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Category: Columbia River Fishing Reports

Another brief opening planned for Columbia River spring chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam

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Photo of Columbia River Fishing Guide Daniel St. Laurent


 

OLYMPIA – A section of the lower Columbia River will again reopen for two days of recreational spring chinook salmon fishing beginning Saturday, April 20, state fishery managers announced today.
 

The initial spring chinook fishing period from Bonneville Dam downriver to Warrior Rock closed at midnight Wednesday, April 10, then reopened for two days on April 13 and 14 based on catch and run estimates at that time.
 

This weekend’s opening comes after fishery managers from Washington and Oregon evaluated additional information collected from the recreational fishery, said Bill Tweit, special assistant with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Staff will continue to closely monitor the run as it progresses.
 

“With updated catch estimates still well below the expected harvest numbers, we feel comfortable reopening this section of river for another round of weekend fishing,” Tweit said. “Water levels are still high but are starting to stabilize, which may provide improved fishing opportunity.”
 

The fishery will reopen for spring chinook on April 20 and 21 on the Columbia River upstream from the Warrior Rock boundary line to Bonneville Dam. The lower river downstream from Warrior Rock remains closed to fishing for salmon, steelhead, and shad.
 

Anglers may retain one adult chinook and one adult steelhead, or two adult steelhead, per day. Only hatchery fish may be retained.
 

Waters above Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington state line above McNary Dam remain open to salmon fishing through May 5.
 

Anglers are reminded that the use of barbless hooks is required when fishing for salmon and steelhead in these areas.

 

 


 

Short reopening scheduled for Columbia River spring chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam

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Photo courtesy of Columbia River Fishing Adventures


 

OLYMPIA – A section of the lower Columbia River will reopen for recreational spring chinook fishing for two days beginning Saturday, April 13th, state fishery managers announced.
 
The initial spring chinook fishing period from Bonneville Dam downriver to Warrior Rock ended at midnight Wednesday, April 10. But with less than half of the expected harvest of 3,689 upriver spring chinook salmon reeled in so far, additional opportunity remains available to anglers, and fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to reopen the area to fishing for one more weekend from April 13th-14th.
 
“Given the low forecast, we’re closely monitoring this run,” said Bill Tweit, special assistant for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. “We’re going to meet our conservation objectives and work within our means to provide harvest opportunities.”
 
Tweit noted that cold spring temperatures and recent heavy rains may have also contributed to slow fishing in recent weeks.
 
The fishery will reopen for spring chinook over the weekend on the Columbia River upstream from the Warrior Rock boundary line to Bonneville Dam. The lower river downstream from Warrior Rock remains closed to fishing for salmon, steelhead, and shad.
 
Anglers may retain two adult salmon, two steelhead, or one of each per day, but only one salmon may be a chinook. Only hatchery fish may be retained.
 
Waters above Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington state line above McNary Dam remain open to salmon fishing through May 5th.
 
Anglers are reminded that the use of barbless hooks is required when fishing for salmon and steelhead in these areas.

 

 


 

Washington, Oregon fish and wildlife commissioners will meet to discuss Columbia River salmon reform

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OLYMPIA – The public is invited to attend a meeting scheduled this month by members of the Washington and Oregon fish and wildlife commissions to discuss next steps in reforming salmon management on the Columbia River.

The meeting is set for Jan. 17 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission Room, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr. S.E. in Salem, Ore. The public is welcome to observe the discussion, but will not have an opportunity to comment during the meeting.

The Joint-State Columbia River Salmon Fishery Policy Review Committee, which includes three members of each state’s commission, was formed to renew efforts to achieve management goals for Columbia River fisheries endorsed by both states in 2013.

The three delegates to the workgroup from the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission are commissioners David Graybill from Chelan County, Bob Kehoe from King County, and Don McIsaac from Clark County. The commission is a citizen panel appointed by the governor to set policy for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

WDFW recently finalized its five-year performance review of the 2013 fishery reform policy, which called for reforms ranging from requirements that anglers use barbless hooks to a phase-out of commercial gillnets in the main channel of the Columbia River. While the performance review noted progress on some issues, expectations have not been met in a variety of other key areas, said Ryan Lothrop, WDFW Columbia River policy coordinator.

“This new effort is designed to find common ground on strategies for improving fishery management in the Columbia River,” Lothrop said. “Having different policies in joint waters of the Columbia River makes it very difficult to manage and implement fisheries.”

Washington’s Comprehensive Evaluation of the Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy is available on WDFW’s website at https://wdfw.wa.gov/publications/02029/.

Lothrop, who will staff Washington’s commissioners, said the workgroup’s first task will be to establish a schedule for future meetings. The panel will then discuss issues addressed in the policy review, focusing initially on strategies that could to be incorporated into fishing regulations for the 2019 season.

To take effect, any new proposals endorsed by the workgroup would require approval by the full fish and wildlife commissions in each state, Lothrop said.

“The group doesn’t have a lot of time to discuss changes for 2019,” Lothrop said. “The season-setting process for this year’s salmon fisheries gets underway in mid-March, so that’s the focus for the near term.”

 

 


 

The Dalles Pool sturgeon season set to close on January 7th

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Columbia River Sturgeon Fishing with Buddy Dupell of Columbia River Fishing Adventures


 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The recreational sturgeon season in The Dalles Pool (The Dalles Dam upstream to John Day Dam) will close effective 12:01 a.m. Monday, Jan. 7, under rules, announced today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington.
 
The states decided to close the sturgeon sports fishery based on catch projections which indicate the 135 fish guideline may be achieved by Friday evening. Catch rates have been high since the season opened Jan. 1, with an estimated 69 fish kept through Jan. 3.
 
Sturgeon fishing remains open in the Bonneville and John Day pools, where the guidelines are 325 and 105 fish, respectively.
 
Retention sturgeon fishing is closed below Bonneville Dam and below Willamette Falls under permanent sport fishing regulations.
 
Except for specific sanctuaries, catch-and-release sturgeon fishing remains open in all of these waters, even when retention seasons are closed.

 


 

Salmon limits revised on Columbia River, tributaries between Priest Rapids Dam and Chief Joseph Dam 

 

WDFW FISHING RULE CHANGE<?u>

 

Action:

  • Release all adult chinook salmon
  • Increase daily sockeye limit to 3 fish

Species affected:Adult chinook salmon and sockeye.

Locations and effective dates:

  • Priest Rapids Dam to Rock Island Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Rock Island Dam to Wells Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through August 31. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Hwy 173 Bridge at Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam: July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon, no more than 3 sockeye may be retained. Release all adult chinook and coho. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Wenatchee River (mouth to Icicle Road bridge)August 1 through September 30. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Chelan River (from railroad bridge upstream to Chelan P.U.D. safety barrier below the powerhouse): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 31: Daily limit 4 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Okanogan River (from mouth upstream to Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through October 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Okanogan River (from Hwy. 97 Bridge immediately upstream of mouth to the second Hwy. 97 Bridge in Oroville): July 16 at 12:01 a.m. through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.
  • Similkameen River (from mouth upstream to 400 feet below Enloe Dam): July 16 through September 15. Daily limit 6 salmon. Release all adult chinook, coho, and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Reason for action: The summer chinook run was downsized to a total of 44,000, which is 35% below the preseason forecast. This reduction in the chinook run decreased the allowable catch in recreational fisheries above Priest Rapids Dam. Anglers are expected to catch their allocation by July 15, 2018.

Additional information:

The decline in this year’s projected summer chinook run size also prompted the closure of summer chinook fisheries below Priest Rapids Dam earlier this month. The following sportfishing seasons are in effect for salmon and steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River:

Megler-Astoria Bridge to Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco: Salmon and steelhead, July 7-July 31: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon or hatchery steelhead or 1 of each may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam: Salmon, July 7-August 15: Daily limit 6, up to 2 adult salmon may be retained. Release all salmon other than hatchery jack chinook and sockeye. Salmon minimum size 12 inches.

The Entiat River salmon season will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. The fall chinook seasons between Priest Rapids Dam and Rock Island Dam will remain unchanged and as described in the 2018-2019 Sport Fishing Rules Pamphlet. Anglers are reminded that the Colville Confederated Tribe will be out capturing chinook for hatchery broodstock with their purse seiner.

Information contact: Region 2-Ephrata (509) 754-4624 or Wenatchee (509) 662-0452

Sockeye Salmon fishery to open on the Columbia River

 


 

Starting July 1st, anglers can catch and keep sockeye salmon on the Columbia River, but will be required to release any chinook salmon they intercept downriver from Bonneville Dam.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed to modify fishing rules in joint waters of the Columbia, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) followed up by extending the sockeye fishery upstream to Chief Joseph Dam.

Before the season got underway, both states agreed to forgo scheduling any sockeye fisheries on the Columbia River due to low projected returns, especially those to the Wenatchee River.

However, an updated run forecast now projects that 209,000 sockeye will return this year – up from the 99,000 previously estimated – providing a sufficient number of fish for recreational fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia, said Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant.

“It’s always exciting to see salmon come in above the pre-season forecast,” Tweit said. “Sockeye can be elusive in the lower river, but anglers generally do well fishing for them from the Tri-Cities to Brewster.”

Snake River fisheries remain closed to protect Snake River sockeye listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

While the preseason forecast for summer chinook has not yet been updated, Tweit said current data indicate that chinook returns are tracking about 20 percent below the initial projection of 67,300 adult fish. That prompted fishery managers to close the lower Columbia River summer chinook season four days earlier than previously scheduled.

“Based on the low catches to date above Bonneville, we decided to close the chinook fishery in the lower river but leave it open upriver from the dam,” Tweit said.

Starting July 1, anglers fishing from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River can still catch a total of six salmon/steelhead a day. The daily limit for adult fish in those waters is two adult sockeye salmon or hatchery adult steelhead, or one of each. Anglers can round out their daily six-fish limit with hatchery jack chinook salmon.

For more information and details on daily limits in each section of the river, see the Fishing Rule Change at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

 

 


 

Anglers can keep hatchery sturgeon starting April 29th in the upper Columbia River

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OLYMPIA – Beginning April 29, recreational anglers will again have an opportunity to harvest hatchery sturgeon from Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs, state fishery managers announced today.

This is the third opening of the fishery in the upper Columbia River, said Chad Jackson, regional fish manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“Not only does this fishery provide a great opportunity for anglers but it’s also helping our efforts to recover white sturgeon populations by reducing their interactions with these hatchery fish,” Jackson said.

Several thousand juvenile sturgeon were released into the upper Columbia River in the early 2000s. Those fish have grown to harvestable size, prompting WDFW to open a fishery in Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs.

WDFW is implementing a size restriction for this fishery that is designed to target hatchery-origin sturgeon, while protecting larger wild fish, Jackson said.

Between April 29 and Sept. 1, anglers will be allowed to retain two hatchery sturgeon daily that are between 38 and 72 inches (fork-length) in Wanapum and Priest Rapids reservoirs. Sturgeon caught in these reservoirs will not count toward an angler’s annual limit for sturgeon. Anglers will not be required to record sturgeon harvested from the two reservoirs on their catch record cards. 

Anglers may fish for sturgeon with two poles with the purchase of a two-pole endorsement.

More details about this fishery can be found on WDFW’s webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

 

 

States set Columbia River 2018 summer and fall salmon seasons

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Columbia River Guided Fishing Trips with Dave Mallahan of Dave’s Guide Service


 

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Oregon and Washington fishery managers have announced the 2018 summer and fall fisheries for the Columbia River.
 
This year, anglers will see changes to daily bag limits and fewer fishing days for Chinook salmon due to lower harvest guidelines resulting from below-average salmon and steelhead forecasts.
 
For the summer season, adult Chinook retention will be limited to June 22 through July 4 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam. From Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, the summer Chinook season is scheduled for June 16 through July 31. The daily adult bag limit for both areas is two hatchery salmonids, which may include up to two Chinook when retention is allowed. Due to the projected low escapement, sockeye retention will be prohibited this year.
 
The fall seasons will start Aug. 1 based on a projected return of 375,500 fall Chinook, down from 476,100 last year. This year’s forecast includes 205,100 upriver bright Chinook, compared to a return of 296,500 in 2017. Based on this lower forecast, fisheries will be managed for a harvest rate of 8.25 percent, down from 15 percent in the recent years, resulting in shorter fall Chinook retention seasons.
 
“Through the recent season-setting process, we worked with the public to design fall fisheries within the upriver bright Chinook constraints,” said John North, fisheries manager for ODFW’s Columbia River Program. “Hopefully a run upgrade in mid-September will allow us to liberalize some fisheries and provide additional opportunity.”
 
Though improved from last year’s return, predicted steelhead returns remain below average. To reduce harvest, anglers will be limited to one steelhead per day from Aug. 1 to the end of the year.
 
For more information about upcoming Columbia River seasons, including regulation updates, visit ODFW’s online fishing reports at www.myodfw.com.
 
The following are detailed regulations for the 2018 Columbia River summer and fall salmon and steelhead seasons:

Summary of 2018
Summer/Fall Salmon and Steelhead Regulations
for the mainstem Columbia River

All regulations may be subject to in-season modification

Summer Season (June 16-July 31)

  • Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam
    • Retention of adult hatchery Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed June 22 – July 4 (13 days).
    • Retention of hatchery Chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead allowed June 16 – July 31. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids. Sockeye retention prohibited.
    • All other permanent rules apply.
  • Bonneville Dam upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam)
    • Retention of adult hatchery Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed June 16 – July 31.
    • Retention of hatchery Chinook jacks and hatchery steelhead allowed June 16 – July 31. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids. Sockeye retention prohibited.
    • All other permanent rules apply.

Fall Seasons (Aug. 1-Dec. 31)

  • Buoy 10
    • Area definition: From the Buoy 10 line upstream to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to red marker #2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon shore.
    • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (16-inches or longer) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Daily bag limits by time period are described below. All other permanent rules apply.
    • Aug. 1 – Aug. 24: Retention of adult Chinook (24-inches or longer) allowed. The daily bag limit is one adult salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, or hatchery steelhead only).
    • Aug. 25 – Sept. 30: Retention of Chinook prohibited. The daily bag limit is two adult hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.
    • Oct. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of Chinook prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained.
  • Lower Columbia: Tongue Point/Rocky Point upstream to Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island
    • Area definition: From a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington shore through red buoy #44 to the red marker #2 at Tongue Point on the Oregon shore upstream to a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island.
    • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (longer than 20-inches), and hatchery steelhead allowed. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained. Daily adult bag limits by time period are described below. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.
    • Aug. 1 – Sept. 2: Retention of adult (24-inches or longer) and jack Chinook allowed. The daily adult bag limit is one salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead only).
    • Sept. 3 – Dec. 31Retention of Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.
  • Lower Columbia: Warrior Rock/Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam
    • Area definition: From a line projected from the Warrior Rock Lighthouse on the Oregon shore through red buoy #4 to a marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island upstream to Bonneville Dam.
    • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult hatchery coho (longer than 20-inches) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Hatchery coho jacks may be retained. Daily adult bag limits by time period are described below. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.
    • Aug. 1 – Sept. 14: Retention of adult (24-inches or longer) and jack Chinook allowed. The daily adult bag limit is one salmonid (Chinook, hatchery coho, and hatchery steelhead only).
    • Sept. 15 – Dec. 31Retention of Chinook (adults and jacks) prohibited. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery salmonids (coho and steelhead only) and may include up to one hatchery steelhead.
  • Bonneville Dam upstream to OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam)
      • Aug. 1 – Dec. 31: Retention of adult coho (longer than 20-inches) and hatchery steelhead allowed. Coho jacks may be retained. All coho (adults and jacks) retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be hatchery fish. Each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid bag limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved. All other permanent rules apply.
      • Effective Aug. 1, retention of adult Chinook (24-inches or longer) and Chinook jacks allowed but will be managed in-season based on actual catches and the upriver bright fall Chinook run-size.The daily adult bag limit is two salmonids, and may include up to one Chinook and up to one hatchery steelhead.

 


 

Chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam will reopen this Saturday for one day

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OLYMPIA – Anglers will have an opportunity to fish for spring chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River this Saturday (April 14) for one day only under an agreement reached Wednesday by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Fishing regulations will be the same as those in effect before the initial chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam closed April 7 for a fishery assessment.

Under those rules, anglers can retain one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of a daily limit of two adult fish that can also include hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead. Boat anglers can fish from Buoy 10 up to Beacon Rock, while bank anglers can fish all the way up to Bonneville Dam.

All anglers fishing the Columbia River are required to use barbless hooks, and must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.

Bill Tweit, a fishery manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the one-day fishery this Saturday is designed in part as a “make-up day” for the last Saturday of the initial opener, when stormy weather kept many anglers off the water.

Tweit said fishery managers from both states are taking a cautious approach to extending the fishery given the low number of spring chinook observed passing up the fish ladders to date at Bonneville Dam.

“We’re taking this a step at a time,” Tweit said. “We know more fish are moving into the river, but we need to see signs of higher numbers of fish passing the dam before we consider reopening the fishery again.”

According to the preseason forecast, approximately 166,700 upriver spring chinook salmon are expected to return to the Columbia River this year. Based on that forecast, fishery managers set an initial catch guideline of 7,157 upriver chinook for the sport fishery below the dam, but so far anglers have caught only about half that many fish.

“If the run meets or exceeds expectations, we can give anglers more time to fish below the dam,” Tweit said. “But right now, we need to make sure we can meet conservation requirements and our obligations to fisheries farther upriver.”

Anglers age 15 and older are required to have a valid 2018-19 fishing license to fish in Washington state waters. A Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/crss_endorsement/) is also required to fish for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River or its tributaries.

 

 


 

Columbia River Fishing Report 03-27-2018

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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