States set spring chinook, sturgeon seasons
By Oregon Dept. Fish & Wildlife
Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring chinook salmon and sturgeon retention fishing seasons for the Columbia River today during a joint state hearing.
The Columbia River spring chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 314,000 returning upriver spring chinook, which compares to a 2011 actual return of just over 221,000 fish. Based on the 2012 harvest guideline, 12,700 upriver fish (a combination of kept fish and release mortalities) will be available for the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.
An additional 3,050 fish will be earmarked for recreational fisheries above Bonneville Dam.
The spring chinook season on the Columbia below I-5 is currently open under permanent rules. The seasons adopted today will take effect March 1. The season will include a 7-days-a-week boat fishery from Buoy 10 to Beacon Rock through April 6 with three Tuesday closures. It also will include additional opportunity for bank fishing only from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam.
The white sturgeon seasons adopted today are based on a total guideline of 10,400 harvestable fish for 2012, a 38 percent reduction from the 2011 guideline. In response to a continued decline in the abundance of legal-sized fish in both the Willamette and Columbia rivers, the directors of Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife earlier this month agreed on a reduction in the harvest rate from 22.5 percent to 16 percent for 2012.
Retention sturgeon fishing is currently open in the Columbia River.
About 50 people including sport and commercial fishers showed up to listen and present testimony at the hearing, conducted in Portland.
The following is a summary of 2012 recreational salmon and sturgeon fishing seasons for the Columbia and Willamette rivers.
Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam
Prior to March 1, permanent rules, as outlined in the 2012 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.
Boat angling will be allowed seven days per week from March 1 through April 6 from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock. Bank angling will be allowed during the same timeframe from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam. There will be three Tuesday closures – Mar. 20, Mar. 27 and Apr. 3 – to accommodate commercial fisheries. This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 12,700 upriver spring chinook.
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 shad and up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.
Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border
Effective March 16, this area will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped steelhead and adipose fin-clipped chinook through May 2. This fishery will be managed to the available guideline of 1,700 upriver spring chinook.
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.
Fishing for salmon and steelhead between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles downstream from The Dalles Dam, is restricted to bank fishing only.
The Willamette River will remain open to retention of adipose fin-clipped adult chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead seven days a week the entire year.
The bag limit on the Willamette below Willamette Falls is two adipose fin-clipped salmonids, of which both may be 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 11. The season reopens seven days a week from May 12 through July 8, 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 4,160 fish.
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. 20 – Dec. 31. This fishery will be managed to a harvest guideline of 2,080 fish.
Fishing for sturgeon is prohibited from the upstream end of Skamania Island at River Marker #82 upstream to Bonneville Dam May 1 – Aug. 31. In addition, the Sand Island Slough near Rooster Rock is closed to angling Feb. 1 through Apr. 30.
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 at 40 percent of the 2,000 fish harvest guideline and may close in February. If the quota is not reach by mid-February, the remaining fish will be saved for a summer fishery.
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 to 54 inches fork length.
Columbia River from John Day Dam to McNary 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 500 fish is met. The legal size limit for retention in this area is 43 to 54 inches fork length.
Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls including the Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River
Earlier this month, ODFW fishery managers announced a retention season of Feb. 17-18 and Feb. 24-25 with a harvest guideline between 1,768 and 2,022. The daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches.
On the Willamette, fishing for sturgeon is prohibited from the I-205 Bridge upstream to Willamette Falls May 1 – Aug. 31.
In other business the agencies took the following actions:
Adopted the 2012 Winter/Spring Pre-Season Commercial Fishing Plan and General Commercial Spring Chinook Fishery Regulations, which sets gear types and season structures.
Set commercial fishing seasons for Select Area fisheries, including Blind Slough/Knappa Slough, Tongue Point/South Channel, Deep River and Young’s Bay.
A complete description of the stock status and upcoming commercial and recreational fisheries (pdf)