Washington’s salmon fisheries set for 2019-2020

Photo courtesy of Columbia River Fishing Guide Buddy Dupell of Columbia River Fishing  Adventures


 

ROHNERT PARK, Calif. – Washington anglers can expect a mixed bag of salmon fisheries this year with increased coho opportunities in the ocean and the Columbia River, but additional necessary restrictions to protect chinook in Puget Sound.

The state’s 2019 salmon fishing seasons, developed by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and treaty tribal co-managers, were finalized today during the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s (PFMC) meeting in Rohnert Park, Calif.

This year’s fisheries were designed to take advantage of a higher number of coho salmon forecast to return to Washington’s waters as compared to recent years, said Kyle Adicks, salmon policy lead for WDFW. However, projected low returns of key chinook stocks in Puget Sound prompted fishery managers to restrict fisheries in Puget Sound.

“We’re able to provide more opportunities to fish for coho in some areas, particularly in the ocean and Columbia River, than we have been able to do for several years,” Adicks said. “But continued poor returns of some chinook stocks forced us to make difficult decisions for fisheries in Puget Sound this year.”

Puget Sound

Again in 2019, fishery managers projected another low return of Stillaguamish, Nooksack and mid-Hood Canal chinook and took steps to protect those stocks. Notable closures of popular fisheries include: the San Juan Islands (Marine Area 7) in August; Deception Pass and Port Gardner (areas 8-1 and 8-2) in December and January; and Admiralty Inlet (Marine Area 9) in January.

WDFW Director Kelly Susewind acknowledged the reductions in Puget Sound salmon fisheries are difficult for both anglers and the local communities that depend on those fisheries.

“Reducing fisheries is not a long-term solution to the declining number of chinook salmon,” Susewind said. “The department will continue working with the co-managers, our constituents, and others to address habitat loss. Without improved habitat, our chinook populations will likely continue to decline.”

Limiting fisheries to meet conservation objectives for wild salmon indirectly benefits southern resident killer whales. The fishery adjustments will aid in minimizing boat presence and noise, and decrease competition for chinook and other salmon in these areas critical to the declining whales.

Anglers will also have limited opportunities to fish for pink salmon in Puget Sound due to projected low returns this year. There are no “bonus bag” limits for pink salmon in 2019.

Columbia River

The summer salmon fishery will be closed to summer chinook (including jacks) and sockeye retention due to low expected returns this year.

Fall salmon fisheries will be open under various regulations. Waters from Buoy 10 upstream to the Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco will open to fall salmon fishing beginning Aug. 1.

“While we anticipate a robust coho fishery in the Columbia River this year, we’re taking steps to protect depleted runs of chinook and steelhead,” Adicks said.

Steelhead fisheries in the Columbia and Snake rivers this season will be similar to those in 2017, when a similarly low run was projected, he said.

Washington’s ocean waters

“We expect some good opportunities for fishing in the ocean this summer,” Adicks said.

For 2019, PFMC adopted a significantly higher quota for coho, and a similar quota for chinook compared to last year. All four of Washington’s marine areas will open daily beginning June 22.

More information

Notable changes to this year’s Puget Sound sport salmon fisheries can be found on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/management/north-falcon, where information on recreational salmon fisheries in ocean waters and the Columbia River also is available.

 

 


 

Short reopening scheduled for Columbia River spring chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam

Photo courtesy of Columbia River Fishing Guide Buddy Dupell of Columbia River Fishing Adventures


 

OLYMPIA – A section of the lower Columbia River will reopen for recreational spring chinook fishing for two days beginning Saturday, April 13, state fishery managers announced.

The initial spring chinook fishing period from Bonneville Dam downriver to Warrior Rock ended at midnight Wednesday, April 10. But with less than half of the expected harvest of 3,689 upriver spring chinook salmon reeled in so far, additional opportunity remains available to anglers, and fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to reopen the area to fishing for one more weekend from April 13th-14th.

“Given the low forecast, we’re closely monitoring this run,” said Bill Tweit, special assistant for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We’re going to meet our conservation objectives and work within our means to provide harvest opportunities.”

Tweit noted that cold spring temperatures and recent heavy rains may have also contributed to slow fishing in recent weeks.

The fishery will reopen for spring chinook over the weekend on the Columbia River upstream from the Warrior Rock boundary line to Bonneville Dam. The lower river downstream from Warrior Rock remains closed to fishing for salmon, steelhead, and shad.

Anglers may retain two adult salmon, two steelhead, or one of each per day, but only one salmon may be a chinook. Only hatchery fish may be retained.

Waters above Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington state line above McNary Dam remain open to salmon fishing through May 5tht.

Anglers are reminded that the use of barbless hooks is required when fishing for salmon and steelhead in these areas.

 

 


 

John Day Pool closes for sturgeon retention


 

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE

 

Action: Anglers must release all sturgeon.

Effective dates: 12:01 a.m. Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Species affected: White sturgeon

Locations: The Columbia River from John Day Dam to McNary Dam.

Reason for action: Fishing effort picked up over this past weekend resulting in catches much higher than expected. Harvest estimates indicate the quota of 105 white sturgeon has been reached. This measure is necessary to prevent further over-harvest of the population.

Additional information: Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will continue to be allowed.

Please see the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet for additional angling rules specific to the Columbia River.

Information contact: Region 5 office; 360-696-6211

 

 


 

Latest Projections of low spring chinook returns constrain Columbia River fishing seasons


 

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today approved a sports fishery, for spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River that reflects a significant reduction in the number of fish available for harvest this year.

According to preseason projections, about 99,300 upriver spring chinook will reach the Columbia this year, down 14 percent from last year and 50 percent below the 10-year average. Those fish return to hatcheries and spawning areas upriver from Bonneville Dam.

In addition, fishery managers are also expecting much lower returns than last year to several major lower Columbia River tributaries, particularly the Cowlitz and Lewis rivers. On the Cowlitz, this year’s spring chinook run is projected to reach just 11 percent of the 10-year average and fall short of meeting hatchery production goals.

Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said those projections are largely the result of poor ocean conditions, which have complicated fisheries management in recent years.

“Anglers will still find some good fishing opportunities in the Columbia River Basin this spring, but conservation has to be our first concern,” Lothrop said. “We have a responsibility to protect salmon runs listed under the federal Endangered Species Act and get enough fish back to the spawning grounds and hatcheries to support future runs.”

Although salmon fishing is currently open from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Interstate-5 bridge, spring chinook usually don’t arrive in large numbers until mid-to-late March. The new fishing regulations approved today will take effect in the following areas:

  • Columbia River below Bonneville Dam: Salmon fishing will open March 1 through April 10 on the Columbia River upstream from Warrior Rock boundary line to Bonneville Dam. Anglers may retain two salmon, two steelhead, or one of each per day, but only one salmon may be a chinook. The lower river downstream from Warrior Rock will be closed to fishing from March 1 through April 10 to conserve spring chinook returning to the Cowlitz and Lewis rivers.
  • Tributaries: The Cowlitz and Lewis rivers will also close to salmon fishing March 1 to conserve spring chinook for hatchery escapement needs, but will remain open for hatchery steelhead retention. The Kalama River will remain open to fishing for salmon and steelhead, but the daily limit of adult salmon will be reduced to one fish on March 1.
  • Columbia River above Bonneville Dam: Waters above Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington state line above McNary Dam will open to salmon fishing April 1 through May 5. Anglers may retain two salmon, two steelhead, or one of each per day, but only one salmon may be a chinook.

In all open waters, only hatchery salmon and steelhead identified by a clipped adipose fin and healed scar may be retained.

Along with new area restrictions in the lower Columbia, fishery managers also reduced initial harvest limits for upriver spring chinook returning to the upper Columbia and Snake rivers. If those fish return as projected, anglers in the Columbia and Snake rivers will be limited to a total of 4,548 fish, compared to 9,052 last year, prior to a run size updated in May.

Lothrop noted that this year’s projected return of 99,300 upriver spring chinook is the lowest since 2007, but still well above the record-low return of just 12,800 fish in 1995.

“Experience has shown that warm-water ocean conditions present a challenge to salmon survival,” he said. “As in the 1990s, we have observed that cyclical warming effect during the past few years with similar results. During these times, we have to be especially cautious in how we manage the fishery.”

Anglers are strongly advised to review the rules for the waters they plan to fish, available on the department’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/

WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting and perpetuating fish and wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.

 


 

WDFW Commission to take public input on hatchery reform and salmon management policies


 

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will take public input on various topics – including hatchery reform, salmon management in Grays Harbor and Willapa Bay, and several land transactions – during an upcoming meeting in Olympia.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will meet Feb. 8-9 in Room 172 of the Natural Resources Building, 1111 Washington St. SE, Olympia. The meeting will begin at 8 a.m. both days.

A full agenda is available online at https://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/meetings.html.

WDFW staff will provide an update on a review of the state’s hatchery and fishery reform policy, which is intended to improve hatchery effectiveness, ensure compatibility between hatchery production and salmon recovery plans, and support sustainable fisheries. Staff will discuss the process they will use to review the policy and the science behind it. The public will have the opportunity to comment during the Friday meeting.

WDFW fish managers will also provide an update on the progress of the Willapa Bay Salmon Management Policy comprehensive review. That policy, approved by the commission in 2015, prioritizes recreational chinook fisheries in Willapa Bay while focusing commercial fishery opportunities on coho and chum salmon. 

To meet conservation objectives, WDFW requires the release of any wild chinook salmon in these fisheries and manages fishing seasons to hold mortality rates for those fish within a prescribed limit. WDFW staff will seek guidance from the commission on priorities for the 2019-20 season.

Also at the meeting, state fishery managers will provide an overview of last year’s salmon fisheries in Grays Harbor, including an assessment of harvest levels and conformance with conservation objectives.

After staff presentations, the commission will take public input on both the Willapa Bay and Grays Harbor policies.

In other business, commissioners will consider three transactions, including the acquisition of 1,100 acres to protect waterfowl habitat in Grays Harbor County, an 80-acre conservation easement to protect Mazama pocket gopher habitat in Thurston County, and an easement to Ferry County for wellhead protection.

Additionally, the commission is scheduled to take action on proposed wildlife-rehabilitation rules and will hear a briefing on the Lower Columbia River sturgeon population and proposed 2019 fisheries.

 

 


 

What is the Best Spinning Reel for the Money?

Spinning reels are a useful device that every avid fisher should have in their arsenal. These are so popular among anglers of all skill levels since they are really lightweight, intuitive, and easy to use. However, not all spinning reels have created an equivalent. Since this type of reel is such a crucial part of the fishing procedure, it is imperative to find a superb spinning reel on the stock market. Here are some suggestions and tricks to assist you to locate leading one for your requirements.

Material and Construction

The building of spinning reel is essential to your fishing success. It’s important to pick a reel that is durably created so you’ll be able to get years of use from it. To test the construction of the reel, consider how the parts are constructed. Everything must feel strong, without defective pieces, and the products need to think heavy duty. When the reel is in movement, the action must believe smooth and comfortable.

It’s likewise useful to think about the material your reel is made of. Generally, spinning reels are made from either graphite or aluminum. There are have benefits and drawbacks to both materials. Aluminum reels are powerful, but they could additionally be very heavy, which can be a challenge for some fishers. But, their construction tends to be more robust. Graphite reels are lighter and less complicated to handle, which make them an excellent choice for beginner fishers. They’re also necessary for anyone which fishes in saltwater because graphite does not corrode in the same way additional materials do.

Quickness and Equipment Ratio

The velocity at which your wheel revolves may influence the level of control you invite the reel. To establish what rate you need for your best spinning reels 2018, you’ll have to look at the gear ratio of your reel. The equipment ratio shows the number of times the reel turns with the turning of the handle. A higher equipment rotation means the gear will revolve much faster. For new fishers, a sluggish to mid-range equipment rotation is going to be the best reliable for control. And also as I avoided to earlier, you need to quickly manage to locate a functional spinning reel for under $50. Just ensure you stay away from unidentified produces and insanely inexpensive price tags.

Size

Because spinning reels can be quite substantial, the total volume is significant to think about. The weight will also be directly correlated with the weight of the line you plan to make use of. For bigger fish, you will need to use a more substantial line. If you are utilizing a much heavier line, it is necessary that best spinning reel under $100 can deal with the added weight. Nonetheless, it’s also crucial to consider how the reel manages generally. If you do not have much top body strength, it’s best initially a light reel and works your way up to heavier angling.

Spindle Quality

Another element is important to consider the overall quality of the spool on the spinning reel. The method the spindle is built will influence the designs and overall handling while you’re casting. There are 2 types of spools – inner and skirted. Skirted spindles are generally the recommended design of reel in modern-day fishing since they help prevent tangling of the line. For those who choose a longer casting distance, it might likewise be helpful to seek a lengthy actor’s spindle that will get to a lot further. The cast and feel of the spool is something that’s important to test prior to buying something. At the end of the day, the location of the drag is really around whatever you like the best spinning reels 2018. Whichever position is a lot more comfy to you is the one you need to go with. As I said, I love having my drag modification get on the spool of my spinning reels, so the kind I buy.

Rates

Fishing products can be costly, so it’s essential to get a reel that will give you the best worth for money. You might have to spend even more to obtain the quality you need, but it is necessary to earn sure the cost straight corresponds to the worth of the reel. A great reel is an investment piece, so do not wait to take your time searching to find the greatest spinning reel on the market.

There are many aspects to think about when searching for a spinning reel. The total construction, as well as handling of the product, is necessary to the means the reel handles. When unsure, aim to most likely to a local angling shop and test the reels in person with the help of a professional. This will assist you to discover the reel that is the best fit for you.

An Excellent Spinning Reel Can Make All the Variation

If you are an inexperienced angler, you may not understand the significance of excellent fishing reel. I’m referring to spinning reels more than any other type of angling reel, just because spinning reels are what I utilize for 95% of my fishing. A great reel really can make all the distinction worldwide.

The exciting thing is that when it pertains to angling reels, words excellent doesn’t have to imply expensively. In fact, you should be able to discover a very functional spinning frame for under $50. There are a few points that need to be remembered when trying to find a spinning reel, which is what I’m planning to discuss in this post.

The drag may either be located on the spool of the spinning reel or at the heel of the reel, in the form of a dial. The dial type drags situated at the heel of the spinning reel is very practical, yet usually, experience, even more, changes troubles than having the drag situated at the spindle in my experience.

The various primary considerations when it pertains to buy best spinning reel under $100, the variety of ball bearings that the reel has. For example, in the description of most spinning reels, it will tell you how many round bearings it has. The standard rule is the extra ball bearings the far better. This might sound odd, but it’s true. You see, the more ball bearings, the much less play the reel will certainly have.

 

 

 


 

Sockeye Salmon season to open on the Columbia River


Starting anglers can catch and keep sockeye salmon on the Columbia River, but will be required to release any chinook salmon they intercept downriver from Bonneville Dam.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed to modify fishing rules in joint waters of the Columbia, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) followed up by extending the sockeye fishery upstream to Chief Joseph Dam.

Before the season got underway, both states agreed to forgo scheduling any sockeye fisheries on the Columbia River due to low projected returns, especially those to the Wenatchee River.

However, an updated run forecast now projects that 209,000 sockeye will return this year – up from the 99,000 previously estimated – providing a sufficient number of fish for recreational fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia, said Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant.

“It’s always exciting to see salmon come in above the pre-season forecast,” Tweit said. “Sockeye can be elusive in the lower river, but anglers generally do well fishing for them from the Tri-Cities to Brewster.”

Snake River fisheries remain closed to protect Snake River sockeye listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

While the preseason forecast for summer chinook has not yet been updated, Tweit said current data indicate that chinook returns are tracking about 20 percent below the initial projection of 67,300 adult fish. That prompted fishery managers to close the lower Columbia River summer chinook season four days earlier than previously scheduled.

“Based on the low catches to date above Bonneville, we decided to close the chinook fishery in the lower river but leave it open upriver from the dam,” Tweit said.

Starting July 1st, anglers fishing from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River can still catch a total of six salmon/steelhead a day. The daily limit for adult fish in those waters is two adult sockeye salmon or hatchery adult steelhead, or one of each. Anglers can round out their daily six-fish limit with hatchery jack chinook salmon.

For more information and details on daily limits in each section of the river, see the Fishing Rule Change at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/


 

States set 2018 summer and fall salmon seasons on the Columbia

Columbia River Fishing Adventures with Buddy Dupell


 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Oregon and Washington fishery managers have announced the 2018 summer and fall fisheries for the Columbia River.

This year, anglers will see changes to daily bag limits and fewer fishing days for Chinook salmon due to lower harvest guidelines resulting from below-average salmon and steelhead forecasts.

For the summer season, adult Chinook retention will be limited to June 22 through July 4 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam. From Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, the summer Chinook season is scheduled for June 16 through July 31. The daily adult bag limit for both areas is two hatchery salmonids, which may include up to two Chinook when retention is allowed. Due to the projected low escapement, sockeye retention will be prohibited this year.

The fall seasons will start Aug. 1 based on a projected return of 375,500 fall Chinook, down from 476,100 last year. This year’s forecast includes 205,100 upriver bright Chinook, compared to a return of 296,500 in 2017. Based on this lower forecast, fisheries will be managed for a harvest rate of 8.25 percent, down from 15 percent in the recent years, resulting in shorter fall Chinook retention seasons.

“Through the recent season-setting process, we worked with the public to design fall fisheries within the upriver bright Chinook constraints,” said John North, fisheries manager for ODFW’s Columbia River Program. “Hopefully a run upgrade in mid-September will allow us to liberalize some fisheries and provide additional opportunity.”

Though improved from last year’s return, predicted steelhead returns remain below average. To reduce harvest, anglers will be limited to one steelhead per day from Aug. 1 to the end of the year.

For more information about upcoming Columbia River seasons, including regulation updates, visit ODFW’s online fishing reports at www.myodfw.com.

The following are detailed regulations for the 2018 Columbia River summer and fall salmon and steelhead seasons:

Summary of 2018
Summer/Fall Salmon and Steelhead Regulations
for the mainstem Columbia River

All regulations may be subject to in-season modification

Summer Season (June 16-July 31)

  • Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam
    • Retention of adult hatchery Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed June 22 – July 4 (13 days).
    • Retention of hatchery Chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead allowed June 16 – July 31. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids. Sockeye retention prohibited.
    • All other permanent rules apply.
  • Bonneville Dam upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam)
    • Retention of adult hatchery Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed June 16 – July 31.
    • Retention of hatchery Chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead allowed June 16 – July 31. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids. Sockeye retention prohibited.
    • All other permanent rules apply.

Fall Seasons (Aug. 1-Dec. 31)

  • Buoy 10
    • Area definition: From the Buoy 10 line upstream to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to red marker #2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon shore.
    • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (16-inches or longer) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Daily bag limits by time period are described below. All other permanent rules apply.
    • Aug. 1 – Aug. 24: Retention of adult Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed. The daily bag limit is one adult salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, or hatchery steelhead only).
    • Aug. 25 – Sept. 30: Retention of Chinook prohibited. The daily bag limit is two adult hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.
    • Oct. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of Chinook prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained.
  • Lower Columbia: Tongue Point/Rocky Point upstream to Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island
    • Area definition: From a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to the red marker #2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon shore upstream to a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island.
    • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (longer than 20-inches), and hatchery steelhead allowed. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained. Daily adult bag limits by time period are described below. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.
    • Aug. 1 – Sept. 2: Retention of adult (24-inches or longer) and jack Chinook allowed. The daily adult bag limit is one salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead only).
    • Sept. 3 – Dec. 31Retention of Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.
  • Lower Columbia: Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam
    • Area definition: From a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam.
    • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (longer than 20-inches) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained. Daily adult bag limits by time period are described below. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.
    • Aug. 1 – Sept. 14: Retention of adult (24-inches or longer) and jack Chinook allowed. The daily adult bag limit is one salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead only).
    • Sept. 15 – Dec. 31Retention of Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.
  • Bonneville Dam upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam)
      • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult coho (longer than 20-inches) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Coho jacks may be retained. All coho (adults and jacks) retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be hatchery fish. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.
      • Effective Aug. 1, retention of adult Chinook (24-inches or longer) and Chinook jacks allowed but will be managed in-season based on actual catches and the upriver bright fall Chinook run-size.The daily adult bag limit is two salmonids, and may include up to one Chinook and up to one hatchery steelhead.

 


 

States set initial fishing seasons for Columbia River spring chinook


 

PORTLAND – Salmon managers from Washington and Oregon have approved sportfishing seasons for spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River, setting the stage for the first major salmon fishery of the year.

Anglers are already catching a few spring chinook in the lower Columbia below the Interstate 5 bridge, but the bulk of the run usually doesn’t arrive until March when the new rules take effect.

According to the preseason forecast, approximately 248,500 spring chinook salmon will return to the Columbia River this year – an increase of 20 percent from 2017. That number includes 166,700 upriver fish bound for waters above Bonneville Dam and 81,820 fish expected to return to rivers below the dam.

Bill Tweit, a special assistant for Columbia River fisheries at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), noted that the upriver forecast is up 44 percent from last year, but still 10 percent below the 10-year average.

“This year’s fishery appears to be shaping up as a fairly normal season,” Tweit said. “Even so, we always have to take a conservative approach in setting fishing seasons until we can determine how many fish are actually moving past Bonneville Dam.”

Based on the preseason projections, the two states approved initial fishing seasons for waters both below and above the dam:

Below Bonneville Dam: Catch guidelines approved today allocate 6,680 upriver fish for a 38-day fishing season below Bonneville Dam from March 1 through April 7. The fishery will be open to both boat and bank anglers from Buoy 10 to Beacon Rock, and to bank anglers only upriver to the dam.

Above the dam: Spring chinook fishing will also be open March 16 through May 7 from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla. The season will run for 53 days with an initial catch guideline of 900 upriver chinook. Bank fishing will also be allowed from the dam upriver to the power lines.
In both areas, the daily catch limit will be one adult hatchery chinook salmon, as part of a two-fish daily limit that can also include hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead. Anglers fishing the Columbia River will be required to use barbless hooks, and must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.

Tweit said this year’s initial catch guidelines include a 30 percent “buffer” in the preseason forecast to guard against overharvesting the run. If actual returns meet or exceed expectations, fish held in reserve will become available for harvest later in the season, he said.

Fishery managers will likely meet in May – when half the run has historically passed Bonneville Dam – to determine if this year’s fishing season can be extended.

To participate in this fishery, anglers age 15 and older must possess a valid fishing license. In addition, anglers fishing upriver from Rocky Point must purchase a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River spring chinook fisheries.

Additional information about fishing rules in effect during the upcoming spring chinook season is posted on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

 

 


 

States set sturgeon season closures in Bonneville, John Day pools


 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Recreational sturgeon seasons in Bonneville and John Day pools will close in February under rules announced today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington.

The states decided to close recreational white sturgeon retention effective Sunday, Feb. 4 in Bonneville Pool and effective Monday, Feb. 12 in John Day Pool.

Columbia River recreational sturgeon retention seasons between Bonneville and McNary dams open at the beginning of the year and operate under area-specific harvest guidelines. The closure in John Day Pool is based on harvest data that indicates recreational sturgeon fishermen have kept 64 legal fish through Jan. 28, and are on track to approach their harvest guideline of 105 fish by the closure date. The closure of Bonneville Pool is intended to reserve a portion of the annual 325 fish area-specific harvest guideline for a short summer sturgeon retention season in June or July. Sturgeon retention in The Dalles Pool closed Jan. 20.

Following the sturgeon retention closure in The Dalles Pool, the annual harvest guideline for that pool was modified from 100 to 135 fish based on the 2017 population assessment. The revised guideline should provide some additional retention opportunity for 2018. Staff is considering options which could include providing a summer retention season, similar to the Bonneville Pool fishery.

Under permanent fishing regulations, sturgeon retention is currently closed below Bonneville Dam and below Willamette Falls. However, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing remains open in all of these waters. At the February 9th 2018, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting, staff will provide a lower Columbia River white sturgeon status update; guidance from the Commission regarding 2018 retention fisheries is anticipated.

No recreational smelt fishing on the Sandy

In other business, ODFW announced that it is not recommending a recreational smelt fishery in the Sandy River at this time. Smelt have been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 2010, and though some limited fisheries have occurred since then, abundance indicators are generally unfavorable for 2018. Staff will determine if a fishery is warranted after additional freshwater abundance indicators become available, including catch data from the research-level commercial fishery. Minor tribal fisheries for smelt may occur in the Sandy River for ceremonial and subsistence use.

For more information, see the Columbia River Zone Regulation Updates at myodfw.com.

The next scheduled Columbia River Compact/Joint State Hearing will take place at 10 a.m. Feb. 21 at the Portland Airport Shilo Inn, 11707 NE Airport Way, Portland, OR 97220. The primary purpose of this hearing is to set recreational spring salmon and steelhead seasons.