State fishery managers approve 37-day spring chinook season on Lower Columbia

State fishery managers from Washington and Oregon approved the Columbia River spring chinook fishing seasons that reflect a 37-day lower river fishery.

The Lower Columbia River spring chinook season is currently open below the I-5 Bridge for hatchery-marked fish, and beginning Wednesday (March 1) through April 6 boat and bank fishing will be open from lower river mouth at Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock, and bank fishing only from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam. The daily limit is two salmon, but only one may be a hatchery-marked chinook.

The forecast calls for 160,400 upriver spring chinook 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 with 9,319 fish available to catch and keep.

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That leaves 6,905 in the guideline for 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.

Also in effect from March 16 through May 15, the Columbia River will be open for catch and keep hatchery-marked steelhead from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 Bridge in Pasco, and shad from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam. This rule applies only during days when the spring chinook fishery is open.

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

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