overall returns will preclude fishing for adult spring Chinook in Hells Canyon during 2019. Limited fishing opportunity for jacks may occur as run estimates are revised.

Season changes and closures announcements will be posted on and released through local news outlets.



Kyle Bratcher, Enterprise (541) 426-3279
Tim Bailey, La Grande (541) 963-2138

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