THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESS RELEASES FROM THE WASHINGTON AND OREGON DEPARTMENTS OF FISH AND WILDLIFE
OLYMPIA–With fewer upriver bright fall Chinook salmon now expected to return to the Columbia River, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed Wednesday to close Chinook retention on the lower and middle Columbia River mainstem effective Oct. 8.
The U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee, which forecasts and monitors salmon and steelhead returns to the Columbia River, met Monday and reduced the 2022 forecast for upriver bright fall Chinook returning to the Columbia. Fishery managers previously estimated that 323,000 upriver brights would return to the mouth of the river in 2022, but based on returns and catch data so far, that forecast was downgraded Monday to 267,000 fish.
Chinook retention will close on the mainstem from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the river to the Highway 395 bridge in Pasco beginning Oct. 8. Recreational coho fishing remains open. See additional details at the emergency fishing rules page.
Managers also agreed to rescind two Chinook-directed commercial fishery openers next week.
“Given this significant reduction in expected returns, we had to move quickly to ensure we didn’t exceed our allowable harvest rates on these Chinook,” said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fisheries manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “Closing Chinook-directed fisheries, including Chinook retention in sport fisheries, will reduce those impacts while still allowing fishing for coho in light of the reduced forecast.”
CLACKAMAS, Ore.—Fishery managers are closing Chinook retention in the mainstem Columbia River recreational fishery to ensure that non-treaty fisheries remain within the 15 percent allowable harvest rate on upriver bright fall Chinook.
Retention of Chinook will be prohibited in the mainstem from the Buoy 10 line upstream to the Hwy 395 Bridge at Pasco, Wash. beginning on Saturday, Oct. 8.
Coho fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River will remain open with the following bag limits:
Area: Buoy 10 line upstream to Tongue Point/Rocky Point line Daily adult bag limit: 3 hatchery coho
Area: Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam Daily adult bag limit: 2 hatchery coho
Area: Bonneville Dam upstream to Hwy 395 bridge in Pasco, Wash.
Daily adult bag limit: 2 coho (only hatchery coho may be retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge)
All other previously adopted regulations remain in effect. Hatchery coho jacks may also be retained (5 per day).
Chinook retention had reopened Oct. 1 after closing earlier this season when the recreational fishery exceeded its allowable impact to ESA-listed LCR tule fall Chinook. While tules have mostly entered tributaries by late September, the states must limit the non-treaty harvest rate on upriver bright fall Chinook to no more than 15 percent as specified in the current U.S. v. Oregon Management Agreement.
“We are taking a prudent approach to limiting additional harvest of fall Chinook while maintaining a coho-directed fishing opportunity,” said Tucker Jones, ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River program manager. “This step will keep us within our allowable harvest limits.”
Fishery managers also rescinded two commercial fall Chinook periods planned for Oct. 9 and 12, again to avoid exceeding the overall non-treaty upriver bright fall Chinook harvest rate.