In a spring chinook salmon season that just keeps expanding, Oregon and Washington just opened more doors — wide.
And they disagreed with each other on a proposal to add more commercial fishing time in a portion of the lower Columbia River. Without consensus, the proposal died.
However, the states, meeting remotely as the Columbia River Compact, agreed Thursday afternoon to:
- Raise salmon bag limits to two hatchery chinook from Tongue Point upriver to the Oregon/Washington border.
- Move the lower river boat angling deadline up to the popular fishing area below Bonneville Dam.
- Reopen angling in traditional open areas above Bonneville Dam and add steelhead to the two-hatchery fish daily limit.
- Add two days to sturgeon retention fishing in the estuary.
Sturgeon retention will be legal on June 8 and 11 upriver to the Wauna power lines, before 2 p.m. each day.
Saturday and Sunday are Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon. The following weekend (June 11-12) is Free Fishing Weekend in Washington.
Fish counts for salmon at Bonneville Dam’s ladder remain well above both the five- and 10-year averages, prompting the states’ scientists to (again) increase the preseason forecast of 122,900 to 192,000.
Managers count all returning Columbia chinook salmon as spring fish through June 15, after which they officially become summer fish and new angling rules apply.
In an unusual split, a proposed two-day commercial tanglenet season between Hayden Island power lines and Beacon Rock was rejected, despite the proposal’s requirements for observers, small-mesh net and limits to only hatchery chinook.
A recent commercial season in the same area yielded relatively few participants, few salmon and thousands of shad, which commercial netters consider a hindrance.
Washington, represented by Charlene Hurst of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, favored the season, but Tucker Jones of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said June tanglenet fishing would jeopardize a building run of smaller sockeye salmon, some of them endangered.
Hurst asked for at least one day of netting, then just one four-hour season instead of eight, but Jones wouldn’t budge and the states ended the Compact meeting without allowing any additional mainstem commercial fishing.
— Bill Monroe for The Oregonian/OregonLive
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