Northwest Chinook, Sturgeon Seasons Set
Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring chinook salmon and sturgeon fishing seasons for the Columbia and Willamette rivers during a joint state hearing.
The Columbia River spring chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 198,400 returning upriver spring chinook. Under fishery agreements with Columbia River treaty tribes, the two states adopted a 30 percent early-season run size buffer, leaving a combined harvest guideline of 7,750 fish in the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.
The sturgeon seasons adopted at the joint state hearing are based on a reduced total guideline of 17,000 harvestable fish for 2011, which represents a reduction of nearly 30 percent from the 2010 guideline and a 40 percent reduction from 2009. Retention sturgeon fishing is currently open in the Columbia River but was closed on the Willamette in an emergency action adopted earlier this year
During Tuesday's meeting, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it will reopen retention sturgeon fishing on the Willamette three days a week beginning Thursday, Feb. 17 and continuing until a harvest guideline of 2,550 fish is achieved.
"There has been a great deal of interest on Willamette sturgeon," said Williams, who announced the Oregon action after the joint state hearing. "We saw a great deal of effort last fall on the Willamette that amounted to over 500 fish caught in three days. We expect the fishery to be good when it reopens on the 17th."
About 60 people including sport and commercial fishers showed up to listen and present testimony at the hearing, conducted at the Museum of the Oregon Territory in Oregon City.
The following is a summary of recreational fishing seasons adopted at the meeting.
Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam
Prior to March 1, permanent rules, as outlined in the 2011 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.
Boat angling will be allowed seven days per week from March 1 through April 4 from Buoy 10 upstream to Rooster Rock. Bank angling will be allowed during the same timeframe from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam. This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 7,750 upriver spring chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on results.
The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a chinook. The rules also allow retention of up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.
Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border
This area is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead through March 15 under permanent rules, as outlined in the 2011 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
Effective March 16, this area will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and adipose fin-clipped chinook through April 24. This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 1,050 upriver spring chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on results.
The daily bag limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, and up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.
Angling for salmon and steelhead from a boat between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles down stream from The Dalles Dam, is prohibited. Bank angling is allowed in this area.
The Willamette River is open to retention of adipose fin-clipped adult chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead seven days a week the entire year, and ODFW is leaving that regulation in place based on an expected return of 104,000 spring chinook, which is comparable to last year. The bag limit on the Willamette below Willamette Falls is two adipose fin-clipped chinook. Above the falls, one additional adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained under regulations for the combined salmon/steelhead bag limit.
Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Wauna power lines (River Mile 40)
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed seven days a week Jan. 1 - April 30, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of between 38 and 54 inches. This area is closed to retention of white sturgeon May 1-May 13. The season reopens seven days a week from May 14 through June 26 and July 1-4, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of 41 to 54 inches.
This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 6,800 fish and may be shortened or extended, depending on results.
Columbia River from Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam (including all adjacent Washington tributaries)
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Jan. 1 - July 31 and Oct. 8 - Dec. 31. This fishery will be managed to a harvest guideline of 3,410 fish and may be shortened or extended, depending on results. Angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the upstream end of Skamania Island at River Marker #82 upstream to Bonneville Dam May 1 - Aug. 31.
The daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches.
Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam
This area is expected to reach the harvest guideline of 2,000 fish around Feb. 18, 2011 and will close to retention of white sturgeon effective 12:01 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 19. Catch-and-release sturgeon angling will remain open.
Columbia River from The Dalles Dam to John Day Dam
This area is open to retention of white sturgeon seven days a week under permanent rules from Jan. 1 until the annual harvest guideline of 300 fish is met. The legal size limit for retention in this area is 43-54 inches fork length./p>
Columbia River from John Day Dam to McNary Dam
This area is expected to reach the harvest guideline of 500 fish by the last week of February or the first week of March. Catch-and-release sturgeon angling will remain open.
Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls including the Multnomah Channel
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Feb. 17 until the guideline of 2,550 fish is achieved. The daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches.
On the Willamette, angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the I-205 Bridge upstream to Willamette Falls May 1 - Aug. 31.