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May 28, 2003
Contact: Cindy LeFleur, (360) 906-6708
Columbia River hatchery summer chinook fishing to open June 16, 2003
OLYMPIA - For only the second time in 30 years, anglers will soon be able to go fishing for adult hatchery summer-run chinook salmon in the Columbia River.
The season, approved today by Washington and Oregon fishery managers, begins June 16 and is scheduled to run through July 31 unless the harvest guideline is met before then.
Fishing will be open seven days a week from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the Highway 395 bridge at Pasco. The daily limit will be six salmon with a minimum size of 12 inches, no more than two of which may be adult fish. Retained chinook must have a missing adipose fin and a healed scar in its place to indicate hatchery origin. All wild chinook as well as all sockeye, chum and wild coho must be released unharmed.
"This is only the second time since 1973 that we've had summer chinook fishing in the Columbia," said Tim Flint, salmon manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
A similar fishery was held last year, but opened later in June.
This year's forecast predicts a return of 87,600 for summer chinook to the mouth of the Columbia River, the second largest run since 1969.
"The escapement goal at Bonneville Dam is 85,000 fish, which leaves 2,600 fish available for the sport fishery," Flint said.
The summer chinook run originates in the upper Columbia River and the Snake River, and is composed of both hatchery and wild sotcks. The wild Snake River component is protected under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"As part of the effort to rebuild the Snake River wild chinook population, it is essential that anglers in this fishery carefully release every chinook with an intact adipose fin," Flint said.