Joint Staff Report Concerning the 2003 Fall In-River Commercial Harvest of Columbia River Fall Chinook Salmon, Summer Steelhead, Coho Salmon, Chum Salmon, and Sturgeon


This report describes fall fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River and includes summaries of 2002 fall fisheries, 2003 management guidelines, expected 2003 fall fish runs, and the outlook for 2003 fall fisheries. This report is the third in an annual series produced by the Joint Columbia River Management Staff of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) prior to each major Columbia River Compact hearing. Information concerning early and late fall mainstem management periods and fall Select Area fisheries are included in this report.

The first Compact hearing of the 2003 fall management period will begin at 10 AM, Wednesday July 30 at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters office located at 2501 SW First Avenue, Portland, Oregon. The purpose of this hearing is to consider non-Indian commercial fishing options for the mainstem Columbia River. Following the hearing, the states will consider Select Area fall salmon seasons in Big Creek, Youngs Bay, Tongue Point, Blind Slough, Deep River, and Steamboat Slough. Two additional Compact hearings have already been scheduled for 10 AM Tuesday August 12 and 10 AM Friday August 22 at the Water Resources Education Center located at 4600 S. E. Columbia Way, Vancouver, Washington. The purposes of these hearings are to review salmon and steelhead stock status and to consider non- Indian commercial fisheries and/or treaty Indian commercial fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River. Further Compact hearings will be scheduled throughout the fall management period as needed to continue to evaluate salmon and steelhead stock status and address additional treaty Indian and non-Indian commercial seasons or adopt in-season modifications to ongoing commercial fisheries.

Salmon and summer steelhead returns are forecast prior to the fall season and are updated inseason based on the most current ocean and in-river fishery information plus Columbia River dam counts (Table 1). White sturgeon abundance in the lower Columbia River is updated annually. The data in this report are a consensus of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) which completed its review prior to printing. The TAC is comprised of biologists from state and federal fish management agencies and the Columbia River treaty Indian tribes, and functions by agreement of the parties under U. S. v. Oregon.