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July 23, 2015
Contact: WDFW Region 5 Office, (360) 696-6211

Coho salmon caught in lower Columbia
must be released under new fishing rule

OLYMPIA – The early arrival of coho salmon in the lower Columbia River has prompted state fishery managers to clarify a fishing regulation issued earlier this month.

A new rule issued today specifically states that anglers must release any coho caught in waters currently open to salmon fishing from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to a point nearly 300 miles upstream on the Columbia River.

The new rule takes effect immediately and will expire Aug. 1, when the fall fishing season gets under way, said Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“We didn’t expect to see coho salmon arrive in the Columbia River in July, so our initial regulations didn’t specifically preclude catching them,” Roler said. “The new rule issued today is consistent with Oregon’s regulations, which prohibit coho retention until August.”

Roler noted that the two states have worked together for nearly a century to maintain consistent fishing regulations under the Columbia River Compact.

The new fishing rule, outlining daily catch limits upriver from the Astoria-Megler Bridge, is available on WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Current drought conditions, which have affected fisheries throughout the state, are an unlikely cause of the early arrival of coho salmon in the Columbia River, Roler said.

“Warm water temperatures typically slow salmon migration,” he said. “Then again, this isn’t a typical summer for fish management.”