VANCOUVER, Wash. – Anglers may catch and retain adult chinook salmon on the Elochoman and Toutle rivers starting on Labor Day, when a portion of the lower Columbia River will also open to chinook fishing.
On the Elochoman River, anglers may retain up to two adult chinook as part of their daily salmon catch limit, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) announced today. On the Toutle River System, which includes the North Fork Toutle and the Green River in Cowlitz County, they may retain one chinook per day.
Including hatchery coho, the daily catch limit will remain six fish per day, of which four may be adults. Anglers may retain any adult chinook, but must release any chinook jacks not marked as a hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.
Pat Frazier, regional WDFW fisheries manager, said the decision to open fisheries for adult chinook salmon on the Elochoman and Toutle rivers was based on plans to revise hatchery operations throughout the lower Columbia River Basin.
Those plans, recently discussed in a series of public meetings throughout the region, call for redistributing production of salmon and steelhead between some hatcheries to support the recovery of depleted populations of naturally spawning fish.
“We don’t need as many hatchery broodstock back to the hatcheries on the Elochoman and Toutle rivers, because we’re not planning to produce as many of those fish there,” Frazier said. “That being the case, we want to give anglers a chance to catch them.”
Despite the changes planned in hatchery operations, WDFW will maintain 95 percent of the current lower Columbia River fall chinook production, as well as 95 percent of hatchery steelhead releases in the lower Columbia River, Frazier said.
Fishing areas opening Sept. 1 to retention of adult chinook salmon include:
- Elochoman River from the mouth to the West Fork.
- Mainstem Toutle River from the mouth to the confluence of the North and Southfork Toutle.
- North Fork Toutle River from the mouth to the deadline below the Fish Collection Facility.
- Green River (Cowlitz County) from the mouth to the 2800 Bridge.
All of those areas will open to chinook retention Labor Day, the same day chinook fishing opens on the mainstem Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point Line upriver to Bonneville Dam.
From Sept. 1-16, anglers fishing that area may retain two adult salmon – only one of which may be a chinook – as part of their six-salmon daily limit. An exception is the eight-mile fall chinook sanctuary area near the mouth of the Lewis River, where all chinook salmon must be released. That area is defined on page 79 of the Fishing in Washington rules pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations).