States to adopt early fall gillnet season

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CATHLAMET -- The Columbia River Compact will meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, July 26 at the River Street Room, 25 River St., to adopt August commercial fishing periods for fall chinook salmon.

A run of 654,900 fall chinook is forecast to enter the Columbia River this year. That compares to 620,600 in 2011.

Bright stocks -- the chinook more desirable in sport and commercial fisheries -- are 71 percent of the forecast.

Six major stocks of fall chinook return to the Columbia. The forecasts for waters downstream of Bonneville Dam are 128,400 chinook for lower Columbia hatcheries and 16,200 lower river wild fish. Both are good forecasts.

The lower river wild chinook return primarily to the North Fork of the Lewis River with lesser numbers in the Sandy, Cowlitz and other tributaries.

The forecast for "upriver brights,'' the naturally spawning chinook from the Hanford Reach of central Washington, is a strong 353,000. Mid-Columbia brights, which orginate from hatcheries in the Columbia Gorge, are forecast to be 90,700, also a good forecast.

The forecast for select-area brights is 6,600. These fish orginate from net pen programs near the mouth of the Columbia River, such as in Oregon's Youngs Bay at Astoria.

The forecast for Bonneville pool hatchery fall chinook is 60,000. This is a below-average number and represents reductions in hatchery programs.