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News / Sports / Outdoors

States approve nine nights of Columbia River gillnetting

The Columbian
Published: July 29, 2014, 12:00am

Nine nights of commercial salmon fishing between Woodland and Beacon Rock in the lower Columbia River begin Sunday.

Washington and Oregon today adopted Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday night gill netting periods from Aug. 3 though Aug. 21. The 9-inch-mesh nets are expected to catch 2,200 chinook the first week, 6,600 in the second week and 14,400 during the third week, said Robin Ehlke, a biologist for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Nine-inch-mesh is expected to reduce the handle of steelhead and sublegal sturgeon.

Commercial fishing in August and September is limited to upstream of Warrior Rock Lighthouse at the downstream end of Sauvie Island to minimize the catch of chinook destined for lower Columbia tributaries.

A record run of 1.5 million chinook fall chinook are forecast to enter the Columbia beginning in August. The forecast is 19 percent larger than 2013’s return of 1.26 million fall chinook. A coho run of 638,300 also is forecast, which would be 56 percent better than the 10-year average.

Additional gillnetting later in August and September is anticipated, plus coho netting in October downstream of the Lewis River.