The Columbia River Compact on Thursday approved what will be the first tribal and non-tribal commercial fisheries of the fall season, which begins Monday, on the mainstem Columbia River.
The non-tribal gill-netters have a nine-hour “early August” opener that begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday on the mainstem from the mouth of the river to Bonneville Dam, which is 146 river miles upstream.
The Compact also set nine-hour fisheries that begin at 9 p.m. on August 16, 18, 21, 23 and 24 in fishing zones 4-5, from near Woodland, Wash., upstream to Bonneville.
The lower river gill-netters are expected to catch as many as 3,000 fall chinook salmon, including about 1,320 lower river hatchery fish and 660 upriver brights, during next week’s fishery. The non-tribal fishers can catch and sell salmon and steelhead.
The Compact approved three 3 ½ fishing periods for the Nez Perce, Umatilla, Warm Springs and Yakama tribes in Zone 6 mainstem reservoirs above Bonneville Dam. The fisheries begin at 6 a.m. on Aug. 22, Aug. 30 and Sept. 6. Chinook, coho, steelhead, walleye, shad, yellow perch, bass, catfish and carp may be sold or retained for subsistence use. Sockeye may not be sold, but may be retained for subsistence use.
The tribes project a harvest of up to 130,000 chinook including almost 68,000 URB’s in the first three openings depending on effort and run size and timing.
Commercial sales of fish harvested in the Zone 6 tribal platform and hook and line fishery are ongoing. Yakama fisheries are also ongoing in Columbia River tributaries, including the Little White Salmon River (Drano Lake), and the White Salmon, Klickitat, and Icicle rivers.
The tribes will launch a 13-day setline sturgeon fishery Monday in all three pools of Zone 6. That fishery was approved to from from 6 a.m. Aug.1 through 6 p.m. Aug. 13. The tribes project very low effort and catch and anticipate sturgeon to be remaining on all three pools’ guidelines at the end of this fishery. The fishery will be closed sooner if the any of the pool harvest guidelines are met prior to August 13.
There are 161 sturgeon remaining on the tribes’ commercial guideline for the Bonneville Pool. There are 662 remaining in The Dalles Pool, and 244 remaining in the John Day Pool guideline.