Final three nights of gillnetting adopted

By Al Thomas, Columbian Outdoors Reporter



The three final nights of gillnetting in the lower Columbia River for the year were adopted Monday by Washington and Oregon officials.

The net fleet will fish from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday from Beacon Rock to the ocean.

Eight-inch-minimum mesh nets will be required and sturgeon can not be retained.

Biologist Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife estimated the catch will be about 550 fall chinook and 600 coho in the three nights. The commercials have 870 coho left on their allocation.

Ehlke said the updated prediction for the coho run is 156,000, well below the initial forecast of 240,800 for the Columbia River.

Both the forecast and the actual return are poor. A good year for coho is 600,000 to 800,000.

Early coho were forecast to number 184,600, but appears to be about 110,000, she said. The late stock of coho was forecast at 56,200 and now appears about 46,000.

Low river levels, warm temperatures and a lack of rain until recently have delayed coho migration, she said.

Since mid-September, the gillnetters have landed 37,140 chinook, 2,830 coho and 1,346 sturgeon, Ehlke said.

Sportsmen caught 20,000 chinook at Buoy 10, 25,000 in the Columbia River between Buoy 10 and Bonneville Dam and 5,300 between Bonneville and McNary dams.

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