Gillnetters to fish lower Columbia on Sunday night

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

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Washington and Oregon approved eight hours of gillnetting Sunday night in the lower Columbia River from Beacon Rock to the ocean.

The commercial fleet will fish from 9 p.m. Sunday until 5 a.m. Monday with 8-inch-mesh nets. Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, said the commercials are projected to catch about 2,500 summer chinook salmon and 280 sturgeon.

The non-Indian commercial allocation of summer chinook is 2,585, Roler said.

A run of 73,000 summer chinook are forecast to enter the Columbia River destined for the upper Columbia in central Washington.

The sport allocation downstream of Bonneville Dam is 2,525 summer chinook and 635 between Bonneville Dam and Priest Rapids Dam upstream of the Tri-Cities.

The treaty tribes in the Columbia Gorge get 20,910 summer chinook, the Colville tribe of northeast Washington gets 6,000 and the Wanapum tribe in central Washington is allocated 350. Sportsmen from Priest Rapids to Chief Joseph Dam in central Washington get 4,560 summer chinook, said Roler.

Starting Sunday, sportsmen can keep two adult hatchery chinook or hatchery steelhead or any sockeye, fin-clipped or not. Sockeye count as part of the two-fish daily limit.

Summer salmon sport fishing is scheduled through June 30 downstream of Bonneville Dam and through July 31 between Bonneville and Priest Rapids dams.

Tribal season — Tribal netting in the Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools will be open from 6 a.m. Monday to 6 p.m. June 21 and 6 a.m. June 24 through 6 p.m. June 27.

Native American fishermen are expected to land about 11,200 summer chinook and 3,500 sockeye in the two weeks.

A Columbia River Compact meeting is scheduled at 2 p.m. June 26 to adopt additional tribal fishing periods.