WDFW Region 5, 360-696-6211
OLYMPIA – The mainstem Columbia River opens for fall Chinook and coho salmon fishing beginning Saturday, fishery managers announced yesterday.
Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington agreed to open the river beginning Saturday, Sept. 19, from Buoy 10 at the mouth of the river to the Highway 395 Bridge near Pasco.
The opening comes after the estimated Columbia River fall Chinook run size was updated earlier this week to 476,680 adults, an increase of 13 percent from the preseason forecast. Coho returning to waters above Bonneville Dam are also running above the preseason estimate with 66,700 early-stock coho now expected to return.
The larger runs allowed for the fishery to open a few days ahead of schedule; many sections of the river were initially scheduled to reopen Sept. 23. The fishery is expected to remain open through Dec. 31.
"It's always exciting to see these runs come in above expectations, and to be able to open the river for some additional days of fishing," said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fishery manager with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW). "We'll continue monitoring returns and make adjustments to the seasons as necessary."
Only coho and Chinook may be retained. All coho retained downstream of the Hood River Bridge must be hatchery fish. The daily adult bag limit is two salmon, only one of which can be a Chinook. Steelhead regulations were not changed, and fishing for steelhead remains closed at this time.
All other permanent regulations remain in effect, and anglers should be sure to check the 2020-21 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations before heading out, as well as any emergency regulations at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/index.jsp.
WDFW is the primary state agency tasked with preserving, protecting, and perpetuating fish, wildlife, and ecosystems, while providing sustainable fishing and hunting opportunities.