Gillnetters get additional time in lower Columbia River

By Allen Thomas, Columbian outdoors reporter

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Washington and Oregon today adopted three days of coho gillnetting in the Columbia River downstream of Woodland and four nights of commercial chinook fishing between Woodland and Beacon Rock.

The Columbia River Compact approved commercial fishing targeting on coho from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Friday and Monday downstream of Warrior Rock on Sauvie Island.

The net fleet can keep chinook, coho and pink salmon, plus shad. No sturgeon or chum salmon may be possessed. The nets must have a 6-inch-maximum mesh.

Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said the projected catch is 5,000 coho and 1,500 chinook.

Netters between Warrior Rock and Beacon Rock will fish from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through Oct. 25. Eight-inch minimum mesh nets are required.

Ehlke said the projected catch is 1,600 chinook and 300 coho upstream of Warrior Rock.

Les Clark, a commercial fisherman from Chinook, Wash., told the compact that although it's late in chinook run the quality of the salmon remains high.

Tangle net results — An experimental tangle-net commercial fishery for hatchery-origin coho in the lower Columbia ended Tuesday with less participation than anticipated.

The commercials were allowed eight 12-hour periods between Oct. 2 and Tuesday to fish with 3.75-inch maximum mesh nets. The small mesh is intended to tangle in the teeth or jaw of a coho. That allows hatchery fish to be retained, but wild coho to be released without damaging the fragile gills.

Ehlke said daily deliveries ranged from 15 to 27 during the eight days. The average number of coho per delivery ranged from 20 to 40.

John North of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said about 50 commercial fishermen were expected to participate in the tangle-net test.