Editor’s note: The following has been updated with a WDFW e-reg at bottom authorizing the retention of two hatchery coho a day on the Warrior Rock-Bonneville stretch of the Columbia starting Sept. 6, three days earlier than previously scheduled
THE FOLLOWING IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OREGON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE AND AN EMERGENCY RULE-CHANGE NOTICE FROM THE WASHINGTON DEPARTMENT OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
Fisheries managers from Oregon and Washington today announced that recreational Chinook salmon retention in the Columbia River between Warrior Rock and Bonneville Dam will close effective Friday, Sept. 6 at 12:01 a.m., three days earlier than originally scheduled.
The states decided to close the fishery early after reviewing harvest data that indicated recreational fishermen in this river section have already surpassed their preseason Chinook salmon harvest guideline by approximately 40 percent. Other sections of the lower Columbia River closed to Chinook retention in August to help prevent recreational fisheries from exceeding their allocation of upriver bright fall Chinook.
Columbia River salmon harvests are subject to treaties and federal conservation mandates such as the Endangered Species Act that place limits on the number of fish that can be harvested.
For 2019, upriver bright fall Chinook, which include ESA-listed Snake River fish, are the most constraining Chinook stock, The states took a precautionary approach to planning 2019 fisheries as a result of exceeding take limits in recent years.
“Clearly, we need to close the season as soon as possible,” said Tucker Jones, ODFW’s manager of ocean salmon and Columbia River fisheries.
“We will continue to monitor the situation closely, and if there is any indication that we have room to catch more fish, we’ll take action,” he added, referring to ongoing monitoring of the upriver bright run size that can affect harvest guidelines.
In the meantime, coho salmon returns appear to be strong and offer potential for additional recreational fishing opportunity, especially at Buoy 10, according to Jones.
Retention of adult hatchery coho is currently open from Buoy 10 to McNary Dam, with a bag limit of two fish per day. The recreational coho season is scheduled to continue through the end of the year.
In addition, Chinook retention remains open between Bonneville and McNary dams. The fishery will be managed based on actual catches and upriver bright run size.
Steelhead retention is currently closed through September in the Columbia from the mouth of the river at Buoy 10 upstream to McNary Dam, a measure the states adopted and subsequently expanded earlier this year to help reduce impacts to upriver steelhead, which are returning to the river in smaller numbers than expected.
For more information, visit ODFW on line at www.MyODFW.com
Portion of Columbia River mainstem closing to recreational Chinook fishing
Action: Closes the sport fishery for Chinook salmon from Warrior Rock Line upstream to Bonneville Dam. Increases adult portion of the daily limit to 2 hatchery coho.
Effective date: Friday, Sept. 6 until further notice.
Species affected: Chinook salmon.
Location: Columbia River mainstem, from upstream of the Warrior Rock Line (a line projected from the Warrior Rock lighthouse through Red Buoy 4 to the marker atop the piling dolphin located at the downstream end of Bachelor Island on the Washington shore) to Bonneville Dam.
Reason for action: This fishery was originally scheduled to close on Sunday, Sept. 8. However, the fishery has already exceeded its pre-season planned allocation of Upriver Bright impacts. This closure is necessary to meet conservation goals and pre-season fishing plans agreed upon by co-managers.
Additional information: Salmon and steelhead; min. size 12″, daily limit 6. Up to 2 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon and steelhead other than hatchery coho.
Fishery managers will continue to monitor the run and evaluate for possible future openings. Anglers can follow emergency rule changes at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/
Please see the 2019-20 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for additional rules or visit the WDFW website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/
Information contact: Region 5, 360-696-6211.