State officials are hopeful they can open a second lower Columbia River off-channel commercial fishing location in 2016, this one in Cathlamet Channel of Wahkiakum County.
Establishing additional off-channel commercial fishing areas, where gillnets can be used, is a key component of the Columbia River fishing reforms adopted by the Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commission in 2013.
Oregon has off-channel sites in Youngs Bay, Blind Slough-Knappa Slough and Tongue Point-South Channel, while Washington’s only site is in Deep River, a location which works for coho, but not well for chinook.
Washington discontinued spring chinook releases in Deep River and shifted them to Cathlamet Channel, the portion of the Columbia River between the Washington shore and Puget Island.
Between 750 and 1,500 age 4 spring chinook are anticipated to return to Cathlamet Channel this year and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife would like to open a commercial season, if feasible, said Guy Norman, regional director for the agency.