OLYMPIA – Columbia River anglers will again be able to keep chinook salmon they catch between Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to Bonneville Dam under a new rule approved today by fishery managers in Washington and Oregon.
The new rule – approved one month after those waters were closed to chinook retention – takes effect Friday, Oct. 13 at 12:01 a.m. and runs through Dec. 31.
Bill Tweit, Columbia River policy lead for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the latest action was triggered by the fact that the number of chinook salmon migrating upriver past Bonneville Dam since mid-September have been much higher than expected.
Since then, fishery managers have increased their estimate of returning “upriver bright” chinook from 198,700 fish to 225,000, Tweit said. Although the peak of the run has passed, biologists are still counting 700 to 1,000 chinook salmon moving through the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam each day.
“This run has a long tail,” Tweit said. “That allows us to reopen the lower river for chinook retention, while more fish continue to move upriver to spawn.”
Anglers fishing from Bonneville Dam upriver to Pasco have been allowed to retain chinook since Sept. 30 for the same reason, he said. Meanwhile, anglers have been allowed to retain chinook from Rocky Point/Tongue Point downriver to the mouth of the Columbia since the season opened there Aug. 1.
“We’re now back to the same rules for chinook retention set out in the Washington rule pamphlet,” Tweit said. Those regulations are described in WDFW’s Fishing in Washington rule pamphlet, available online at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations.