CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington closed all salmonid (salmon and steelhead) fishing, including both retention and catch-and-release fishing, on the Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam as of tonight, Thursday Sept. 1 at 11:59 p.m.
Higher than expected catch, effort, and handle rates of lower Columbia River tule fall Chinook in the Buoy 10 fishery have put the recreational fishery over its allowable impact limit for this ESA-listed stock, which is the most constraining salmon stock this time of year. (Non-treaty fisheries remain within their overall impact limits.)
Chinook handle (and ESA impacts) were more than double expected rates during the non-mark-selective portion of the Buoy 10 fishery with some of the highest handle rates of fall Chinook ever observed, one fish per angler on some days. Even after Chinook retention closed at Buoy 10, Chinook handle remained high in the coho-directed fishery with about 750 fall Chinook being released yesterday by Oregon anglers.
“This closure is a big deal and a decision not taken lightly, but we’ve got to do this to ensure fisheries remain within their conservation limits on these listed runs of fish,” said Tucker Jones, ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program Manager. “It kills us to have to close fishing before Labor Day Weekend, especially when we recognize how important recreational angling is to both the conservation of salmon and to the economics of local communities that rely on this fishery.”
“Unfortunately, closing is our only option right now. But we are committed to getting folks back on the water as soon as possible, if it’s possible,” he continued “We’ll also be looking ahead to next year and thinking about how to do things differently to try and avoid this outcome in the future.”
Chinook retention had closed at Buoy 10 after Aug. 30 and in the ocean recreational fishery from Leadbetter Point to Cape Falcon after Aug. 22. Steelhead retention was already closed.
Fishery biologists are continuing to track and update runs. Salmon fishing could reopen downstream of Bonneville to target this year’s large coho run at Buoy 10 or upstream of the Lewis River if it’s determined fisheries could be held and not further meaningfully impact lower river tule Chinook salmon.
With the closure, all angling for, and retention of, salmonid species (Chinook, coho, steelhead, sockeye) is closed on the Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam. Angling for shad, walleye and other warmwater species remains open under permanent regulations, and sturgeon fisheries scheduled for later this month are not affected.
Check for the latest fishing regulations by visiting ODFW’s Recreation Report – Fishing Report for your zone and clicking Regulation Updates https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone.