OLYMPIA -- Sport fishing for spring chinook salmon will close May 6 in the Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to McNary Dam, and on May 8 in two areas of the Snake River because allowable incidental impacts to protected upriver fish have been met.
The closures, which take effect at 12:01 a.m. on the designated dates, were set in a meeting today between Washington and Oregon fishery managers.
The action means the entire mainstem Columbia River downstream from McNary Dam is closed to all fishing for spring chinook and steelhead. The river from Bonneville Dam to the Interstate 5 bridge closed April 22 and the lower river from the I-5 bridge to the mouth closed May 1.
Fishing in the Snake River will close in two areas-from the Texas Rapids boat launch upstream to the Corps of Engineers boat launch, approximately one mile upstream of Little Goose Dam on the south bank of the river; and from the mouth of Wawawai Creek (about three miles upstream of Lower Granite Dam) to Red Wolf Bridge in Clarkston.
Fishing will remain open from the Lewiston/Clarkston Southway Bridge upstream to the concrete boat ramp at Heller Bar.
The Columbia River will open to hatchery steelhead, hatchery chinook jacks and shad fishing on May 16 below the I-5 bridge and on June 16 above the I-5 bridge.
Columbia River spring chinook fishing is managed to allow the harvest of hatchery fish, while protecting salmon runs listed under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).
All non-Indian sport and commercial fisheries are limited to a 2 percent impact on upriver spring chinook, which include fish listed for ESA protection. These "impacts" refer to unintended mortality resulting from handling and releasing wild fish that are caught unintentionally.
The popular Columbia River spring chinook fishery had been tentatively slated to run into mid-May based on a pre-season run projection of 360,700 fish returning to the mouth of the river. However, the in-season estimated return is 45 percent lower than the pre-season forecast, which led to the further reduction in fishing time.
To date this season, anglers have made an estimated 5,000 fishing trips in the area between Bonneville to McNary dams, catching 600 chinook and releasing 200 of those fish. Anglers on the Snake River in the areas open to spring chinook fishing have harvested an estimated 966 hatchery fish, while releasing 213 wild fish.