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BARBLESS HOOKS NOW BECOME OPTIONAL IN PORTIONS OF COLUMBIA AND TRIBUTARIES

posted by Mike on 06/11/2019

Barbless hooks to become voluntary in portions of the Columbia River and tributaries

Action: Revises the list of waters where barbless hooks are now voluntary for salmon and steelhead directed fisheries in the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Chief Joseph Dam, and Columbia River tributaries from Buoy 10 to McNary Dam.

Effective date: June 11, 2019.

Species affected: Salmon and steelhead.

Rule and Location:  

A)  Barbed hooks are allowed for salmon and steelhead in the following waters:

  • Blue Creek (Lewis County), from the mouth to Spencer Road
  • Cispus River (Lewis County)
  • Columbia River, from a true north/south line through Buoy 10 to Chief Joseph Dam
  • Coweeman River and tributaries (Cowlitz County)
  • Cowlitz Falls Reservoir (Lake Scanewa) (Lewis County)
  • Cowlitz River (Cowlitz/Lewis County) Barbed hooks are also allowed for cutthroat trout in the Cowlitz River
  • Drano Lake (Skamania County)
  • Elochoman River (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River, West Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  • Kalama River (Cowlitz County)
  • Klickitat River (Klickitat County)
  • Lewis River (Clark County)
  • Rock Creek (Skamania County)
  • Salmon Creek (Clark County): From the mouth to 182nd Avenue Bridge.
  • Tilton River (Lewis County)
  • Toutle River (Cowlitz County)
  • Toutle River, North Fork (Cowlitz County)
  • Washougal River (Clark County)
  • Washougal River, West (North) Fork (Clark/Skamania counties)
  • White Salmon River (Klickitat/Skamania counties)

B)  Selective gear rules, except: barbed hooks are allowed in the following waters:

  • Abernathy Creek and tributaries (Cowlitz County)
  • Cedar Creek and tributaries (tributary of N.F. Lewis) (Clark County)
  • Coal Creek (Cowlitz County)
  • Delameter Creek (Cowlitz County)
  • Germany Creek (Cowlitz County) and all tributaries.
  • Grays River (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River, East Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River, South Fork (Wahkiakum County)
  • Grays River, West Fork tributaries (Wahkiakum County)
  • Green River (Cowlitz County)
  • Hamilton Creek (Skamania County)
  • Kalama River (Cowlitz County):  From 1,000 feet above fishway at upper salmon hatchery to Summers Creek and from the intersection of 6000 and 6420 Rds. to 6600 Rd. bridge immediately downstream of Jacks Creek.
  • Lacamas Creek (Clark County):  From mouth to footbridge at lower falls.
  • Lacamas Creek, tributary of Cowlitz River (Lewis County)
  • Lewis River, East Fork (Clark/Skamania counties):  From mouth to 400 feet below Horseshoe Falls.
  • Little Washougal River (Clark County)
  • Mill Creek (Cowlitz County)
  • Mill Creek (Lewis County):  From the mouth to the hatchery road crossing culvert.
  • Olequa Creek (Lewis/Cowlitz counties)
  • Outlet Creek (Silver Lake) (Cowlitz County)
  • Salmon Creek (Lewis County)
  • Skamokawa Creek (Wahkiakum County)
  • Stillwater Creek (Lewis County)
  • Toutle River, North Fork (Cowlitz County):  From the mouth to the posted deadline below the fish collection facility.
  • Wind River (Skamania County): from 100 feet above Shipherd Falls to Moore Bridge.
  • White Salmon River (Klickitat/Skamania counties): From the county road bridge below the former location of the powerhouse upstream to Big Brother Falls (river mile 16).

C)  Fly fishing only, except: use of barbed hooks is allowed in the following waters:

  • Kalama River (Cowlitz County): From Summers Creek to the intersection of 6000 and 6420 Rds.

Reason for action: This fishing rule change implements the policy direction provided by the commission on March 2, 2019 to make the use of barbless hooks voluntary for salmon and steelhead fisheries in the Columbia River and its tributaries. WDFW is unable to enact this rule change at this time in some areas (reaches of the mainstem that share a border, tributaries upstream of McNary Dam, the Snake River, etc.), due to reciprocity with Idaho and ESA permitting with NOAA.

Additional information: This is a corrected Fishing Rule Change. All Selective Gear Rule requirements remain in place for Swift Reservoir, and barbed hooks are allowed for salmon and steelhead in Salmon Creek (Clark Co.), from the mouth to 182nd Avenue Bridge.

This rule change will become permanent for the 2019/2020 Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet year (which begins July 1, 2019).

Barbless hooks are still required when fishing for sturgeon.

Information contact: Region 5, Ridgefield Office, 360-696-6211; Region 3, Yakima Office, 509-575-2740.

SHAD NUMBERS SOAR TO RECORD PROPORTIONS

posted by Mike on 06/04/2019

The past few days have seen record numbers of shad going thru Bonneville Dam. On May 31st  there were 354,485, June 1st 342,480, June 2nd 352,186 and June 3rd 335,463 passed thru the dam. If you are wanting to get in a little shad fishing, now is the time. We still are a week away from the peak of the shad run. The way it is looking we will see a record run this year. Everyone we have spoken will has had outstanding fishing reports.

 

Will this weekend being Washington's Free Fishing Weekend I'am sure that there will be no lack of anglers.

COLUMBIA RIVER SHAD START TO SHOW

posted by Mike on 05/11/2019

Last Tuesday was the first day that shad started to show at Bonneville. Just a single fish went thru on Tuesday, 8 on Wednesday, 114 on Thursday and 223 on Friday, 10th May. The numbers will only increase over the next couple of weeks to generally fishable numbers by Memorial day weekend. Just a couple of weeks away. The peak of the run will usually occur about the 10th of June thru the 25th of June, with fishing usually going to the 4th of July.

 

At the present time we have good numbers of Shad Darts in quite an array of colors. It's best to get them early in the season while we have a good selection as we cannot restock quickly once we are out. In fact we order our lures in the Fall each year in order to have them by shad season.

 

If you haven't fished shad, it's something that you should put on your things to do list. It's a great fishery with lots of action when the shad are in.

 

Stop by and we'll be glad to fill you in on the techniques of shad fishing.

TWO ADDITIONAL DAYS OF SPRING CHINOOK ABOVE BONNEVILLE

posted by Mike on 05/09/2019

Columbia River spring fishery season to reopen above Bonneville Dam

Action: Reopens spring fishery on the mainstem Columbia River above Bonneville Dam.

Effective date: Saturday, May 11 through Sunday, May 12, 2019.

Species affected: Spring chinook, steelhead.

Reason for action: Reopens the 2019 spring salmon season in the Columbia River consistent with the Joint State Action of May 8, 2019. Catch balance remains available to provide additional fishing opportunity.

Location: Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to the Oregon-Washington border plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines (except for those waters closed under permanent regulations).

Additional information: Daily limit is 6 adipose-fin-clipped salmonids, including no more than 2 adults, of which no more than 1 may be an adult chinook. Release all wild chinook and wild steelhead. Minimum salmon size is 12 inches. Barbless hooks are required and anglers must have a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement.

Information contact: Region 5: 360-696-6211, Region 3: 509-575-2474.

STURGEON FISHING CLOSING ON DALLES POOL

posted by Mike on 01/05/2019

The Dalles Pool closes early for sturgeon retention fishing

OLYMPIA – Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon announced today that The Dalles Pool on the Columbia River will close to sturgeon-retention fishing in at the end of day Sunday, Jan. 6.

The announcement came just four days after the fishery opened Jan. 1, prompted by much higher catches than anticipated in the first three days of fishing.

Bill Tweit, a special assistant at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said an immediate closure was necessary to prevent the harvest from exceeding the quota of 135 white sturgeon in those waters.

"The catch mounted much faster than expected," Tweit said. "The water temperature was higher than usual, but we don't know for certain what caused the bite to come on so strong."

The Dalles Pool, which stretches from The Dalles Dam upriver to John Day Dam, will remain open to catch-and-release fishing.

Bonneville Pool and John Day Pool, two other areas of the Columbia River that also opened for white sturgeon fishing Jan. 1, will remain open to retention fishing until further notice.

In the Bonneville Pool, anglers may retain white sturgeon measuring 38-54 inches (fork length) between Bonneville Dam and The Dalles Dam under a catch guideline of 325 fish.

In the John Day Pool, anglers may retain white sturgeon measuring 43-54 inches (fork length) between John Day Dam and McNary Dam until the catch reaches the 105-fish guideline.

The daily limit in those areas is one white sturgeon per day, with an annual limit of two legal-size fish.

HANFORD REACH TO CLOSE FOR STEELHEAD - NOVEMBER 10TH

posted by Mike on 11/08/2018

Hanford Reach steelhead fishery to close Nov.10

Action: Closes steelhead fishing on the Columbia River from the Highway 395 Bridge (Pasco/Kennewick) upstream to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers.

Effective date: Nov. 10 until further notice.

Species affected: Steelhead.

Location: Highway 395 Bridge (Kennewick/Pasco) upstream to the old Hanford townsite wooden powerline towers.

Reason for action: Steelhead returns to Ringold Springs Hatchery this fall are extremely low (96). The closure is needed to ensure sufficient numbers of steelhead will be available for broodstock to meet hatchery production. 

Additional information: This year's return of Ringold Springs Hatchery steelhead is the lowest return on record in the past 18 years. A total of 300,000 fertilized eggs are needed at Ringold Springs Hatchery this spring to meet the production of 180,000 juvenile steelhead scheduled for release in 2020.

Information contact: Paul Hoffarth, District 4 Fish Biologist, (509) 545-2284.

 

SALMON & STEELHEAD FISHING TO CLOSE SEPTEMBER 12TH IN PORTION OF COLUMBIA

posted by Mike on 09/12/2018

 

Most of the Columbia River closIng to salmon and steelhead fishing

OLYMPIA – Starting Thursday (Sept. 13), fishing for salmon will be closed on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Hwy 395 in Pasco under new rules approved today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon

Deep River in Washington and other tributaries in Oregon (Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough) are also closed to salmon and steelhead angling.

The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) already prohibited steelhead retention in much of the same area of the Columbia River several weeks ago, and the new emergency rule closes angling for both salmon and steelhead in those waters as well.

Bill Tweit, Columbia River fishery coordinator for WDFW, said the counts of fall chinook at Bonneville Dam are 29 percent below preseason forecasts, and on-going fisheries are approaching the allowable catch limits under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

"We recognize that this closure is difficult for anglers, but we have an obligation to meet our ESA goals so that fisheries can continue in the future," he said.

Tweit said the upriver fall chinook run provides the bulk of the harvest opportunity for fall fisheries, but that returns in recent years has been declining due to unfavorable ocean conditions. The preseason forecast for this year is 47 percent of the 10-year average return of upriver bright fall chinook.

The new emergency fishing rule is posted on WDFW's website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

 

COLUMBIA RIVER SOCKEYE OPEN JULY 1ST

posted by Mike on 06/29/2018

Sockeye fishery to open on Columbia River,
but chinook season to close on lower stretch

Starting July 1, anglers can catch and keep sockeye salmon on the Columbia River, but will be required to release any chinook salmon they intercept downriver from Bonneville Dam.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon today agreed to modify fishing rules in joint waters of the Columbia, and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) followed up by extending the sockeye fishery upstream to Chief Joseph Dam.

Before the season got underway, both states agreed to forgo scheduling any sockeye fisheries on the Columbia River due to low projected returns, especially those to the Wenatchee River.

However, an updated run forecast now projects that 209,000 sockeye will return this year – up from the 99,000 previously estimated – providing a sufficient number of fish for recreational fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia, said Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant.

“It’s always exciting to see salmon come in above the pre-season forecast,” Tweit said. “Sockeye can be elusive in the lower river, but anglers generally do well fishing for them from the Tri-Cities to Brewster.”

Snake River fisheries remain closed to protect Snake River sockeye listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

While the preseason forecast for summer chinook has not yet been updated, Tweit said current data indicate that chinook returns are tracking about 20 percent below the initial projection of 67,300 adult fish. That prompted fishery managers to close the lower Columbia River summer chinook season four days earlier than previously scheduled.

“Based on the low catches to date above Bonneville, we decided to close the chinook fishery in the lower river but leave it open upriver from the dam,” Tweit said.

Starting July 1, anglers fishing from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River can still catch a total of six salmon/steelhead a day. The daily limit for adult fish in those waters is two adult sockeye salmon or hatchery adult steelhead, or one of each. Anglers can round out their daily six-fish limit with hatchery jack chinook salmon.

For more information and details on daily limits in each section of the river, see the Fishing Rule Change at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

SPRING CHINOOK FISHERY TO RE-OPEN BOTH ABOVE AND BELOW BONNEVILLE DAM

posted by Mike on 05/23/2018

Spring chinook fishery will reopen
above and below Bonneville Dam

OLYMPIA – Starting Friday (May 25), the popular sport fishery for adult spring chinook salmon will reopen on the Columbia River from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to reopen the fishery, based on an updated run forecast projecting that 116,500 upriver origin spring chinook will return to the Columbia River this year.

While that projection is down from the preseason forecast of 166,700 fish, the run is still strong enough to allow for some additional days of fishing, said Ryan Lothrop, a Columbia River fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

“We’ve been monitoring fish passage at Bonneville very closely, because we didn’t want to reopen the fishery without a better idea of the actual run size,” Lothrop said. “We now know that run was both late and smaller than expected, but it’s still strong enough to support reopening the fishery.”  

The fishery is set to run through June 6 below Bonneville Dam and through June 15 above the dam, although fishing could close sooner if the catch reaches area harvest quotas before those dates or if the run-size is downgraded again.

Lothrop said more than 2,500 adult spring chinook are currently available for harvest below Bonneville Dam, along with 500 chinook in the area above the dam. Those numbers reflect a reduction in catch quotas consistent with the new run forecast.

As in previous openings, anglers will be allowed to catch one hatchery adult chinook and one hatchery steelhead, or two hatchery steelhead each day. All wild chinook and wild steelhead must be released.

In the lower river, the spring chinook fishery will be open for boat and bank fishing from the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line near the mouth of the Columbia, to Beacon Rock. Bank anglers can also fish upstream from Beacon Rock to the deadline below Bonneville.

Above Bonneville Dam, the fishery will be open to boat and bank anglers from the Tower Island power lines upriver to the Washington/Oregon border near Umatilla. Bank fishing (hand-casted only) is also allowed between the dam and the Tower Island power lines, located about six miles below The Dalles Dam.

For more information, see the Fishing Rule change at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/erule.jsp?id=2138.

 

LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER STURGEON SEASONS

posted by Mike on 04/17/2018

Sturgeon fishery set in Columbia River
estuary downstream from Wauna powerlines

Action: Allows a limited recreational retention fishery for white sturgeon in the Columbia River estuary. White sturgeon from 44-inches minimum to 50-inches maximum fork length may be retained.

Effective Dates: Monday, Wednesday, and Saturdays: May 14, 16, 19, 21, 23, 26, 28, 30, and June 2, 4, 2018. Sturgeon angling, including catch and release, closes at 2 p.m. on each open day.

Species affected: White sturgeon.

Locations: The Columbia River from the Wauna powerlines to the mouth at Buoy 10, including Youngs Bay and all adjacent Washington tributaries.

Reason for action: Increased legal-size population over the past few years has allowed for a conservative retention fishery within the lower Columbia River.

Other information: Catch-and-release fishing for sturgeon will continue to be allowed on all non-retention days.
Daily white sturgeon limit: One fish.
Annual white sturgeon limit: Two fish.
Retention of green sturgeon is prohibited.

Information Contact: Region 5 office; 360-696-6211

COLUMBIA RIVER REOPENS FOR ONE MORE DAY BELOW BONNEVILLE DAM - MAY 14TH

posted by Mike on 04/12/2018

Chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam
will reopen this Saturday for one day

OLYMPIA – Anglers will have an opportunity to fish for spring chinook salmon in the lower Columbia River this Saturday (April 14) for one day only under an agreement reached Wednesday by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Fishing regulations will be the same as those in effect before the initial chinook fishery below Bonneville Dam closed April 7 for a fishery assessment.

Under those rules, anglers can retain one adult hatchery chinook salmon as part of a daily limit of two adult fish that can also include hatchery coho salmon and hatchery steelhead. Boat anglers can fish from Buoy 10 up to Beacon Rock, while bank anglers can fish all the way up to Bonneville Dam.

All anglers fishing the Columbia River are required to use barbless hooks, and must release any salmon or steelhead not visibly marked as hatchery fish by a clipped adipose fin.

Bill Tweit, a fishery manager at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the one-day fishery this Saturday is designed in part as a "make-up day" for the last Saturday of the initial opener, when stormy weather kept many anglers off the water.

Tweit said fishery managers from both states are taking a cautious approach to extending the fishery given the low number of spring chinook observed passing up the fish ladders to date at Bonneville Dam.

"We're taking this a step at a time," Tweit said. "We know more fish are moving into the river, but we need to see signs of higher numbers of fish passing the dam before we consider reopening the fishery again."

According to the preseason forecast, approximately 166,700 upriver spring chinook salmon are expected to return to the Columbia River this year. Based on that forecast, fishery managers set an initial catch guideline of 7,157 upriver chinook for the sport fishery below the dam, but so far anglers have caught only about half that many fish.

"If the run meets or exceeds expectations, we can give anglers more time to fish below the dam," Tweit said. "But right now, we need to make sure we can meet conservation requirements and our obligations to fisheries farther upriver."

Anglers age 15 and older are required to have a valid 2018-19 fishing license to fish in Washington state waters. A Columbia River Salmon and Steelhead Endorsement (https://wdfw.wa.gov/licensing/crss_endorsement/) is also required to fish for salmon or steelhead on the Columbia River or its tributaries.

SOCKEYE FISHING TO CLOSE ON UPPER COLUMBIA RIVER

posted by Mike on 07/07/2017

Sockeye fishing to close on upper Columbia River

Action: Close sockeye salmon fishing

Effective date: 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, July 8, 2017

Areas: 

  • Columbia River from the Washington/Oregon border upstream to Chief Joseph Dam
  • Wenatchee River
  • Similkameen River
  • Okanogan River
  • Chelan River

Reason for action: A revised sockeye salmon forecast of approximately 100,000 for the Columbia River is half of the pre-season forecast of 200,000 fish. After subtracting fish already harvested, those destined for Lake Wenatchee, and pre-spawn mortality, all remaining sockeye must be directed toward escapement and hatchery broodstock. 

Other angler information: Fishing for summer chinook salmon remains open as specified in the 2017-2018 sport fishing rules pamphlet.

Information contact: Chad Jackson, Region 2 Fish Program Manager, Ephrata, (509) 754-4624, Travis Maitland, District 7 Fish Biologist, Wenatchee, (509) 665-3337 or Ryan Fortier, District 6 Fish Biologist, Twisp, (509) 997-0316

Fishers must have a current Washington fishing license, appropriate to the fishery. Check the WDFW "Fishing in Washington" rules pamphlet for details on fishing seasons and regulations. Fishing rules are subject to change (See: http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/)  Check the WDFW Fishing hotline for the latest rule information at (360) 902-2500, press 2 for recreational rules. For the Shellfish Rule Change hotline call (360) 796-3215 or toll free 1-866-880-5431.

SUMMER CHINOOK FISHERY REOPENS ON LOWER COLUBIA RIVER

posted by Mike on 07/06/2017

Summer chinook fishery reopens on the lower Columbia River

OLYMPIA – The fishery for summer chinook salmon is scheduled to reopen tomorrow (July 7) and run through July 31 on the lower Columbia River.

A new, higher projection of this year's summer chinook return allowed fishery managers from Washington and Oregon to reopen the fishery below Bonneville Dam after closing the season early last week.

Based on the latest projection, 74,100 adult summer chinook will return to the Columbia this year – up from 63,100 anticipated at the start of the season. As a result, the catch guideline for the recreational fishery has increased by 1,290 fish, said Ron Roler, a Columbia River fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

"The higher run forecast allows us to reopen the fishery through the end of the summer season, when the fall fishing season gets underway," Roler said. "That's been our goal all along, so long as the fishery meets established conservation standards."

The area of the Columbia River affected by the states' action extends from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upriver to Bonneville Dam. As before, anglers can catch up to two adult hatchery chinook, two adult sockeye, or one of each. One hatchery steelhead may also be retained as part of two-fish daily limit.

Barbless hooks are required, and anglers must release any summer chinook with an intact adipose fin.

Washington state fishing rules are posted on WDFW's website at http://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/

LOWER COLUMBIA RIVER STURGEON FISHERY CLOSES

posted by Mike on 06/15/2017

Sturgeon fishing closes in lower Columbia,
opens June 23 for one day in Bonneville Pool

OLYMPIA – The retention fishery for white sturgeon in the Columbia River estuary closed today at 2 p.m., but anglers will get an additional day to catch and keep sturgeon upriver Friday, June 23 in the Bonneville Pool.

Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved both actions after comparing catch-to-date to the harvest guidelines for sturgeon fisheries in both areas.

As of today, the cumulative catch by anglers fishing from the Wauna power lines downstream to the mouth of the Columbia is expected to reach – or slightly exceed – the 3,000-fish harvest guideline for the lower river.

As a result, both states agreed to cancel a final day of fishing in previously scheduled Saturday, June 17, said Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW).

"The combined catch in the lower river rose somewhat more quickly than expected," Roler said. "We knew this would be a popular fishery, and that's definitely turned out to be the case."

The fishery, open three days a week since June 5, marked the first time in three years that anglers have been allowed to catch and keep white sturgeon below Bonneville Dam. Closed in 2014 to allow stocks to rebuild, the fishery opened on a limited basis this year based on indications that the area's sturgeon population has grown each year since then.

The lower Columbia River remains open to catch-and-release fishing.

Meanwhile, fishery managers agreed to open the Bonneville Pool on Friday, June 23 for one more day of summer retention fishing. The catch assessment shows that 144 sturgeon are still available for harvest under that area's 325-fish harvest guideline.

Anglers are limited to one sturgeon per day, measuring 38 to 54 inches from their snout to the tip of their tail.

WDFW & ODFW APPROVE LIMITED COLUMBIA RIVER STURGEON FISHERY

posted by Mike on 06/01/2017

Columbia River sturgeon fisheries approved below and above Bonneville

OLYMPIA – Starting Monday (June 5), anglers can catch and keep white sturgeon in the lower Columbia River for the first time in three years under an agreement reached today by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

The two states approved the limited retention fishery based on surveys indicating that the number of legal-size sturgeon below Bonneville Dam has grown each year since 2014, when the fishery was closed to allow stocks to rebuild.

The fishery will be open for six days from the mouth of the river to the Wauna power lines (downstream from Longview) on the following schedule:

  • Monday, June 5; Wednesday, June 7; Saturday, June 10
  • Monday, June 12; Wednesday, June 14; Saturday, June 17

Anglers will not be allowed to retain sturgeon after 2 p.m. on any of those days.

Anglers will have a daily limit of one fish measuring 44 to 50 inches from its snout to the fork in its tail. An annual limit of two white sturgeon, regardless of where they are caught, will also be in effect.

In a separate action, both states also approved a one-day sturgeon fishery for Saturday, June 10 in the Bonneville Pool, where 229 fish are available for harvest under current harvest guidelines. The legal size limit for that fishery is 38 to 54 inches.

Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the two states are taking a "cautionary approach" to the fishery below Bonneville Dam.

"We believe the sturgeon population in the lower river has increased to the point where it can support a limited fishery, without impeding future growth," Roler said. "This is a very popular fishery, and we need to take this one step at a time."

Roler said the fishery managers currently estimate there are 165,600 legal-size fish in the Columbia River Bonneville Dam. The harvest guideline for the upcoming fishery is 3,000 sturgeon.

In designing the fishery, the two states adopted several measures specifically aimed at controlling the catch, Roler said. Those measures include:

  • Holding the harvest rate to 3.8 percent, compared to 14.5 percent in the years before the closure.
  • Protecting larger-size fish by reducing the previous maximum size limit of 54 inches to a 50-inch maximum fork length.
  • Reducing the range of legal-sized fish from 38-54 inches to 44-50 inches.

For additional information about both sturgeon openings, see WDFW's Emergency Fishing Rule webpage at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.

Roler noted that the fishery will overlap with the arrival and departure of the Rose Festival fleet on June 10 and June 12. Anglers are advised that there is a Homeland Security buffer of 500 yards surrounding all naval vessels and boats are not permitted to approach within 100 yards.

SPRING CHINOOK SEASON EXTENDED THROUGH APRIL 10 ON COLUMBIA RIVER

posted by Mike on 03/30/2017

Today the States of Washington and Oregon DFW staff held a Joint State hearing to consider an extension of the spring chinook fishery in the lower Columbia River which was scheduled to close on April 6.  They extended the fishery through April 10, giving early notice and time for friends and families time to plan a few extra days of fishing.  Enjoy!
 
According to the staff report, the estimated Chinook catch through Sunday March 26 is 53 kept adult fish and 6 released (~25 upriver mortalities) from 8,305 angler trips compared to an expectation of 1,575 kept (1,150 upriver mortalities) from 33,900 angler trips based on preseason modeling.  The extreme high water conditions, combined with turbidity and lower than normal river temperatures are expected to continue into next week and potentially beyond.   
 
In addition to extending the fishery, both agencies committed to using real time data and nimble reaction times to provide further reopeners.  Tucker Jones noted that fisheries in April can be very dynamic and further openings were likely to be in "chunks". (which is a very technical term for days/week).  They hope to open fisheries, review catch rates and run updates to determine opportunities for further fisheries. 
 

COWLITZ RIVER SMELT FISHERY A BUST

posted by Mike on 02/27/2017

We'll just have to wait and see if there will be an additional day of smelt dipping allowed on the Cowlitz considering that there was no impact upon the population as virtually no smelt were caught. I hope that at least the WDFW actually does some test fishing prior to the opening as not to waste folks time and effort to go down for nothing. I am sure there are more than just a few ticked off fishermen.

COLUMBIA RIVER REFORMS THROWN UNDER THE BUS BY ODFW COMMISSION

posted by Mike on 01/23/2017

Late tonight, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife Commission voted 4-3 on an Enhanced Commercial Rebalance of the Columbia River reforms.  This decision violated a reasonable compromise the State of Washington passed last week, ignored recommendations from ODFW staff and broke a promise to over 400,000 anglers across Oregon and Washington.  These actions were taken despite authors of the plan presenting evidence of its success and legislators, both Republican and Democrat, strongly encouraging commissioners to stay the course. 
 
The Commissioners, lead by Governor Kate Brown’s appointees, voted to permanently leave gillnets in the mainstem and renege on the sportfishing priority.  They allocated more fish to the gillnetters in the fall, which will pound on weaker stocks of steelhead and sturgeon and further cut into already short seasons for our industry.  A panel of conservation groups (Oregon League of Conservation Voters, Trout Unlimited, Wild Salmon Center) all strenuously encouraged the Commission to stick to the conservation goals of the plan, but this fell on deaf ears. 
 
Governor Brown’s Commission has thrown the river into chaos, put the ODFW agency budget at risk, showed a disregard for our relationship with the state of Washington Commission, and insulted anglers who have sacrificed both financially and with less opportunity.   Their complete focus on a select few gill-netters, despite statutory language that includes the enhanced economics of the sports fleet, is beyond comprehension and explanation. Frankly, their actions suggest they care nothing for the average angler, but for a select group of gill-net fisherman and it's less than 200 licensees. 
 
For the first time in over 100 years the two states will have non concurrent rules.  ODFW staff expressed disbelief and concern about what to do. At one point ODFW asked how Oregon State Police would enforce a divide in the river and OSP had no comment. Are Oregon anglers required to purchase both Oregon and Washington licenses to fish the entire river?  Or, more likely, will each side be forced to buy a license from their state and be required to only fish their side of the river. This has the potential to cost millions of dollars and jobs for the hard working men and women who make up the sport fishing industry.  Not including the months of potential litigation between the two states. 
 
 Governor Brown promised and committed twice to CCA Oregon, NSIA, Steelheaders NW and NW Guides and Anglers that she was committed to making the Columbia River reforms a reality. Unfortunately, her appointees and Commission must not have gotten the message.  Much more to follow
 
Highlights of the policy adopted today include:
  • Spring and summer Chinook Endangered Species Act (ESA) impacts will be allocated 80 percent for recreational fisheries; 20 percent for commercial fisheries. Commercial fishing with tangle nets allowed on the mainstem river in the spring and largemesh gillnets in the summer.
  • Fall Chinook ESA impacts will be allocated 66 percent for recreational fisheries and 34 percent for commercial fisheries. Gillnets will be allowed in Zones 4 and 5 and coho tangle nets will be allowed in Zones 1 through 3.
  • Continuation of the Youngs Bay “control zone” fishery closure.
  • Removal of the barbless hook requirement for lower Willamette River and Oregon off-channel recreational fisheries.
  • Continued enhancement in off-channel areas for commercial harvest.
  • Additional spring Chinook production to Oregon Select Area Fishery Evaluation (SAFE) areas.
 
 
Liz Hamilton, Executive Director
Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association
PO Box 4, Oregon City, OR 97045
503.631.8859  503.704.1772m
www.nsiafishing.org
 
 
 

LAST DAY TO FISH COLUMBIA FROM MOUTH TO PASCO FOR SALMON & STEELHEAD

posted by Mike on 10/20/2016

Fishing for salmon, steelhead to close from mouth of Columbia River to Pasco

Action:  Fishing for salmon and steelhead will close Oct. 22 on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the river upstream to the Hwy 395 Bridge near Pasco, Washington.    

Species affected: Salmon and steelhead.

Effective dates: Oct. 22 through Dec. 31, 2016.  

Location:  Mainstem Columbia from Buoy 10 upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge.

Reason for action: Based on the most recent in-season run forecast, the non-treaty allocation of Upriver Bright (URB) fall chinook has been reached. The URB component of the run includes Snake River fall chinook, which are listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act (ESA).

Additional information: Allowable impact rates on listed chinook salmon stocks are based on a percentage of the total chinook run. The preseason forecast for the 2016 fall chinook run to the Columbia River was 960,200 fish, including an estimated 579,600 URB chinook. Based on actual returns, those projections have been reduced several times during the course of the season by the multi-jurisdictional Technical Advisory Committee (TAC). On Oct. 17, the TAC reduced its official forecast of the URB chinook run to 412,700, leaving no additional impacts available for the non-treaty fishery.

Information contact:  (360) 696-6211. For latest information press *1010.

COLUMBIA RIVER CHINOOK FISHERY TO REMAIN OPEN THROUGH SEPTEMBER 22

posted by Mike on 09/14/2016

Columbia River sport fishery remains open for fall chinook

Action:  Allows retention of hatchery chinook on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Warrior Rock. 

Species affected:  Hatchery chinook, defined as having a clipped adipose fin or a clipped left ventral fin.

Effective dates:  Thursday, Sept.15 through Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016.

Daily limit:

  • Buoy 10:  Chinook minimum size 24-inches.  Coho minimum size 16-inches.  Daily limit is two fish of which only one may be a chinook.  Only one hatchery steelhead may be retained per day. Release all salmon other than hatchery (adipose or left-ventral fin clipped) chinook and adipose fin-clipped coho.
  • Tongue Point/Rocky Point to Warrior Rock: Minimum size is 12-inches.  Daily limit is six fish, but only two may be adults, of which only one may be a hatchery chinook.  Only one hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.  Release all salmon other than hatchery (adipose or left-ventral fin clipped) chinook and adipose fin-clipped coho.

Reason for action: Harvestable numbers of hatchery salmon remain available based on current chinook forecasts and harvest estimates to date.

All other permanent rules apply.

Columbia River sport fishery remains open for fall chinook

Action:  Allows retention of hatchery chinook on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Warrior Rock. 

Species affected:  Hatchery chinook, defined as having a clipped adipose fin or a clipped left ventral fin.

Effective dates:  Thursday, Sept.15 through Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016.

Daily limit:

  • Buoy 10:  Chinook minimum size 24-inches.  Coho minimum size 16-inches.  Daily limit is two fish of which only one may be a chinook.  Only one hatchery steelhead may be retained per day. Release all salmon other than hatchery (adipose or left-ventral fin clipped) chinook and adipose fin-clipped coho.
  • Tongue Point/Rocky Point to Warrior Rock: Minimum size is 12-inches.  Daily limit is six fish, but only two may be adults, of which only one may be a hatchery chinook.  Only one hatchery steelhead may be retained per day.  Release all salmon other than hatchery (adipose or left-ventral fin clipped) chinook and adipose fin-clipped coho.

Reason for action: Harvestable numbers of hatchery salmon remain available based on current chinook forecasts and harvest estimates to date.

All other permanent rules apply.

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