Three ocean salmon fishery alternatives that were approved for public review Monday, March 9, by the Pacific Fishery Management Council reflect the lowest predicted return of coho salmon to the Columbia River in 20 years.
Oregon and Washington set recreational spring chinook and winter steelhead fishing seasons in the Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam that in April limits the number of days per week anglers will be allowed to fish. And, beginning March 1, angling for salmon and steelhead will not be allowed in the river from Warrior Rock at St. Helens, OR downstream to Buoy 10 to protect hatchery fish returning to Cowlitz and Lewis river hatcheries.
Washington and Oregon Fish and Wildlife directors are bringing the states closer to agreement on Columbia River fishery reform, including changes to mainstem commercial gillnetting and recreational/commercial allocations, at least for this year -- a goal they’ve been working towards since adopting the fishery harvest reforms in 2013.
This has been a busy week for Oregon and Washington recreational and commercial fishing regulations both upstream and downstream of Bonneville Dam.
NOAA Fisheries is proposing to approve and implement fishery management plans for two overfished stocks of chinook salmon – Klamath River fall-run chinook and Sacramento fall-run chinook. The stocks are large contributors to ocean salmon fisheries off the California and Oregon coasts.
Abundance of sub-adult and adult white sturgeon in the Columbia River downstream of Bonneville Dam took a jump this year, but abundance of juvenile sized and one-year-old or younger white sturgeon is lagging, which is indicative of an extended period of low productivity, according to a report by biologists that will be given at the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Commission meeting Feb. 7.
In its first hearing of the year, the two-state Columbia River Compact set a commercial smelt gillnet fishery in the lower Columbia River and approved Treaty commercial and hook and line fishing in areas upstream of Bonneville Dam.
Idaho Department of Fish and Game says it is “well on its way to meeting broodstock goals” for steelhead at Snake, Salmon and Clearwater River hatcheries.
Roy Akins and Toby Wyatt are Idaho salmon and steelhead outfitters who don’t necessarily favor dam breaching as a means to improve fish runs, but now they are willing to consider it and they are urging Idaho Gov. Brad Little to make breaching part of the discussion.