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Columbia River fall salmon seasons kick off with mixed forecasts

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fall salmon seasons on the Columbia River open on Wednesday, Aug. 1 with modest forecasts and a few new regulations.

The popular Buoy 10 fishery will lead off Columbia River fall fisheries with effort and catch in other sections of the mainstem building over time. A total of 375,500 adult Chinook are expected to enter the Columbia this fall, which is about 80 percent of last year’s actual return and 50 percrent of the recent 10-year average.

Due to a lower forecasted return of upriver bright fall Chinook, fisheries have been planned to remain within a harvest rate limit of 8.25 percent on these fish. This rate is lower than in recent years and has resulted in season and bag limit reductions.

Coho returns are predicted to be similar to last year, with 213,600 adults expected to enter the river mouth, versus last year’s actual return of 235,700.

Due to the below average steelhead forecast of 182,400, no more than one hatchery steelhead may be retained per day from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31 for all mainstem Columbia River recreational fisheries.

The Buoy 10 fishery is scheduled to be open for retention of any adult Chinook salmon through Aug. 24 with a one fish daily bag limit. Chinook retention is scheduled to close Aug. 25, but hatchery coho/steelhead retention will remain open with a two-fish/one steelhead adult bag limit.

From Tongue Point upstream to Warrior Rock, retention of any adult Chinook will be allowed through Sept. 2, with a one fish daily adult bag. Starting Sept. 3, the daily adult bag limit increases to two-fish/one steelhead (hatchery coho/steelhead only).

From Warrior Rock upstream to Bonneville Dam, Chinook retention is scheduled to be open through Sept. 14 with an adult bag limit of one fish. Beginning Sept. 15, the daily adult bag limit will be two fish/one steelhead (hatchery coho /steelhead only).

For the area from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco, WA, Chinook retention will open August 1 but will be managed in-season based on actual catch and the upriver bright Chinook run size. The daily adult bag limit is two salmonids, and may include up to one Chinook and up to one steelhead.

During all fall fisheries (August 1 through December 31) from Buoy 10 upstream to the OR/WA border (upstream of McNary Dam) each legal angler aboard a vessel may continue to deploy angling gear until the daily adult salmonid limit for all anglers aboard has been achieved.

A complete summary of 2018 Columbia River fall regulations are available on the ODFW website.