May 24, 2016 – John Snyder – NWFN
Spring chinook fishing extension split between May, June on lower Columbia
OLYMPIA – Anglers fishing the lower Columbia River can catch and keep spring chinook salmon for four more days in May – including Memorial Day weekend – and up to 13 days in June under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.
Under that agreement, the fishery below Bonneville Dam will reopen May 27-30, close for three days, then reopen June 3-15, or until the annual harvest guideline is met.
Ron Roler, Columbia River policy advisor for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the final days of this year’s spring chinook season were designed to stretch the fishery until mid-June, when the summer salmon season gets under way.
“A lot of anglers have asked that we structure the spring chinook season so that it dovetails with the summer fishing season, beginningJune 16,” Roler said. “The fishing schedule approved today offers a good chance of reaching that goal.”
This year’s fishing season is based on a projected return of 180,000 upriver adult spring chinook and an annual catch guideline of 10,370 fish below Bonneville Dam.
As before, the fishery will be open from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat anglers, with bank fishing allowed up to the deadline below the dam.
Anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of their daily limit of two adult fish. Fishing for hatchery steelhead will also be open concurrent with the salmon fishery.
Any chinook or steelhead with an intact adipose fin must be released unharmed. All sockeye salmon incepted before June 16 must also be released.
Under existing rules, anglers may retain hatchery steelhead and hatchery chinook jacks May 31 through June 2 when the mainstem Columbia from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge is closed for adult chinook retention. Shad fishing is open above and below Bonneville Dam.
Fishery managers now anticipate a return of 180,000 upriver spring chinook to the Columbia River this year, down from 188,800 projected prior to the season.
Salmon and steelhead fishing remains closed above Bonneville Dam but reopens for the summer chinook season June 16 in waters above and below the dam under rules outlined in the Washington Sport Fishing rules pamphlet (http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/
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