Commission adjusts Columbia River salmon fisheries rules

CORVALLIS, Ore. — The Commission voted unanimously to further adjust Columbia River salmon fisheries rules today along the following lines:

Spring Chinook 80/20 sport/commercial allocation of allowable ESA impacts. Commercial priority to off-channel large-mesh gillnet fisheries not constrained by run-size buffer.
Mainstem commercial fisheries only occurring with tangle net gear after the run update if remaining impact balances allow.

Summer Chinook 80/20 sport/commercial allocation of harvestable surplus; large-mesh gillnets not allowed for mainstem commercial fisheries.

Fall Chinook 70/30 sport/commercial allocation of allowable ESA impacts of the limiting fall Chinook stock (tule or Snake River wild), and <70/>30 for the non-constraining stock.
Large-mesh gillnets allowed in mainstem commercial Zones 4-5; assign up to 2 percent of the commercial fishery impacts for use with alternative gears in the lower river; commercial Coho fisheries restricted to tangle nets in Zones 1-3.

Youngs Bay sport closure remains in effect.

More details will be available next week, when the new rules are posted online.

In other business, the Commission:

Changed the formula to allocate Landowner Preference (LOP) tags for mule deer in wildlife management units below the population objective as proposed by Staff. Commissioners did ask that ODFW staff add an amendment indicating that any emergency public tag reductions (due to weather or disease) would also apply to LOP tags. Finally, staff were asked to return in September with a proposal to limit LOP tags for any late season special hunt opportunities with a very limited number of tags.

Approved project funding recommended by the Restoration and Enhancement Board, and the 2017-19 R&E and Salmon Trout Enhancement Program budgets.

Approved the acquisition of the property adjacent to the existing Buena Vista Boat Ramp on the Willamette River so the increasingly popular boat ramp can be improved to improve boater safety, increase ADA accessibility at the site, and enhance recreational opportunities.

Renamed the River Ranch Parcel of the Lower Deschutes Wildlife Area the Woosley Tract to recognize the lifelong contributions that Chuck and Gail Woosley of Corvallis have made to the project by contributing to it financially, testifying at Commission meetings and for their countless hours of volunteer service at multiple wildlife areas.

Received an informational briefing on the upcoming ocean salmon seasons where record low forecasted returns of Chinook to the Klamath Basin, a primary driver for ocean fisheries on the southern and central Oregon coast, will have a significant impact on Oregon ocean salmon fisheries for 2017.

The Commission is the policy-making body for fish and wildlife issues in the state and it usually meets monthly. Its next meeting is April 21 in Klamath Falls.