States Shut Down Salmon, Steelhead Fishing On Columbia To 395
UPDATED AT BOTTOM WITH ODFW PRESS RELEASE
Columbia fishery managers are shutting down salmon and steelhead fishing on the mainstem of the river to just above the mouth of the Snake.
The closure takes effect after Oct. 21 and runs through the end of the year between Buoy 10 and the Highway 395 bridge in Pasco, according to an action notice emailed out late this afternoon.
Earlier today, with another downgrade of the fall Chinook return to the big river (701,000-plus to the mouth, 412,000 upriver brights) and URB catch impacts creeping above management agreements (15 percent), ODFW and WDFW staffers had been recommending just curtailing king retention.
But managers decided differently, shutting down coho, Chinook and steelhead effective this Saturday.
This year’s steelhead return has been low, limits have been restricted and fishing has been poor. According to biologist Joe Hymer, in August and September anglers below Bonneville saw the second lowest catch (1,773) in the past 32 years, to 1984, when 26 fewer were kept for that two-month period.
Yesterday, WDFW announced too few were returning to the Upper Columbia for fisheries there.
Coho have also significantly underperformed against the preseason forecast, both the early and late runs.
THE FOLLOWING IS AN ODFW PRESS RELEASE
States close Columbia River salmon, steelhead seasons
CLACKAMAS, Ore. — Recreational salmon and steelhead fishing will close starting Saturday on the Columbia River from Buoy 10 to the Hwy. 395 Bridge near Pasco, Wash., under rules adopted today by fishery managers from Oregon and Washington.
The closure is based on the latest fall Chinook run forecast, which indicates the Upriver Bright component, which includes ESA-listed Snake River wild Chinook, is tracking at 71 percent of the preseason forecast of 579,600 Chinook. Coho salmon and steelhead returns have also been revised downward from pre-season forecasts.
Based on the revised run-size projection, fishery managers estimate that combined non-treaty fisheries have exceeded the allowed harvest limit on Upriver Bright Chinook. The states opted to also close the recreational coho salmon and steelhead seasons to prevent any additional Chinook mortalities that might have occurred as the result of incidental bycatch.
Originally published at nwsportsmanmag.com on October 19, 2016.