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July 01, 2015
Contact: WDFW Reg. 5 Office, (360) 696-6211

Columbia River salmon season
extended with new catch limit

OLYMPIA - Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon have extended the summer salmon fishery on the lower Columbia River by three weeks, and approved a new daily catch limit for waters above and below Bonneville Dam.

Under the new agreement, anglers can continue to catch summer chinook and sockeye salmon through July 31 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upriver to Bonneville Dam, where the season was previously scheduled to end July 7.

In addition, the daily catch limit will change July 3 for salmon fisheries on the Columbia River upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam.

The new catch limit holds anglers to one adult chinook salmon per day - whether or not it is marked as a hatchery fish - as part of their overall catch. Since mid-June, anglers have been allowed to catch two adult chinook a day, but were required to release those not marked as a hatchery fish by a missing adipose fin.

Ron Roler, Columbia River Policy Coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the new catch limit is designed to reduce the number of chinook salmon that are hooked and released during unusually warm water conditions.

"Water temperatures in the Columbia River have risen above 70 degrees, which can affect survival rates for released fish," Roler said. "With the prospect of more hot days to come, we want anglers to keep the first chinook they catch and move on to the other fishing opportunities available in the river."

Despite warm water conditions, returns of both summer chinook and sockeye salmon are currently the second-highest on record, said Roler, noting that summer steelhead are also beginning to move into the lower river in large numbers.

In all, the new catch limit will allow anglers to take a total of six salmon or steelhead per day, including two adult salmon, two adult hatchery steelhead, or one of each - but only one adult chinook salmon. As before, anglers must release any unmarked steelhead they catch, and sockeye will be counted as part of the adult daily limit. Chinook jacks also remain part of the overall daily bag limit, but anglers can retain both marked and unmarked fish.

"We still have plenty of salmon and hatchery steelhead available for harvest," Roler said. "Our goal is to reduce stress on summer chinook moving up the river in these current water conditions."