States liberalize chinook bag limit five days early

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Washington and Oregon adopted a slight liberalization of sport fishing regulations for the lower Columbia River on Tuesday.

Effective Thursday, anglers downstream of Warrior Rock on Sauvie Island may retain any chinook — hatchery or wild. Only hatchery-origin chinook have been legal downstream of Warrior Rock since last week.

The liberalization was scheduled to happen on Oct. 1, so sportsmen can keep wild fish five days early.

Two additional nights of commercial fishing also were adopted.

The gillnet fleet will fish from the ocean to Beacon Rock on Thursday and Sunday nights.

Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said the netters are projected to catch 4,000 to 6,000 chinook, 1,000 to 1,500 coho and 75 to 100 sturgeon during the two nights.

State officials will meet again at 4 p.m. Thursday to consider a new commercial fishery for coho, using 3.75-inch-mesh nets as tangle nets.

Two weekly fishing periods with 3.75-inch-mesh nets are planned in early October downstream of the mouth of the Lewis River.