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Compact Extends Tribal Commercial Fishing One week; Ocean Coho Fishing Ends Off Oregon
Posted on Friday, September 08, 2017 (PST)

Treaty commercial gillnetting in the Columbia River targeting fall chinook was extended a week in water upstream of Bonneville Dam during a meeting of the two-state Columbia River Compact. The additional four and one-half days of tribal fishing begin 6 am Monday, September 11 and ends 6 pm Friday, September 15. The Compact met Wednesday, September 6.

 

Recreational fall chinook fishing continues throughout the entire river from Buoy 10 to the upper Columbia River. Meanwhile, recreational steelhead fishing has been reduced to catch and release only in the mainstem Columbia and Snake rivers, while one hatchery steelhead is allowed in some tributaries.

 

(See CBB, September 1, 2017, “Record Low Steelhead Run Spurs Closures, Reduced Bag Limits; Return Only 30 Percent Of Average,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439509.aspx)

 

In addition, NOAA Fisheries and the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife closed the non-selective coho fishery offshore as of 11:59 pm last night, Thursday, September 7, from Cape Falcon to Humbug Mountain. In a news release, ODFW said the quota was projected to be reached as of yesterday.

 

“There were good ocean conditions for the first few days of the season and good catch rates for coho,” said Chris Kern, ODFW deputy fish division administrator.

 

Fishing for chinook salmon in the ocean remains open. Sign up for email or a text alerts at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/mrp/salmon/

 

In the Columbia River, some 62,206 adult fall chinook have passed over Bonneville Dam as of September 3 (the Eagle Creek Fire near the dam has prevented counting fish since that date). In addition, 9,202 fall chinook jacks have passed. The 10-year average for the date is 147,802 adults and 20,904 jacks, while last year’s tally was 168,910 adults and 21,015 jacks.

 

According to the Tribal Staff Report Fall Fact Sheet No. 3 (http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/fact_sheets.asp), both fall chinook upriver bright and tule runs are tracking behind expectations for a normally timed run, but a late timed run may be closer to the forecast run size. TAC expects to update the chinook run size on September 11.

 

During this fall season, treaty tribes in the Columbia project that by this evening, September 8, they will have caught 33,100 adult fall chinook, of which 9,800 are upriver brights. By the end of the week’s extension, they project an additional catch of 52,600 adults with 16,000 upriver brights, bringing the total catch through September 15 to 100,250 adults (34,517 brights). The tribes are allowed to catch 82,563 upriver brights, leaving 48,046 remaining in their allowed harvest based on the latest run size.

 

The 2017 forecast for fall chinook in the Columbia River is 613,800 fish, about 96 percent of 2016’s actual return of 642,400 fish and 84 percent of the 2007-2016 average return of 727,600 fish. Bonneville Dam passage is expected to total nearly 403,600 upriver fall chinook for the season.

 

Passage at the dam is typically 50 percent complete by September 9, the Fact Sheet says.

 

In addition, tribes project a steelhead catch by September 15 of 3,716 fish, with 380 of those being the larger B-run fish, many of which are destined for the Snake River. Tribes are allowed to take 949 B-run steelhead, leaving 569 B-run fish remaining in their allowed harvest based on the latest run size forecast.

 

The U.S. v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee, which forecasts run sizes, downgraded expectations for the A-run fish from its pre-season forecast of 122,100 fish to 54,000 A-run summer steelhead (33,000 hatchery fish and 21,000 wild fish). TAC did not review the B-run forecast at its August 14 meeting.

 

Upriver summer steelhead pass Bonneville Dam from April through October. Fish passing during July through October are categorized as A-Index or B-Index (also known as A-run or B-run) based on fork length. A-Index are less than 78 cm (about 31 inches) and B-Index are typically more than 78 cm. Passage during July is mainly A-Index fish; B-Index passage normally begins around the end of August. B-Index steelhead primarily return to Snake River tributaries in Idaho, while A-Index steelhead return to tributaries throughout the Columbia and Snake basins, according to Compact information.

 

The forecast for the combined A/B-Index steelhead return to Bonneville Dam is 119,400 fish, including 41,500 unclipped (34,100 wild) fish. The A-Index forecast is 54 percent and the B-Index forecast is 25 percent of their respective 5-year averages.

 

Based on expected catches through September 15, the treaty fishery would be within its allowed limits for run sizes as low as 150,000 upriver brights and 2,900 B-run steelhead, the fact sheet says.

 

The tribes project a catch through September 15 of 16 coho salmon. Some 3,119 coho adults have passed the dam as of September 3, along with 482 jack coho. The 10-year average is 16,044 adults and 1,144 jacks. Last year on the same date, 4,227 adults and 824 jacks had passed the dam. There is no limit on the coho catch.

 

See the September 6 Compact Action Notice at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/action_notes.asp

 

Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations are at http://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/fishing/reg_changes/index.asp

 

Information about Washington rule changes can be found at WDFW's website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/

 

Also see:

 

--CBB, August 25, 2017, “Fall Commercial Fishing Begins On Columbia, Low Steelhead Numbers Prompts Idaho To Suspend Retention,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439475.aspx

 

--CBB, July 28, 2017, “Fall Fishing Opens To Lower Than Usual Chinook Returns; Season Includes Rolling Steelhead Closure,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439345.aspx

 

--CBB, July 21, 2017, “Summer Chinook, Sockeye Runs Downgraded; Treaty Commercial Fishery Extended,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439313.aspx

 

--CBB, July 14, 2017, “Harvest Managers Approve More Tribal Fishing, Concerns Expressed Over Low Sockeye, Summer Steelhead,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439267.aspx

 

--CBB, July 7, 2017, “Summer Chinook Fishing Resumes Below Bonneville, Wild Summer Steelhead Passage To Date Very Low,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/439220.aspx

 

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