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April 08, 2015
Contact: WDFW Region 5 Office, (360) 696-6211

Anglers get at least 2 more days
to catch chinook on lower Columbia

OLYMPIA - Columbia River anglers will get at least two more days to catch hatchery spring chinook salmon below Bonneville Dam under a decision announced today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Under that decision, the highly popular sport fishing will remain open through Saturday, April 11, then reopen for an additional day of fishing Thursday, April 16.

The initial sport-fishing season was previously scheduled to close at the end of the day Friday (April 10).

The extension will give anglers additional opportunity to catch hatchery spring chinook that remain available for recreational harvest, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

"Fishing has been good and anglers have turned out in high numbers, but we can still manage two more days under the initial harvest guideline," Roler said. "We expect to see a lot of boats on the water and anglers on the riverbank this weekend."

Prior to the season, fishery managers projected the catch through April 10 at about 12,000 chinook, including a maximum of 10,300 upriver fish. They now estimate anglers will catch and retain a total of just 9,700 spring chinook by that date.

The area open for spring chinook fishing extends from Buoy 10 upriver to Beacon Rock for boat and bank anglers, and to the fishing boundary below Bonneville Dam for bank anglers. When the fishery is open, anglers can retain one hatchery adult chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit.

Anglers may also fish for shad and hatchery-reared steelhead when the spring chinook fishery is open. For both salmon and steelhead, wild fish with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed.

Roler noted that anglers may get another chance to catch hatchery spring chinook later this spring, when fishery managers update the run forecast. Approximately 232,500 upriver fish were projected to return to the Columbia River this year, but the fishery has been managed with a 30 percent "buffer" to help ensure conservation guidelines are met.

"If the fish return at or above expectations, we will look at providing additional days of fishing on the river later in the spring," Roler said.

Besides extending the fishery in the lower Columbia River, fishery managers also approved two new regulations affecting the ongoing fishery above Bonneville Dam, currently scheduled to remain open through May 6. Effective April 13, those rules:

  • Allow anglers to possess up to four hatchery adult spring chinook salmon (four daily limits) in fresh form on the stretch of the Columbia River from The Dalles Dam upstream to the Washington/Oregon state line. This rule does not apply to fish kept on a boat.
  • Prohibit using a boat or other floating device to set lines for spring chinook and steelhead while fishing from the Washington bank when the Columbia River is open to fishing from the Tower Island power lines downstream to Bonneville Dam. Only hand-casted lines may be used.

For more information on all of these measures, see WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.