OLYMPIA-Spring chinook salmon sport fishing will close May 1 in the lower Columbia River from the Interstate 5 bridge downstream to the river mouth, so that guidelines for impacts to protected upriver fish will not be exceeded.
The closure, which takes effect at 12:01 a.m., was agreed upon in a meeting today between Washington and Oregon fishery managers. The action means the entire mainstem river downstream from Bonneville Dam is closed to all fishing for spring chinook, steelhead and shad. The river from the I-5 bridge to Bonneville Dam was closed in an earlier action April 21.
Fisheries above Bonneville Dam are not affected by the action, however fish managers are expected to close fishing on the river from Bonneville to McNary Dam effective May 6. A formal decision on that closure will be made in a Columbia River Compact hearing May 4.
The Columbia River spring chinook fishery is managed to allow the harvest of hatchery fish, while protecting salmon runs listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. The sport fishery in the Columbia River is limited to a 1.2 percent impact on upriver spring chinook, which are listed for ESA protection as a threatened species. So-called "impacts" refer to unintended mortality resulting from handling and releasing wild fish.
To date since spring chinook fishing opened in February, anglers fishing in the lower Columbia River made 154,000 fishing trips, catching 31,000 salmon, and keeping approximately 24,000 hatchery fish.