CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Recreational salmon and steelhead fishing on the Columbia River will reopen for four days in May under rules adopted today by the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife.
The river has been closed to recreational salmon and steelhead fishing since March 26 in response to efforts by the states to slow the spread of Covid-19 and flatten the curve. Earlier this week, Washington announced it will reopen recreational fishing May 5, and today Oregon announced it will lift its ban on non-resident hunting and fishing, also effective May 5.
Fishery managers from the two states set the following regulations for salmon and steelhead fishing on the Columbia River. They are as follows:
Tuesday, May 5, Thursday, May 7, Saturday, May 9, and Wednesday, May 13
From the Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank), and from Beacon Rock (bank only) to the Bonneville Dam deadline. Above Bonneville Dam, bank angling is allowed upstream to the Tower Island powerlines, while both boat and bank angling is open from Tower Island upstream to the Oregon/Washington border.
In order to help protect the Cowlitz and Lewis river stocks of spring Chinook, the area from the Warrior Rock line downstream, will remain closed for now; retention of hatchery steelhead and shad is scheduled to open from Tongue Point/Rocky Point upstream to the I-5 Bridge on May 16 under permanent regulations.
The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) of which no more than one may be a Chinook. Shad may also be retained.
The states also approved retention of sockeye salmon beginning May 16 from the I-5 Bridge downstream to the Tongue/Rocky Point line, concurrent with permanent steelhead regulations. The daily adult bag limit remains at two salmonids (hatchery steelhead and sockeye only). All sockeye are considered adults and must be tagged as such.
The remainder of Oregon’s recreational fisheries remain open, subject to monitoring for voluntary compliance with Gov. Brown’s social distancing Stay Home, Save Lives directive. ODFW will continue to monitor ongoing fishing seasons and modify as necessary to remain within allowable take limits while achieving appropriate social-distancing.
Fishery managers said while fishing conditions are good and they are pleased to reopen the fishery and provide the additional opportunity for outdoor recreation, they urged recreationists to maintain vigilance and social-distancing.
“We’ve been monitoring existing fisheries, and the majority of anglers have been doing a good job of social distancing,” said Tucker Jones, manager of ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program. “I caution people to use good common sense and not try and crowd too many people in a boat or stand too close to each other on the bank. A conservative approach is warranted by all of us.”
ODFW reminds anglers to consider these social-distancing precautions:
- Check for access before you go. Fishing is open but the boat ramp or park where you want to go might be closed. ODFW does not control access to land or facilities it doesn’t manage so check with the land manager or facility owner where you want to go about what’s open.
- Stick close to home. Don’t travel far to hunt or fish. Most places are closed to overnight camping/lodging.
- Be prepared. Restrooms and other facilities may be more limited. Bring your own soap, water, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, food, etc. Buy your license online before you go.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Avoid crowds. Go someplace else if your destination looks crowded.
- Practice social distancing. Keep six feet between you and anyone who doesn’t live in your immediate household.
- Wash your hands often. Keep up on personal hygiene and bring your own water, soap, and hand sanitizer with you.
- Pack out what you pack in. Take any garbage with you, including disposable gloves and masks.
For more information about seasons, licenses, gear restrictions, etc., see Online Sport Fishing Regulations.
Another option is to hire a Oregon walleye fishing guide and fish for walleye of the Columbia river. There are no limit restrictions and these guided walleye fishing trips are very fun due the the amount of fish you can catch and keep.