Fishery managers approved the recreational salmon season extension Wednesday at a joint state hearing of the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife.
The season had been scheduled to close on April 6 but was extended based on harvest information indicating anglers had caught well below the number allowed during the original season on the Columbia below Bonneville Dam. As of March 31, anglers had caught an estimated 1,982 spring chinook of which 1,519 were kept. Staff project that 32 percent of the pre-season allocation of 4,900 upriver fish will be used through April 5. With the season extension approved today, 75 percent of the upriver allocation is expected to be used.
Though effort and catch rates have picked up the past week, catch rates have been lower than forecast for the early part of the season. An unusually high abundance of Columbia River Eulachon smelt in the river may have contributed to the lower catch rates, according to Kevleen Melcher, ODFW’s assistant Columbia River fisheries manager.
Over the next week, the states will continue to closely monitor the salmon returns and recreational catch to determine whether further modifications to the spring chinook season are appropriate.
Under the current fishing rules, anglers are limited to two adult salmonids a day, of which only may be a chinook. Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be kept. Anglers are reminded that barbless hooks are now required.
For more information, visit ODFW’s website at www.dfw.state.or.us.