Summer chinook recreational fishing that was
to extend to the end of July was abruptly canceled downstream of Bonneville Dam
where anglers have already exceeded a new catch allocation based on a 23
percent decline in the run size forecast.
The lower allocation was a result of the U.S.
v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee unofficially downgrading this week the
number of summer chinook it expects this year.
As it shut down summer chinook fishing, the
two-state Columbia River Compact at its meeting this week opened recreational
angling for sockeye salmon that previously was closed due to a low preseason
forecast of the fish.
TAC downgraded the summer chinook run from
67,300 fish at the river’s mouth to 52,000 at its Monday, June 25 meeting, but
it more than doubled the anticipated run of sockeye salmon from 99,000 to
209,000 fish, allowing the Compact to open sockeye angling on the mainstem
TAC’s summer chinook update is unofficial,
according to Stuart Ellis of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission
and chair of TAC, but the group will meet again Monday, July 2, he said, and at
that meeting they will likely officially downgrade the run. The Compact
conservatively accepted the unofficial in-season forecast as it reset fishing
rules on the river at its meeting Thursday, June 28.
The Compact and TAC consider chinook salmon
that pass Bonneville Dam beginning June 16 to be summer chinook. The count at
the dam as of June 27 was just 20,870 fish. Passage is typically 50 percent
complete by June 30 and has been less than expected, according to the Compact’s
June 28 Summer Fact Sheet #1 (https://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/FS/18/18_06_28sf1.pdf).
On the other hand, 120,577 sockeye had passed
the dam by June 27 (half of the run is typically over the dam by June 26), so
the run of sockeye has been far larger than what was anticipated by the
preseason forecast. Last year just 50,329 sockeye had passed the dam by June 27
and the 10-year average is 186,613.
In addition, through June 27, some 5,141
Skamania steelhead have been counted at Bonneville. That includes 2,181
unclipped fish. Based on the 10-year average timing, the total run would
normally be about 79 percent complete and the unclipped run would be about 72
percent complete at Bonneville on June 3, the fact sheet says. TAC says the
total run is tracking less than expected, but the unclipped portion of the run
is near the preseason forecast.
Given the higher preseason forecast for summer
chinook, fisheries managers had previously set fishing quotas of 20,624 chinook
for Treaty fishing and 3,541 for non-Treaty recreational and select area
With the lower forecast, however, the
allocations dropped to 14,059 for Treaty fishers and 919 for non-Treaty
fishers. That breaks down to 184 non-Treaty upriver chinook for commercial
gillnetters in select areas near Astoria, 625 for recreational anglers
downstream of Bonneville Dam and 110 upriver chinook for recreational anglers
from Bonneville Dam upstream to Priest Rapids Dam.
Based on catch estimates of 455 summer chinook
kept added to anticipated release mortalities since the opening on June 22,
lower Columbia River retention is already at 986 fish or 158 percent of the
revised allocation for the fishery of 625 fish. As a result, summer chinook
retention will close from the Astoria/Megler Bridge to Bonneville Dam at the
end of the day tomorrow, Saturday, June 30. The lower Columbia catch also
includes 100 steelhead kept (28 released) and 24 sockeye, all released.
Angling for hatchery summer chinook from
Bonneville upstream to the Oregon and Washington border, which opened June 16,
is scheduled to continue through July 31. Just 9 summer chinook have been kept
in that fishery with fewer than 300 angler trips.
Only five chinook have been caught in
Washington waters from the border upstream to Priest Rapids Dam. That fishery
also opened June 16 and will continue through July 31.
Sockeye retention in the mainstem recreational
summer fisheries was prohibited due to concerns regarding Wenatchee River
escapement. However, escapement goals are now expected to be met, the Fact
Sheet says. Based on the upgraded sockeye return, approximately 1,670 sockeye
are now available for mainstem recreational fisheries downstream of the Snake
River. That fishery opens July 1 and extends from the Oregon and Washington
border downstream to the Astoria/Megler Bridge at Astoria.
Anglers can retain two salmonids per day,
including sockeye or hatchery steelhead, downstream of Bonneville Dam. Upstream
of the dam to the Oregon and Washington border, anglers can keep two salmonids,
including hatchery steelhead, hatchery chinook and sockeye.
Treaty commercial fishing has some way to go
to meet its allocation. After two weeks of fishing since June 16, the Compact
approved one more week of Treaty gillnetting in Zone 6 (July 2 – 6, upstream of
Bonneville Dam). Total projected catch through July 6 is estimated to be
11,172, leaving 2,887 remaining to be caught.
Non-treaty commercial fishing in select areas
is also under allocation for upriver fish because these fisheries are limited
to areas where their take is almost all hatchery fish. Gillnetting in Blind
Slough/Knappa Slough and Tongue Point was to end June 29, but the Compact
extended fishing eight days for 12 hours each day during July in those areas.
The extensions allow access to late-returning
select area spring chinook that are still present in the fishing areas, as well
as providing partial access to the commercial sturgeon allocation, the Fact
Sheet says. The catch expectation is 800 – 1,200 chinook and less than 100
white sturgeon. At the end of the new fishing periods total catch of upriver
fish is expected to not exceed 50.
Idaho is closing some rivers this weekend
because harvest goals have been met. After Sunday, July 1, all sections of the
Lower Salmon River and the Little Salmon River will close, as well as the North
Fork of the Clearwater River and the Lochsa River. The South Fork of the Salmon
River and the Upper Salmon River will remain open (for regulations, see https://idfg.idaho.gov/fish/chinook/rules).
Fisheries managers at the Idaho Department of
Fish and Game are anticipating about 2,000 adult chinook will return to the
South Fork of the Salmon River, which would provide a sport-fishing harvest
share of about 680 fish. The sport harvest share for the Upper Salmon will be
about 250 to 300 chinook, according to an IDFG news release.
The June 28, 2018 Compact Action Notice that
outlines actions taken by the Compact this week is at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/fish/OSCRP/CRM/CAN/18/180628_notice.pdf.
--CBB, June 8,, 2018, “Spring Chinook Fishing
Extended With Increased Bag Limit; So Far, Jacks Passage Very Low,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440892.aspx
--CBB, June 1, 2018, “Spring Chinook Forecast
Downgraded, But Managers Say Run Good Enough For More Fishing,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440847.aspx
--CBB, May 18, 2018, “Spring Chinook Fishing
Closed Until Run Update; Steelhead Fishing Opens In Lower Columbia,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440767.aspx
--CBB, May 4, 2018, “Daily Spring Chinook
Passage At Bonneville Dam Picks Up, But Still Far Below 10-Year Average,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440652.aspx
-- CBB, April 27, 2018, “Spring Chinook
Fishing Opens Saturday In Idaho Though Few Fish Have Crossed Lower Granite,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440609.aspx
--CBB, April 13, 2018, “Low Bonneville Dam
Passage For Spring Chinook Results In One More Fishing Day In Lower Columbia,” http://www.cbbulletin.com/440519.aspx
-- CBB, February 23, 2018, “States Set
Columbia River Spring Chinook Fishing, Hear Concerns About Upriver
-- CBB, February 2, 2018, “2018 Fishing
Season: Gillnetting Begins For Salmon, Smelt In Limited Areas Of Mainstem