SALEM, Ore. — ODFW is enacting temporary restrictions on coastal wild adult Chinook salmon harvest in the Southwest Zone due to low forecasted returns.
Chinook salmon returns have been below average the past few years associated with very poor ocean conditions beginning in 2014. Although the ocean has improved recently and overall returns may be somewhat higher, the forecasted returns in Southwest Zone coastal rivers remain low in 2021.
The temporary changes to wild Chinook salmon harvest are consistent with existing ODFW management plans. These plans specify increases or decreases to harvest levels in response to changing stock status for wild Chinook salmon in various rivers.
There are no changes to permanent regulations for coastal streams in the Northwest Zone or for the Rogue River Basin.
Except for the Coquille Basin, or unless otherwise indicated, restrictions only apply to harvest of adult wild Chinook salmon, and anglers may harvest adult hatchery salmon until the normal daily bag limit of two fish has been met (see 2021 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations).
The daily limit for jack Chinook salmon (hatchery or wild) remains five fish per day and does not count towards the adult daily limit. However, once the adult daily limit is harvested, anglers may not continue to fish for jack salmon.
Recent Chinook salmon returns to the Coquille River have been particularly low.
Predation by smallmouth and striped bass is believed to be a significant contributor to the depressed status of fall Chinook salmon in the Coquille River in addition to past poor ocean conditions. ODFW is continuing efforts to address increasing populations of introduced smallmouth and striped bass in this river system (information: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/news/2021/05_May/052121.asp). However, in an effort to maximize spawner abundance, this basin will be closed to angling for salmon from July 1 through December 31.
Although not experiencing similar declines as the Coquille River, there will also be restrictions to wild fall Chinook salmon fisheries in the Umpqua River, Coos River, Floras Creek/New River, Sixes River, Elk River, Hunter Creek, Pistol River, Chetco River and Winchuck River. Restrictions on rivers south of the Coquille are also meant to reduce harvest on older age fish which are still in conservation status.
See regulation details at this link: https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/southwest-zone.
Biologists observed some signs of improvement in total return numbers and improving ocean conditions in 2020. In general, streams in the Northwest Zone appear to have rebounded from the recent downturn. Permanent rules will be in effect for these systems.
These regulation changes are in response to stock status in particular rivers and additional measures may be required in response to drought effects. Anglers are encouraged to check the regulations update page before each fishing trip, in case of any changes.