The lowest return to the Columbia River of summer steelhead on record in 2021 is prompting states to continue protections for the fish into 2022.
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee this week said he is seeking $187 million during the 2022 legislative session for salmon recovery strategies, including funds for studying the impacts of breaching the four Lower Snake River dams.
Washington and Oregon this week reduced weekly sturgeon angling opportunities to three days a week in The Dalles pool during January as a way to help ensure fishing can extend to the end of the month.
After a year with the worst return of steelhead to Washington’s coastal streams, the state’s fishery agency is saying the run is in decline and will likely get worse until ocean conditions improve.
In-season management of Columbia River fisheries came to an end this week as Oregon and Washington held this year’s final two-state Columbia River Compact hearing after a spring, summer and fall of mixed salmon and steelhead returns.
Once extirpated in much of the Snake River basin, coho salmon are making a big return this year to basin tributaries, allowing Idaho and Oregon to open rivers to coho angling. Both states announced this month the opening of coho angling in the Grande Ronde and Clearwater rivers.
With a run of steelhead into Idaho that is one-third of the 10-year average and the third worst run in the last ten years, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game is dialing back the number of fish that recreational anglers can retain to one per day and three in possession.
Oregon and Washington are allowing the retention of fall adult and jack chinook in the recreational fishery downstream of Warrior Rock beginning Oct. 1.
Columbia River harvest managers have now opened recreational salmon angling from Bonneville Dam to Astoria to take advantage of a good fall chinook return (record passage at Lower Granite Dam) and a booming coho run. In contrast, the steelhead return during this period is still dismal.