With an in-season forecast this week increasing the Columbia River fall chinook salmon run by 13 percent, Oregon and Washington are opening fall chinook angling Saturday, Sept. 19, one week earlier than preseason fishery plans.
The Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission at its Friday meeting adopted revised language for its Columbia River Basin Salmon Management Policy, changing the allocation of harvest between recreational anglers and commercial gillnetters under an “abundance-based approach.”
Although there has been no change in expected returns, passage of fall chinook at Bonneville is sufficient to reopen recreational angling opportunities for the fish from Buoy 10 to the Oregon and Washington border, according to the two-state Columbia River Compact at a hearing Wednesday, Sept. 9.
Oregon and Washington Columbia River fisheries managers doubled the bag limit for salmon at the popular Buoy 10 fishery from one coho to two salmon, one of which can be a chinook, Sept. 5 and 6, just in time for the Labor Day weekend.
Oregon and Washington Thursday shut down commercial gillnetting for fall chinook salmon on the mainstem Columbia River, rescinding the last of the seven 12-hour gillnet periods approved last month.
With the run of summer steelhead expected to return to the Snake River basin at about 40 percent of the 10-year average, the Idaho Fish and Wildlife Commission at its meeting Thursday, Aug. 20, reduced the number of the fish anglers in the state can keep when fishing the Salmon, Little Salmon and Snake rivers. Steelhead angling opens on those rivers Sept. 1.
Oregon and Washington opened the Columbia River mainstem to commercial gillnetters for fall chinook salmon, seven night-time openings that are to begin Monday, Aug. 10. In addition, the two-state Columbia River Compact approved continued commercial gillnetting in Select Areas in the lower river, beginning Aug. 4.
A five-year plan for non-recurring maintenance needs and infrastructure fixes at aging 35-to-40-year-old Snake River hatcheries shows a budget that is $5 million short, raising the question of who pays, according to managers and operators at the hatcheries who laid out their funding needs at the Northwest Power and Conservation Council’s Fish and Wildlife Committee meeting Tuesday, July 14.
Although the 50-mile long Hanford Reach has long been considered the last free-flowing stretch on the Columbia River above Bonneville Dam, it’s actually tucked into a large and very complex system of hydroelectric dams.