Thursday, July 31, 2014

More upriver fall chinook salmon are returning to the Columbia River than any time in the past 75 years, so Washington and Oregon fishery managers are expanding sport fishing options below Bonneville Dam beginning Sept. 13.

Scrapping a previous rule that would have closed the chinook fishery that day in a portion of the lower river, both states adopted new regulations that:

Allow anglers to continue fishing for chinook salmon through the end of the year in all areas of the mainstem Columbia River below Bonneville Dam open to salmon fishing.Expand the area open to chinook retention by moving the lower boundary from Rocky Point 16 miles downstream to Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia.Allow anglers to catch and keep up to two adult chinook salmon per day as part of their catch limit below Bonneville Dam. Through Sept. 30, only hatchery chinook with a clipped adipose fin and healed scar may be retained downstream from the Lewis River.Allow anglers aboard a vessel in the Columbia River from Buoy 10 to the Highway 395 bridge in Pasco to continue fishing until the daily limit of salmon/steelhead for all anglers aboard is achieved.

Guy Norman, southwest regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the new rules are designed to give anglers a chance to reap the benefits of a record-breaking salmon run, while continuing to provide protection for wild fish.

Based on the latest forecast, 664,000 to 835,000 upriver bright adult chinook are expected to return to the Columbia River this year, well above the record of 420,000 fish set in 1987.

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