Proposed 37-day Lower Columbia spring chinook sport fishery to be finalized Thursday

Salmon anglers are waiting for announcement of the Columbia River spring chinook fisheries that was expected to be finalized Thursday afternoon (Feb. 23) by Washington and Oregon fisheries managers.

A fact sheet released ahead of the meeting showed what could be a sport catch of 8,900 spring chinook on the Lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam from March 1 to April 6.

As has been the rule in past seasons, boat and bank fishing would be open from mouth up to Beacon Rock, and bank fishing only from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam. Daily limit would be one hatchery king.

Currently fishing is open on Lower Columbia below I-5 for hatchery marked chinook, and from I-5 up to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco is open for hatchery marked steelhead through March 31.

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A forecast of 160,400 upriver spring chinook are expected above Bonneville compared to 188,800 forecasted in 2016 and an actual return of 187,816.

Fishery officials manage for a run size that is at least 30 percent less than forecasted upriver run size. This equates to a run size of 112,280 fish leaving 9,319 fish available to catch and keep.

A 6,905 fish guideline is planned in sport fisheries below Bonneville in Lower Columbia mainstem; 921 fish from Bonneville to the Oregon-Washington state line above McNary; 863 in the Snake River (Washington waters); 20 fish for Wanapum tribe (Upper Columbia); and less or equal of 610 fish for Select Area commercial fisheries.

There is no non-treaty commercial netting in Lower Columbia thus a past season rule of Tuesday closure won’t be in effect this season.

One change in the proposed rulings is a fishing closure at Lewis River mouth area to protect a poor return of 700 spring chinook (escapement goal is 1,380 adult fish) to that system.

Fishing on Columbia mainstream above Bonneville Dam to Washington-Oregon state boundary line….

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