CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Fishery managers in Washington and Oregon set additional Chinook salmon fishing days during their joint meeting today thanks to an upper Columbia summer Chinook run that is exceeding original forecasts.
Recreational fishing will be open July 9-15 for the retention of hatchery Chinook (adults and jacks), in the mainstem Columbia River from the Tongue Point-Rocky Point line upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco, Wash. The daily adult bag limit is two hatchery Chinook. All other salmon and steelhead must be released. All other permanent regulations, including bag limits for jack Chinook, apply.
As a precaution to limit additional take of sockeye salmon, fishery managers also closed shad fishing from July 9-15 in the mainstem Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to The Dalles Dam (Bonneville Pool). Columbia River sockeye fishing closed June 25 after a successful fishery (anglers did so well that harvest exceeded the 1 percent ESA take limit allowed at that time). An upgrade in the sockeye run has eliminated the overage, though the non-treaty fisheries remain at the 1 percent allowed. In the lower river, the risk of additional sockeye handle is rapidly declining as the majority of the sockeye run has migrated through this area. But there is a higher risk of sockeye handle upstream of Bonneville Dam, particularly in the Bonneville Pool shad fishery.
Fishery managers are taking a conservative approach due to the sockeye take limit being met, but since the sockeye run continues to be strong (with nearly 13,000 passing Bonneville Dam on July 7), managers will consider additional summer Chinook opportunity, as well as hatchery steelhead fishing, at a hearing next week (scheduled for July 15 at 2 p.m.).
“A summer Chinook fishery downstream of Priest Rapids Dam was not originally planned this year due to the pre-season forecast, but with significant upgrades to both summer Chinook and sockeye abundance, we’re pleased anglers will get some more summer opportunity for salmon fishing this year,” said Tucker Jones, Columbia River Program Manager for ODFW.
Anglers are also reminded that thermal angling sanctuaries to protect wild steelhead take effect July 15. All fishing is closed in these sanctuaries adjacent to, and within the lower reaches of Eagle Creek, Herman Creek, and the Deschutes River. See details at the Columbia River Zone regulations page, https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone#TSA.