Ten hours of commercial fishing — but with a four spring chinook-per-vessel limit — are scheduled Tuesday in the lower Columbia River.
Washington and Oregon officials adopted the fishery on Monday. Netting with 4.25-inch-maximum mesh nets will be allowed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. from Beacon Rock to the ocean.
The commercial fleet has an early-season allocation of 1,222 upper Columbia-origin spring chinook plus 7,150 Willamette River-origin chinook, said biologist John North of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Last Tuesday, the commercials fished nine hours and landed 1,192 total spring chinook and 890 upper Columbia-origin chinook from 86 deliveries.
That leaves 332 upper Columbia chinook or about 400 total salmon available for the commercials, North said.
He projected a commercial catch of 360 chinook from 90 deliveries on Tuesday.
Washington and Oregon considered delaying the commercial season until April 12, which would be after the final scheduled day of the sport season on Saturday. The commercial fleet was split about evenly on whether to fish Tuesday or April 12.
Les Clark, a commercial fisherman from Chinook, Wash., said four fish are not enough to make fishing worth the effort.
“It’s atrocious that the public’s share of fish has gotten to these numbers,’’ Clark said.
He suggested delaying fishing to allow more salmon to pass Bonneville Dam so the treaty tribes can catch salmon for ceremonial purposes.
Commercial fisherman Terry Ousting of Wahkiakum County complained at Monday’s Columbia River Compact about the monitoring of the sport fishery in the lower Columbia. He said the fish checker in Cathlamet was asleep as sportsmen were leaving the marina with chinook.
Washington and Oregon will meet at 2 p.m. Thursday by teleconference to review the sport fishery in the lower Columbia and decide if any change in the scheduled closure after Saturday is warranted.