OLYMPIA - Starting Saturday, May 31, anglers will get two more weeks to catch hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon and steelhead in waters of the Columbia River stretching more than 160 miles upriver from Bonneville Dam.
Recreational fishing closed in that area May 9, but fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved an extension through June 15 after transferring a portion of the upriver spring chinook allocation from the ongoing fishery below Bonneville Dam.
That reallocation of 750 harvestable fish will allow anglers to fish for spring chinook above the dam right up until the summer salmon season starts June 16, said Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).
"By our projections, anglers fishing below the dam won't reach their harvest guideline for upriver spring chinook by season's end, so we agreed to make some fish available farther upriver," Roler said. "That action is consistent with recreational catch limits and conservation guidelines for the river as a whole."
As before, anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit of two adult fish. All sockeye salmon must be released, along with wild salmon and wild steelhead identifiable by an intact adipose fin.
For boat anglers, the fishing area above Bonneville Dam extends from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank anglers can also fish in that area, plus along the bank between Bonneville Dam and the power lines.
Based on the latest run projection, state fishery managers expect 230,000 upriver spring chinook to return to the Columbia River this year. That projection - based on a combination of catch figures and the count of fish passing the dams - is up slightly from the 227,000 expected before the season began.
For more information on updates to state fishing rules, see WDFW's Fishing Rule Change website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.