THE FOLLOWING ARE WDFW, ODFW AND IDFG PRESS RELEASES
Spring chinook fishing extension split between May, June on lower Columbia
OLYMPIA – Anglers fishing the lower Columbia River can catch and keep spring chinook salmon for four more days in May – including Memorial Day weekend – and up to 13 days in June under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.
Under that agreement, the fishery below Bonneville Dam will reopen May 27-30, close for three days, then reopen June 3-15, or until the annual harvest guideline is met.
Ron Roler, Columbia River policy advisor for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the final days of this year’s spring chinook season were designed to stretch the fishery until mid-June, when the summer salmon season gets under way.
“A lot of anglers have asked that we structure the spring chinook season so that it dovetails with the summer fishing season, beginning June 16,” Roler said. “The fishing schedule approved today offers a good chance of reaching that goal.”
This year’s fishing season is based on a projected return of 180,000 upriver adult spring chinook and an annual catch guideline of 10,370 fish below Bonneville Dam.
As before, the fishery will be open from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat anglers, with bank fishing allowed up to the deadline below the dam.
Anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two adult fish. Fishing for hatchery steelhead will also be open concurrent with the salmon fishery.
Any chinook or steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed. All sockeye salmon incepted before June 16 must also be released.
Under existing rules, anglers may retain hatchery steelhead and hatchery chinook jacks May 31 through June 2 when the mainstem Columbia from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge is closed for adult chinook retention. Shad fishing is open above and below Bonneville Dam.
Fishery managers now anticipate a return of 180,000 upriver spring chinook to the Columbia River this year, down from 188,800 projected prior to the season.
Salmon and steelhead fishing remains closed above Bonneville Dam but reopens for the summer chinook season June 16 in waters above and below the dam under rules outlined in the Washington Sport Fishing rules pamphlet.
Four-day Chinook season opens Saturday on Lookingglass Creek
LA GRANDE, Ore. – Lookingglass Creek, a tributary of the Grande Ronde River at Palmer Junction, will open to fishing for hatchery spring Chinook salmon Saturday, May 28 through Tuesday May 31. The open area is from the Moses Creek Lane Bridge (County Road 42) upstream to the confluence of Jarboe Creek.
“A relatively small run is predicted for Lookingglass Creek in comparison to recent years,” said Tim Bailey, ODFW district fish biologist in La Grande. “This year’s run is expected to be around 500 adult Chinook, the majority being hatchery fish. Even though the season is short, we want to provide an opportunity to fish for the prized spring Chinook whenever we can.”
Anglers may retain two adipose fin-clipped Chinook adults and five adipose fin-clipped jacks per day, with two daily limits in possession. Jack salmon are less than 24 inches in length. Anglers do not need to record jack catch on their combined angling tags but it is illegal to continue fishing for jack chinook once the adult bag limit is met. Unmarked (wild) fish must be released carefully and unharmed.
As with the trout fishery that opens on Lookingglass Creek on May 22, anglers are restricted to artificial flies and lures while fishing for salmon – no bait.
“There are bull trout in Lookingglass Creek, and bait fishing could pose a threat to them,” Bailey explained, which is why all angling in the creek is restricted to artificial flies and lures.
Private timberlands owned by Hancock Forest and open to public access border the area open to sport fishing. Anglers are reminded to respect private property by picking up trash when leaving.
A Columbia Basin Endorsement is required for anglers who want to participate in this fishery.
For more information, contact the ODFW Northeast Region Office in La Grande at (541) 963-2138 or visit ODFW on-line at www.odfw.com.
Snake River spring chinook fisheries to close
Action: Spring chinook fishing on the Snake River to close.
Species affected: Spring Chinook
A) Below Ice Harbor Dam: Snake River from the southbound Highway 12 Bridge near Pasco upstream about 7 miles to the fishing restriction boundary below Ice Harbor Dam;
B) Below Little Goose Dam: Snake River from Texas Rapids boat launch (south side of the river upstreamfrom the mouth of Tucannon River) to the fishing restriction boundary below Little Goose Dam. This zone includes the rock and concrete area between the juvenile bypass return pipe and Little Goose Dam along the south shoreline of the facility (including the walkway area locally known as “the Wall” in front of the juvenile collection facility);
C) Clarkston: Snake River from the downstream edge of the large power lines crossing the Snake River (just upstream from West Evans Road on the south shore) upstream about 3.5 miles to the Washington state line (from the east levee of the Greenbelt boat launch in Clarkston northwest across the Snake River to the WA/ID boundary waters marker on the Whitman County shore).
Areas A (Below Ice Harbor Dam) and C (Clarkston) will close immediately.Area B (Below Little Goose Dam) will close one hour after official sunset on Monday May 30, 2016.
Reason for action: Based on the current harvest estimates and anticipated harvest at Little Goose through Monday next week, state fishery managers anticipate that 1,300-1,350 adult hatchery chinook to have been harvested. This will be very close to the current Snake River allotment amount of 1,354 adults based on the current run size prediction.
Chinook salmon seasons to end in lower Clearwater and North Fork Clearwater rivers
The lower Clearwater River from the Cherrylane Bridge upstream to the Orofino Bridge will close to fishing for all Chinook salmon at the end of fishing hours (9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) on Friday, May 27. In addition, the North Fork Clearwater River will close to fishing for all Chinook salmon effective the end of fishing hours (9 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time) on Monday, May 30, 2016. Due to this year’s low jack return, a “Jack Only” harvest season will not be provided.
These closures are being implemented because the harvest quota for adult Chinook salmon are anticipated to be met in these river sections by those dates. Harvest quotas in different reaches within the Clearwater drainage were developed using input from the public to help ensure all communities in the watershed have opportunities to harvest salmon.
Chinook salmon seasons will continue on the Clearwater River upstream of the Orofino Bridge, South Fork Clearwater, Middle Fork Clearwater, Little Salmon, Lochsa, and Snake rivers. The upper Salmon River and the South Fork Salmon River open June 18th.
Anglers are reminded that changes to seasons or limits may be implemented on short notice. For more on salmon fishing in Idaho, visit Fish and Game’s website athttp://fishandgame.idaho.gov/public/fish/?getPage=140, or call the Salmon Hotline at (855) 287-2702 for updates.