Columbia River Test Fishing

Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishing

Mainstem Columbia River Tangle Net test fishing is conducted each spring on the lower Columbia River in Catch Areas 1B and 1C (Zones 2 and 3) to evaluate the current run in regards to timing, stock composition, mark rate, and other biological data. This test fishery provides additional information to fishery managers which aides in the in-season management of the recreational spring Chinook fishery and provides a long term dataset to be used for planning future spring fisheries. 

Steelhead, unclipped Chinook, and sturgeon are released immediately or are placed in a recovery box to aid in collection of biodata then released after the fish recovers. Adipose-clipped Chinook are sold to offset costs of conducting the test fishery. Upon request some upriver Chinook may be retained by Columbia River Treaty tribal members to meet immediate ceremonial needs. If a mortality occurs for a non-retainable fish it is donated to a local food bank.

Fall Pound Net Test Fishing

Image
Pound net trap in the Cathlamet Channel
Photo by WDFW

The pound net consists of a series of pilings with netting attached and is designed to direct fish into a netted enclosure, from which they can be gathered into a livewell, sorted, and the harvestable fish retained while the non-harvestable fish are released alive after biological data have been collected. WDFW conducted a test fishery of a pound net trap located in Cathlamet Channel, Wahkiakum County, from 2018 to 2020 to evaluate the viability of these traps as an alternative commercial fishing gear and to evaluate their economic performance.  In addition, data were collected on all encountered fish stocks, including stock-composition, salmonid migration patterns, and collection of Chinook and Steelhead genetic samples.  The data collected provided WDFW with information used to ensure that impact limits set under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) are not exceeded for Chinook, Coho, and Steelhead.

2024 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

The 2024 spring Chinook test fishery is scheduled to occur March 18th - May 27th, with fishing primarily occurring on Mondays.   As of May 21st, 150 ad-clipped adult Chinook (38 lower river, 112 upriver) have been retained and sold by the agency. Columbia River Treaty tribal members have retained a total of 6 adult Chinook (3 upriver unclipped and 3 upriver ad-clipped). Three non-retainable fish has been donated to a local food bank (1 unclipped chinook, 1 ad clipped steelhead and 1 unclipped steelhead).                                                                         

MonthDate# of DriftsTotal Handle (Chinook)Total Release (Chinook)Mark Rate (Chinook)% Upriver (Chinook)Total Handle (Steelhead)Total Release (Steelhead)Mark Rate (Steelhead)Total Handle (Sturgeon)Total Release (Sturgeon)Total Handle ShadChinook/ DriftChinook/ SteelheadSteelhead/ Drift
March1813110%0%131244%1100.10.11.0
March25165080%100%11119%1100.30.50.7
March/April31/1/2153167%0%11100%0020.23.00.1
April7/8/9179089%67%2250%0070.54.50.1
April15/161629293%93%6650%11261.84.80.4
April21/221839785%78%7786%00352.66.60.4
April291539587%62%6683%00952.66.50.4
May61129290%72%6550%001922.64.80.5
May1310100100%100%7771%003861.01.40.7
May211030100%0%000%221230.3--0.0

                                                                               

2023 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

The 2023 Spring Chinook mainstem tangle net test fishery will occur from March 13th - June 8th, 2023. Fishing will occur one day a week, primarily on Mondays.

 As of June 8th, 250 ad-clipped adult Chinook (87 lower river, 163 upriver) and 27 ad-clipped jack Chinook (2 lower river, 25 upriver) have been retained and sold by the agency. Columbia River Treaty tribal members have retained a total of 12 adult Chinook (11 upriver unclipped and 1 upriver ad-clipped) and 1 jack Chinook (1 upriver unclipped). One non-retainable fish has been donated to a local food bank (1 unclipped steelhead).                                                                                                                                      

MonthDate# of DriftsTotal Handle (Chinook)Total Release (Chinook)Mark Rate (Chinook)% Upriver (Chinook)Total Handle (Steelhead)Total Release (Steelhead)Mark Rate (Steelhead)Total Handle (Sturgeon)Total Release (Sturgeon)Total Handle ShadChinook/ DriftChinook/ SteelheadSteelhead/ Drift
March13/1415000%0%650%1100.00.00.4
March201410100%0%9967%0000.10.10.6
March27/28153067%67%5580%2200.20.60.3
April2/31514379%71%2250%1100.97.00.1
April10/111629672%72%8825%2241.83.60.5
April16/171557689%70%5540%11253.811.40.3
April241571286%69%5520%1111234.714.20.3
April/May30/11654394%74%3333%33633.418.00.2
May81230390%63%220%113492.515.00.2
May14/15913285%31%2250%116701.46.50.2
May22690100%44%000%003601.5--0.0
May28/30810100%100%110%003440.11.00.1
June4320100%0%11100%114320.62.00.3
June 7540100%25%000%00640.8--0.0

 

2022 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

The 2022 Spring Chinook mainstem tangle net test fishery occurred from March 14th - May 9th, 2022. Additional fishing days through June 10th, 2022 have been added to continue to collect data on run timing and composition. Fishing occurred one day a week, primarily on Mondays. 

As of June 9th, 360 ad-clipped adult chinook and 55 ad-clipped chinook jacks have been retained and sold by the agency. Columbia River Treaty tribal members have retained a total of 9 Chinook (6 upriver unclipped, 2 upriver clipped, and 1 lower river unclipped). Eight non-retainable fish have been donated to a local food bank (1 unclipped steelhead, 2 clipped steelhead, 2 unclipped upriver adult chinook, 1 unclipped lower river adult chinook, and 2 unclipped upriver jack chinook).The table below details the 2022 spring chinook preliminary observation summary data. 

MonthDate# of DriftsTotal Handle (Chinook)Total Release (Chinook)Mark Rate (Chinook)% Upriver (Chinook)Total Handle (Steelhead)Total Release (Steelhead)Mark Rate (Steelhead)Total Handle (Sockeye)Total Release (Sockeye)Total Handle (Sturgeon)Total Release (Sturgeon)Total Handle (Shad)Chinook/ DriftChinook/ SteelheadSteelhead/ Drift
March14139189%67%8838%000000.71.10.6
March21/22159089%56%141421%001110.60.60.9
March281517088%76%111155%000071.11.50.7
April51126485%65%3233%000082.48.70.3
April111536781%89%5580%0022162.47.20.3
April18/19151221386%84%8825%0022448.115.30.5
April251442390%79%110%003333.042.00.1
May21551784%69%32100%00331163.417.00.2
May91357884%67%4350%00116834.414.30.3
May1611341071%47%4475%00113943.18.50.4
May22740100%75%000%003313330.60.00.0
May29/31814193%36%22100%00118821.814.00.1
Jun9370100%0%000%7711692.30.00.0

2021 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

The 2021 test fishery occurred from March 15th until May 10th.  Fishing was scheduled one day a week,  primarily on Mondays.  For the 2021 test fishing period, 134 adipose clipped Chinook (111 adults and 23 jacks) were retained and sold by the agency.  Columbia River Treaty tribal members retained a total of 15 Chinook (4 upriver clipped and 11 upriver unclipped (1 of which was a jack)). A total of 2 Chinook (1 upriver unclipped adult and 1 lower river unclipped jack) were donated to a local food bank. The table below details the 2021 spring chinook preliminary observation summary data. 

MonthDate# of DriftsTotal Handle (Chinook)Total Release (Chinook)Mark Rate (Chinook)% Upriver (Chinook)Total Handle (Steelhead)Total Release (Steelhead)Mark Rate (Steelhead)Total Handle (Sturgeon)Total Release (Sturgeon)Chinook/ DriftChinook/ SteelheadSteelhead/ Drift
March151510100%100%33100%110.10.30.2
March 22156183%100%3367%000.42.00.2
March29149089%56%11100%110.69.00.1
April51615093%40%00--110.9--0.0
April11/121732478%75%3333%441.910.70.2
April18/191627274%67%2250%111.713.50.1
April25/261536878%50%5540%332.47.20.3
May2/31511273%73%11100%550.711.00.1
May9/10159367%33%110%550.69.00.1

 

2020 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

DUE TO COVID-19 THE SPRING CHINOOK MAINSTEM COLUMBIA RIVER TEST FISHERY WAS SUSPENDED AFTER THE FIRST TWO FISHING PERIODS. The table below details the 2020 spring chinook preliminary observation summary data. 

Date# of
Drifts
Total
Handle (Chinook)
Total
Release (Chinook)
Mark
Rate (Chinook)
%
Upriver (Chinook)
Chinook/
Drift
Chinook/
Steelhead
Steelhead/
Drift
Total
Handle (Steelhead)
Total
Release (Steelhead)
Mark
Rate (Steelhead)
Total
Handle (Sturgeon)
Total
Release (Sturgeon)
Mar 161010100%0%0.10.30.44425%22
Mar 22, 23143167%33%0.20.80.34350%00
  • March 16 - 1 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency.
  • March 22,23 -  2 adipose-clipped Chinook (1 upriver, 1 lower river) retained by Treaty tribe. 1 adipose-clipped steelhead donated to food bank.

2019 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

The table below details the 2019 spring chinook preliminary observation summary data. 

Date# of
Drifts
Total
Handle (Chinook)
Total
Release (Chinook)
Mark
Rate (Chinook)
%
Upriver (Chinook)
Chinook/
Drift
Chinook/
Steelhead
Steelhead/
Drift
Total
Handle (Steelhead)
Total
Release (Steelhead)
Mark
Rate (Steelhead)
Total
Handle (Sturgeon)
Total
Release (Sturgeon)
Mar 18 [1]154325%25%0.30.80.35480%11
Mar 25 [2]1511273%36%0.71.60.57757%33
Apr 1 [3]1513269%67%0.93.30.34450%1212
Apr 8 [4]157357%29%0.51.40.35540%2222
Apr 15 [5]15752271%45%5.018.80.34425%5656
April 21,22 [6]1242374%79%3.521.00.22250%2525
April 28,29[7]1452685%42%3.710.40.45560%4949
May 5,6[8]1419668%58%1.43.80.45260%1818

1 March 18 - 1 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency. 1 adipose-clipped steelhead donated to food bank.
2 March 25 - 8 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency. 1 lower river no mark Chinook donated to food bank.
April 1 - 8 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency. 3 upriver Chinook (2 no mark, 1 adipose-clipped) retained by Treaty tribe. 
April 8 - 2 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency. 2 upriver adipose-clipped Chinook retained by Treaty tribe.
April 15 - 54 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency.
April 22 - 31 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency. 8 upriver Chinook (7 no mark, 1 adipose-clipped) retained by Treaty tribes. 
April 29 - 48 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency.  2 lower river no mark Chinook donated to food bank.
May 5,6 - 17 adipose-clipped Chinook sold by agency.  3 steelhead (1 no mark, 2 adipose-clipped) donated to food bank.

2018 Spring Chinook Mainstem Tangle Net Test Fishery

Test Fishery in Zones 2 and 3, using 4.25" mesh tangle net. The table below details the 2018 spring chinook preliminary observation summary data. 


Date
# of
Drifts
Total
Handle (Chinook)
Total
Release (Chinook)
Mark
Rate (Chinook)
%
Upriver (Chinook)
Chinook/
Drift
Chinook/
Steelhead
Steelhead/
Drift
Total
Handle (Steelhead)
Total
Release (Steelhead)
Mark
Rate (Steelhead)
Total
Handle (Sturgeon)
Total
Release (Sturgeon)
Mar 18 [1]1540100%25%0.31.00.34475%2222
Mar 25 [2]1716569%75%0.91.80.59733%3030
Apr 1 [3]1514286%71%0.93.50.34450%88
Apr 8 [4]1636878%50%2.318.00.12250%2121
Apr 15 [5]161081586%71%6.88.30.8131354%1212
Apr 22 [6]161291588%67%8.125.80.35560%4242
Apr 29 [7]1277579%73%6.49.60.78650%99

Notes

1 4 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency.

2 10 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency. 1 upriver chinook retained by Treaty tribe. 2 steelhead (1 no mark, 1 adipose-clipped) donated to food bank.

3 11 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency. 3 upriver chinook (2 no mark, 1 adipose-clipped) retained by Treaty tribe.

4 April 8 - 27 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency. 7 upriver chinook (6 no mark, 1 adipose-clipped) retained by Treaty tribe.

5 April 15 - 108 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency.

6 April 22 - 113 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency. 1 upriver no mark chinook donated to food bank.

7 April 29 - 61 adipose-clipped chinook sold by agency. 11 upriver no mark chinook retained by Treaty tribe. 2 steelhead (1 no mark, 1 adipose-clipped) donated to food bank.

Spring Chinook Cathlamet Channel Test Fishery

The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission Policy C-3620 included guidance to "seek to phase out the use of non-selective gill nets in non-tribal commercial fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River, and transition gill net use to off-channel areas" by 2017.

In response to these directives, WDFW re-examined potential sites for off-channel "Select Area Fishery Enhancement" (Select Area) for rearing spring Chinook. To assess the Cathlamet Channel as a potential Select Area site, research test fishing was initiated in 2013 to determine the run timing, abundance, stock composition, mark rate and other biological data of salmon returning during the late winter and spring time frame. From 2014-2018, spring chinook have been acclimated and released from net pens in Cathlamet Channel. Test fishing is used to evaluate returns of net pen fish to Cathlamet Channel. The table below details the 2018 Cathlamet Channel spring chinook preliminary data summary.


Date
# of
Drifts
Total
Handle (Chinook)
Total
Release (Chinook)
Mark
Rate (Chinook)
% Upriver (Chinook)Chinook
/ Drift
Total
Handle (Steelhead)
Total
Release (Steelhead)
Mark
Rate (Steelhead)
Total
Handle (Sturgeon)
Total
Release (Sturgeon)
Feb. 26-286000%0%0.00110%11
Mar. 58000%0%0.002250%22
Mar. 12810100%0%0.135560%00
Mar. 15810100%100%0.13000%22
Mar. 19 [1]8000%0%0.0021100%11
Mar. 2282150%0%0.25000%11
Mar. 2688225%0%1.002250%00
Mar. 298110%0%0.13220%00
Apr. 28150100%0%1.886617%00
Apr. 588275%50%1.00110%33
Apr. 9731487%65%4.43330%00
Apr. 12834876%65%4.252250%00
Apr. 16823387%74%2.885560%11
Apr. 19865592%72%8.132250%11
Apr. 23840588%65%5.006650%33
Apr. 25 2841485%63%5.133367%44
Apr. 30417194%59%4.2511100%00
May 7430100%67%0.75000%00
Total1332903687%67% 434244%1919

Notes

1 1 adipose-clipped steelhead donated to food bank.

2 1 lower river, no mark chinook and 1 upriver, no mark chinook donated to food bank.

Through May 7, 252 adipose-clipped chinook sold by the agency.

Fall Pound Net Test Fishery

2020

Test fishing occurred between Aug 28 - Oct 16, 2020. Data in the table represent all retained and released adult salmonids encountered at the pound net for this fishing period.

Date# LiftsKept: Chinook (Bright)Kept: Chinook (Tule)Kept: CohoReleased (clipped): Chinook (Bright)Released (clipped): Chinook (Tule)

Released

(clipped):

Coho

Released (clipped:): Steelhead (A-Index)Released (clipped): Steelhead (B-Index)Released (not clipped): Chinook (Bright)Released (not clipped): Chinook (Tule)

Released

(not clipped):

Coho

Released (not clipped): Steelhead (A-Index)Released (not clipped): Steelhead (B-Index)

Mark rate:

Chinook

Mark rate: CohoMark rate: Steelhead (A-Index)Mark rate: Steelhead (B-Index)
Aug-28834110011141393464%57%79%50%
Aug-29119211012010911126194%45%63%90%
Aug-31912121801121181003221371%37%50%86%
Sep-01122518290031952182518360%56%51%63%
Sep-02103119240402572882213060%52%66%100%
Sep-03122825210201014568116546%66%63%74%
Sep-04108225121121122599055%40%57%100%
Sep-058320502112014136636358%45%77%82%
Sep-0715821741111314203637157%54%65%93%
Sep-081111771201174283534139%58%81%80%
Sep-091012612020526526012013243%51%67%71%
Sep-17421490012760243133%68%40%88%
Sep-18641510052360213245%73%40%60%
Sep-19865142307211143698345%68%20%79%
Sep-208145210014318304877637%71%30%75%
Sep-21134012710074130573428%69%70%50%
Sep-227416600016110242231%73%33%75%
Sep-23321301003120133067%70%50%100%
Sep-24501460013130150025%76%100%100%
Sep-25300250020000800---77%------
Sep-308007000002212610---73%---100%
Oct-013109000001020150%82%------
Oct-0210010003200120---50%60%100%
Oct-0950051000200420100%56%---100%
Oct-1640040030000000---100%------
Total1941871901268151437210162314537701404253%63%60%79%

2019

Test fishing occurred between Aug 28 - Oct 31 2019. Preliminary data in the table represent all retained and released adult salmonids encountered at the pound net for this fishing period.


Date
# of
Lifts
CHINOOK
Total
Handle 
CHINOOK
Total
Release1
CHINOOK
Mark
Rate2
COHO
Total
Handle 
COHO
Total
Release1
COHO
Mark
Rate2
STEELHEAD
Total
Handle 
STEELHEAD
Ad-clip, Total A
STEELHEAD
No Ad-clip Total A
STEELHEAD
Unknown Ad-clip  Total A
STEELHEAD
Ad-clip Total B
STEELHEAD
No Ad-clip Total B
STEELHEAD
Unknown Ad-clip Total B
STEELHEAD
Ad-clip (Unknown Stock)
STEELHEAD
No Ad-clip (Unknown Stock)
STEELHEAD
Unknown Ad-clip (Unknown Stock)
STURGEON
Total
Handle 
STURGEON
Total
Release
Aug 28-3024654235%663842%381915130000000
Sep 2-6371416057%35122537%39239052000011
Sep 9-1343591673%88238358%552618092000000
Sep 15-204523865%79925571%401911073000000
Sep 23-272214564%54413678%35252053000000
Oct 7-101000N/A983673%1666013000000
Oct 14-181200N/A1875976%971010000000
Oct 21-23400N/A16294%642000000000
Total19730213157%2943113463%2231296413113000011

Notes: Chinook and Coho handle numbers are adults only. 

Released Chinook and Coho may include adipose-clipped and/or unknown clip status.  Refer to notes below.

Mark rate is total ad-clipped divided by total handle. 

The shoreside lead was raised (not fishing) for Aug 28, and lowered (fishing) for following days.

  • Aug 28-30 2019: 26 adipose-clipped Chinook including 3 jacks, and 28 adipose-clipped coho, sold by agency.
  • Sep 2-6 2019: 85 adipose-clipped Chinook including 4 jacks, and 126 adipose-clipped coho, sold by agency.
    Total Chinook released includes 1 unknown clip. Total coho released includes 4 adipose-clipped and 3 unknown clip.
    Sturgeon released was legal size.
  •  Sep 9-13 2019: 44 adipose-clipped Chinook including 1 jack, and 499 adipose-clipped coho adults, sold by agency.
    Total coho released includes 13 adipose-clipped and 5 unknown clip.
  • Sep 15-20 2019: 9 adipose-clipped Chinook including 1 jack, and 544 adipose-clipped coho adults, sold by agency.
    Total coho released includes 20 adipose-clipped and 1 unknown clip.
  • Sep 23-27 2019: 9 adipose-clipped Chinook, and 408 adipose-clipped coho adults, sold by agency.
    Total coho released includes 14 adipose-clipped and 3 unknown clip.
  • Oct 7-10 2019: 62 adipose-clipped adult coho sold by agency. 
    Total coho released includes 10 adipose-clipped.
  • Oct 14 - 18 2019:  128 adipose-clipped coho sold by agency.
    Total coho released includes 14 adipose-clipped.
  • Oct 21 - 23 2019:  14 adipose-clipped coho sold by agency.
    Total coho released includes 1 adipose-clipped.

2018

Test fishing occurred between Aug. 25 – Oct. 31, 2018. Preliminary data in the table represent all retained and released adult salmonids encountered at the pound net for this fishing period.


Date
# of
Lifts
Total
Handle (Chinook)
Total
Release (Chinook)
Mark
Rate (Chinook)
Total
Handle (Coho)
Total
Release (Coho)
Mark
Rate (Coho)
Total
Handle (Steelhead)
Ad-clip (Steelhead, Total A)No Ad-clip (Steelhead, Total A)Ad-clip (Steelhead, Total B)No Ad-clip (Steelhead, Total B)Ad-clip (Unknown Stock)No Ad-clip (Unknown Stock)Total
Handle (Sturgeon)
Total
Release (Sturgeon)
Aug 25-Sep 18691651644%32219639%9241142655122
Sep 2-74225915441%2019752%7324122654222
Sep 9-13, 165233223629%38916957%1424912581210100
Oct 12, 133000%20385%952200000
Oct 14, 15, 187110%22482%632100000
Total190150890740%95446951%322122421132219444

Notes:

Chinook and Coho handle numbers are adults only.  The shoreside lead was raised (not fishing) for Aug. 25-Sep. 7, and lowered (fishing) for Sep. 9-16.

Aug. 25 - Sep. 1 2018: 430 adipose-clipped Chinook including 30 jacks, and 130 adipose-clipped coho including 4 jacks sold by agency.
Total Chinook released includes 1 adipose-clip and 1 unknown clip.
Both sturgeon were overlegal size

- Sep. 2-7 2018: 110 adipose-clipped Chinook including 5 jacks, and 107 adipose-clipped coho including 3 jacks, sold by agency.
Total Chinook released includes 2 adipose-clip and 1 unknown clip. Total coho released includes 2 adipose-clipped and 1 unknown clip.
One sturgeon was overlegal size and one was sublegal.
Fishing was unsuccessful on Sep 4 due to continuous marine mammal presence.

- Sep. 9-13,16 2018: 109 adipose-clipped Chinook including 13 jacks, and 220 adipose-clipped coho including 1 jack, sold by agency.
Total Chinook released includes 2 adipose-clip. Total coho released includes 3 adipose-clipped and 1 unknown clip.
One non-adipose clipped coho was donated after being mis-identified as adipose-clipped and retained.

- Oct. 12-13 2018: 20 adipose-clipped coho including 3 jacks, sold by agency. Released 1 Chum and 20 largescale suckers. One adipose-clipped A-run steelhead was donated after being mis-identified and retained

- Oct. 14, 15, 18 2018: 18 adipose-clipped coho sold by agency.