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Initial Columbia River spring Chinook season dates set

February 21, 2024

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington adopted initial recreational spring Chinook seasons on the Columbia River during a joint state hearing today.

Effective March 1 (downstream of Bonneville Dam) and April 1 (upstream of Bonneville Dam), the following regulations will take the place of permanent rules for the mainstem Columbia River between Buoy 10 and the Oregon/Washington border (see 2024 regulation booklet for permanent rules).

Catch rates and fishery performance will be monitored in season. Additional fishing days may be added after an in-season update of the expected upriver spring Chinook run size in mid to late May.

Downstream of Bonneville Dam
Dates: Friday, March 1 through Friday, April 5
Bag limit: Two adult hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) per day, but only one may be a Chinook. Shad may also be retained.
Open area: Buoy 10 line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank) plus only bank angling from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline. Legal upstream boat boundary defined as: a deadline marker on the Oregon bank (approximately four miles downstream from Bonneville Dam Powerhouse One) in a straight line through the western tip of Pierce Island to a deadline marker on the Washington bank at Beacon Rock.

Bonneville Dam to Oregon/Washington State Line (upstream of McNary Dam)
Dates: Monday, April 1 through Thursday, May 2
Bag limit: Two adult hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) per day, but only one may be a Chinook.
Open area: Tower Island power lines (approximately six miles downstream of The Dalles Dam) upstream to Oregon/Washington state line, plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.

Anglers are reminded that barbless hooks are required when angling for salmon or steelhead in mainstem Columbia River waters from the mouth upstream to the OR/WA state line.

Prior to an in-season run size update, the fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam will be managed for a guideline of approximately 3,900 upriver spring Chinook and the fishery between Bonneville Dam and the Oregon/Washington state line will be managed for a guideline of just under 600 upriver spring Chinook (these guidelines include kept catch plus release mortalities).

Forecasts for several 2024 spring Chinook stocks are down from last year’s actual returns and are lower than 10-year average returns. The overall forecasted return of adult spring Chinook to the Columbia River mouth (including both upriver and lower river stocks) is 205,600 fish, which is slightly lower than last year’s actual return of 216,586 and 89 percent of the recent 10-year average.

Columbia River spring Chinook salmon seasons are driven by Endangered Species Act limitations and the management agreement between the states and Columbia River Treaty Tribes specifying the total harvest guideline of upriver-origin spring Chinook.

"We are taking a conservative approach to spring Chinook seasons to protect ESA-listed upriver Chinook and stay within ESA constraints," said Tucker Jones, Columbia River Program Manager. "We closely track actual performance of the fishery and will add additional opportunity if possible.”

Jones thanked Tribes, recreational anglers, commercial fishermen and others for joining the hearing and their continued support of fish conservation.

Fishing regulations change frequently in-season, and anglers should check https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone#Regulation-Updates for updates before fishing.

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Contact: Jeff Whisler, 971-673-6024, geoffrey.s.whisler@odfw.oregon.gov
Michelle Dennehy, (503) 931-2748, Michelle.N.Dennehy@odfw.oregon.gov
   
 
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