Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington added more recreational salmon fishing opportunity on the Columbia River below Bonneville Dam during a joint state hearing Wednesday.
Earlier this week, the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) updated the run size expectation for adult fall Chinook to the mouth of the Columbia River to 680,800 fish, higher than the pre-season forecast of 554,000. Through Sept. 11, a total of 362,047 adult-sized fall Chinook have passed Bonneville Dam.
Seasons and regulations added are:
Friday, Sept. 15 through Thursday, Sept. 21 from Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island line upstream to Bonneville Dam for Chinook and hatchery coho. Bag limit is two salmon, only one may be a Chinook
Friday, Sept. 15 through Sunday, Sept. 17 from West Puget Island line upstream to the Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island line for Chinook and hatchery coho. Bag limit is two salmon, only one may be a Chinook.
All other relevant permanent regulations remain in effect.
The area between west Puget Island and Warrior Rock was originally scheduled to be closed to fishing Sept. 5-30. The highest concentration of tule fall Chinook, including ESA-listed lower Columbia River fall Chinook, is in this stretch of the river as these fish stage near the mouths of their natal tributaries in September. This is the most constraining stock for management of fall salmon fisheries on the Columbia River this year.
Initially, fishery managers are taking a cautious approach with a short three-day reopener that will provide immediate opportunity while limiting the potential risk of exceeding available impacts to lower Columbia River tule fall Chinook. During the hearing, fishery managers discussed adding more opportunity from west Puget Island to Warrior Rock later this fall should impacts allow.
The fishery from Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam is ongoing and while catch rates have been good, effort has been lower than expected. Enough impacts remain to extend the fishery beyond Sept. 21, but managers are again taking a cautious approach to minimize the risk of exceeding available impacts.
The next scheduled Compact hearing is Sept. 20 to discuss Treaty Indian commercial fisheries. If fishery managers determine additional fishing opportunity beyond what was adopted today is available within management guidelines, they will announce a modification to the hearing agenda to add consideration of non-treaty fisheries.