Salmon managers from Oregon and Washington will consider a recommendation from state fish and wildlife staffers to close Buoy 10 and Lower Columbia Chinook, coho and steelhead fisheries after tomorrow.
The word came out this evening in a fact sheet ahead of Thursday morning’s conference call between ODFW and WDFW, when a final decision will actually be made.
The crux of the issue centers around how many natural-origin LCR, or wild Lower Columbia River, fall Chinook – also known as tules – have been caught and how far above the exploitation rate, or ER, that has been, as well as impacts to Snake River wild Chinook, aka SRWs.
“Given the LCR tule ER overage in the Buoy 10 fishery plus the expected total catch for the lower Columbia River recreational Chinook fisheries, harvest is projected to exceed the recreational allocation of LCR tule and SRW fall Chinook and would result in exceeding the total allowable LCR tule ER and non-treaty impact allocation of SRW fall Chinook,” the fact sheet states.
Per stats from the DFWs, the overall recreational tule catch at Buoy 10 and from Puget Island to Bonneville Dam is expected to clock in at 109 percent of expectations, mostly accrued during the brief, six-day nonselective portion of the Chinook fishery at Buoy 10, where 232 percent of the preseason forecast was caught. For some, it will be suggestive of a larger tule run than forecast, though determining that inseason is problematic.
Guides like Bill Monroe Jr. had been urging Buoy 10 anglers to know the difference between tules and more numerous upriver brights and let the former fish go in an effort to keep fishign going on the rest of the Lower Columbia.
Closing salmon fishing throughout the big river below Bonneville Dam – which would scuttle expected solid hatchery coho and URB seasons – would help keep the overall exploitation rate (including ocean fisheries) on ESA-listed tules within the 38 percent cap.
“Impacts to LCR tule fall Chinook, including ocean fisheries, are expected to remain within the 38% ER limit with the recommended modifications to in-river fisheries,” states the fact sheet.
The fall Chinook fishery at Buoy 10 was hatchery only through August 25, and was scheduled to be open for hatchery or wild kings as late as September 7 but closed after today, the DFWs announced earlier this week after holding a public conference call like the one slated for 10 tomorrow morning.
The waters from Puget Island to Warrior Rock (near the mouths of the Multnomah Channel and Lewis River) were to be open through September 7, and those from Warrior Rock to Bonneville through September 13.
It will be little solace to Lower Columbia anglers, but there will be a three days of sturgeon retention on the big river between the Wauna Powerlines and the dam and in the Cowlitz on September 10, 14 and 17.