anglers downstream of Bonneville Dam to the Astoria-Megler Bridge turned out in
higher numbers and caught more than expected fish early in the summer chinook
salmon fishery that opened June 15. As a result, anglers zipped through the
original harvest guideline quota and retention of summer chinook ended briefly
Friday evening, June 30.
changed this week. A run size update by the U.S. v Oregon Technical Advisory
Committee, which met Wednesday, July 5, is now predicting a larger run of the summer
chinook, giving anglers in the lower river almost 1,300 more fish to catch
higher run forecast allows us to reopen the fishery through the end of the
summer season, when the fall fishing season gets underway," said Ron
Roler, a Columbia River fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish
and Wildlife. "That's been our goal all along, so long as the fishery
meets established conservation standards."
bad news in this week’s TAC update is a considerable downgrade of the sockeye
salmon run. Passage at Bonneville as of July 5 was just 74,937 fish, far fewer
than expected. Typically, half the run passes the dam by June 25. The preseason
forecast for sockeye was for 198,500 fish, about 63 percent of the 10-year
average, but that was reduced by more than half this week by TAC to 90,400
fish. Last year on July 5, 315,665 fish had passed the dam and the 10-year
average is 267,087.
of summer chinook at Bonneville Dam beginning June 16, the first day that
chinook counted at the dam are considered summer fish, through July 4, was
43,160 fish. Passage is typically 50 percent complete on June 30, according to
the two-state Columbia River Compact’s Summer Fact Sheet Number 3 (http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/FS/17/17_07_06sf3.pdf).
preseason forecast was for a Columbia River return of 63,100 adult fish, but with
slightly higher than expected passage at Bonneville Dam, TAC increased its run
prediction to 74,100 summer chinook. The 10-year average run size is 72,100
fish and last year 91,048 fish returned. Summer chinook are not listed under
the Endangered Species Act and are considered a healthy run, according to the
previous allocation for sports anglers downstream of the dam using the
preseason forecast was 2,656 fish. With TAC’s new forecast, the allocation now is
3,946 fish, giving anglers 1,290 extra fish to catch through July.
on the current forecast and management agreements for adult summer Chinook, a
total of 21,225 fish are available for treaty harvest and 5,804 fish are
available for non-treaty in-river harvest downstream of Priest Rapids Dam,” the
fact sheet said. That includes mortalities from the Astoria-Megler Bridge to
Priest Rapids for anglers.
on the current forecast and Endangered Species Act limits, 6,328 sockeye are
available for treaty harvest and 904 sockeye are available for non-treaty
harvest, the fact sheet said.
updated run size allowed Columbia River fishery managers to provide additional
harvest opportunities for anglers. So Thursday, July 6, the Compact reopened
adult chinook retention below Bonneville. Retention of chinook had remained
open upstream of the dam.
catch estimates for the previous two-week opening ending June 30 was 2,608
adult chinook kept (1,375 released) from 21,357 angler trips. Estimated summer
chinook mortalities to date (kept plus release mortality) are about 2,820 fish.
chinook retention of two chinook per day resumes Friday, July 7, and will
continue through Monday July 31, in the mainstem Columbia River from the
Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to Bonneville Dam. Retention of jack hatchery
chinook, hatchery steelhead and sockeye remains open under previously adopted
regulations, including the one hatchery steelhead daily bag limit. Barbless
hooks are required, and anglers must release any summer chinook with an intact
the July 6 Columbia River Fisheries Notice at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/CAN/17/170706_notice.pdf
Compact staff estimated the fishery would take an additional 705 kept and
release mortalities for chinook, bringing total mortalities for the lower river
fishery to 3,525, which is 89 percent of the allocation). Sockeye harvest is
expected to be about 250 fish for the season.
Compact also added five more 12-hour periods through July 28 allowing lower river
commercial fishing in Select Areas to gillnet for late run hatchery select area
had already been extended at a Compact meeting last week due to significant
late-season landings in Blind Slough/Knappa Slough and Tongue Point/South
Channel. The extension was through July 11. And landings, according to Compact
staff, remained strong the last two weeks of June with 130-230 chinook landed
per 12-hour period in Blind/Knappa Slough and nearly 200 per period in Tongue
the catch rates and strong ex-vessel prices, the staff recommended the
additional Select Area fishing time.
steelhead passage at the dam continues to be far below the forecast. As of July
5, some 5,847 summer steelhead had passed the dam. Of those 2,124 were wild
fish. The 10-year average on July 5 is 20,410, with 7,864 wild fish, while last
year’s count was 19,073 with 7,864 of those wild.
to the June 28 Summer Fact Sheet Number 2b (http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/FS/17/17_06_28sf2b.pdf), upriver stocks of
summer steelhead migrate past Bonneville Dam April 1 through October 31, and
those that pass prior to July 1 are considered Skamania stock, while steelhead
passing July 1 through October 31 are classified by length as either A-run or B-run
fish. Summer steelhead handled in Columbia River fisheries downstream of
Bonneville are considered lower river stock in May and June and upriver stock
July through October.
119,400 upriver summer steelhead are expected to pass Bonneville Dam this year
during July through October, which is 38 percent of the 2007-2016 average of
state fishing rules are at http://wdfw.wa.gov/hunting/regulations/
state fishing rules are at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/columbia.asp