Month: March 2018

Columbia River Fishing Report 03-27-2018

No Comments

WDFW Fishing Rule Change

 

Steelhead daily limit increases on the Columbia River at the lower Hanford Reach, and Ringold bank fishery

 

Area 1: Columbia River from Hwy.395 Bridge at Pasco to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers:

Effective date: Immediately through March 31, 2018

Daily limit: Two (2) hatchery steelhead

 
Area 2: Ringold area bank fishery

Effective date: Immediately through April 15, 2018

Daily limit: Two (2) hatchery steelhead

 
Reason for action: The 2017-18 Hanford Reach steelhead fishery daily limit was reduced to one fish to ensure that the Ringold Springs Hatchery would meet the 2018 broodstock collection objective. That objective was achieved March 26, so the daily limit can be increased to two hatchery steelhead for the remainder of the season.
 
Other Information: The boat (and bank) fishery from the Hwy. 395 Bridge to the wooden powerline towers closes March 31. The “bank only” fishery adjacent to the Ringold Springs Hatchery and described on Page 54 in the 2017-18 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet continues through April 15.
 
WDFW Information contacts: Paul Hoffarth, District 4 Fish Biologist, (509) 545-2284 (Pasco) or John Easterbrooks, Regional Fish Program

 

 

 

 


 

WDFW Commission will hear comments on hunting seasons, Columbia River fisheries at Wenatchee meeting March 15th-17th


 

OLYMPIA – The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission will invite public comments on 2018-2020 hunting season proposals, Columbia River fisheries policy, and other issues during a public meeting March 15-17 in Wenatchee.

The commission, a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), will convene in the Wenatchee and Chelan rooms of the Red Lion Hotel, 1225 N. Wenatchee Ave., in Wenatchee.

The meeting begins at 1 p.m. Thursday, March 15, with Commission workshops that include no public input but are open to the public. Meetings scheduled Friday, March 16, and Saturday, March 16, beginning at 8 a.m., with a review of hunting season proposals on Friday and Columbia River fisheries policy review on Saturday.

An agenda for the meeting is available at http://wdfw.wa.gov/commission/

The hunting season-setting public process began last summer with surveys and meetings to develop proposals. They include:

  • Changes to Yakima and Colockum elk hunting permit allocations.
  • Adding unmanned aircraft (drones) to the list of prohibited hunting equipment.
  • Requiring black bear hunters to complete a bear-species identification test in areas with threatened grizzly bears.
  • Prohibiting night hunting of bobcats in areas with endangered lynx.

The commission will hear final public input at the March meeting, with decisions scheduled for the April meeting.

Last month the commission directed WDFW staff to review the Columbia River policy, adopted in 2013 in collaboration with Oregon to guide management of commercial and recreational salmon fisheries in the lower Columbia River. The policy is designed to promote conservation of salmon and steelhead, prioritize recreational salmon fishing, and shift gillnet fisheries away from the river’s main channel.

The current Washington policy also calls for increasing hatchery releases in the lower Columbia, expanding the use of alternative fishing gear by commercial fishers, and implementing strategies to reduce the number of gillnet permits. The commission will be briefed, take public comment, and possibly make decisions at the March meeting.

The Commission will also hear public comment on proposed amendments to hydraulic project approval (HPA) rules on Saturday.

The Commission is set to make decisions on a proposal to require the use of LED fishing lights in the coastal commercial ocean pink shrimp trawl fishery and a permanent rule to clarify the limits of keeping salmon for personal use during an open commercial fishery.

The commission will also be briefed by WDFW staff on forest management in wildlife areas, 2018 federal Farm Bill reauthorization, and the department’s annual wolf report.

 

 


 

States set initial fishing seasons for Columbia River spring chinook

Photo Courtesy of St. Laurent Guide Service


 

PORTLAND – Salmon managers from Washington and Oregon have approved sportfishing seasons for spring chinook salmon on the Columbia River, setting the stage for the first major salmon fishery of the year.

Anglers are already catching a few spring chinook in the lower Columbia below the Interstate 5 bridge, but the bulk of the run usually doesn’t arrive until March when the new rules take effect.

According to the preseason forecast, approximately 248,500 spring chinook salmon will return to the Columbia River this year – an increase of 20 percent from 2017. That number includes 166,700 upriver fish bound for waters above Bonneville Dam and 81,820 fish expected to return to rivers below the dam.

Bill Tweit, a special assistant for Columbia River fisheries at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), noted that the upriver forecast is up 44 percent from last year, but still 10 percent below the 10-year average.

“This year’s fishery appears to be shaping up as a fairly normal season,” Tweit said. “Even so, we always have to take a conservative approach in setting fishing seasons until we can determine how many fish are actually moving past Bonneville Dam.”

Based on the preseason projections, the two states approved initial fishing seasons for waters both below and above the dam:

  • Below Bonneville Dam: Catch guidelines approved today allocate 6,680 upriver fish for a 38-day fishing season below Bonneville Dam from March 1 through April 7. The fishery will be open to both boat and bank anglers from Buoy 10 to Beacon Rock, and to bank anglers only upriver to the dam.
  • Above the dam: Spring chinook fishing will also be open March 16 through May 7 from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla. The season will run for 53 days with an initial catch guideline of 900 upriver chinook. Bank fishing will also be allowed from the dam upriver to the power lines.

In both areas, the daily catch limit will be one adult hatchery chinook salmon, as part of a two-fish daily limit that can also include hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead. Anglers fishing the Columbia River will be required to use barbless hooks, and must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.

Tweit said this year’s initial catch guidelines include a 30 percent “buffer” in the preseason forecast to guard against overharvesting the run. If actual returns meet or exceed expectations, fish held in reserve will become available for harvest later in the season, he said.

Fishery managers will likely meet in May – when half the run has historically passed Bonneville Dam – to determine if this year’s fishing season can be extended.

To participate in this fishery, anglers age 15 and older must possess a valid fishing license. In addition, anglers fishing upriver from Rocky Point must purchase a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River spring chinook fisheries.

Additional information about fishing rules in effect during the upcoming spring chinook season is posted on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/