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Buoy 10 Salmon Season Debuts Sunday

by Allen Thomas
The Columbian, July 31, 2010

Chinook retention will be allowed through August

Salmon fishing ramps up beginning Sunday with the opening of the popular Buoy 10 season at the mouth of the Columbia River.

A huge run of 664,900 fall chinook is forecast to enter the Columbia, much better than the 429,000 return of 2009. A subpar run of 286,600 coho is projected, much weaker than the 500,000-coho average or 721,600 return of 2009.

"The fall chinook fishery is looking very promising this year," said Joe Hymer, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist. "Fishing tends to start slow, then accelerates quickly and builds through the rest of August."

Buoy 10 is the name given to the lower 16 miles of the Columbia between the ocean and a line from Tongue Point in Oregon and Rocky Point in Washington.

It's a chance for anglers with mid-size boats to experience often-good salmon fishing without the danger of crossing the Columbia River bar into the ocean.

"We're going to have a fantastic chinook year down there,'' said Marv McQuinn, an Oregon-based fishing guide.

At Buoy 10, chinook retention will be open from Sunday through Aug. 31, with a catch expectation of 12,500 chinook and 11,900 coho.

Chinook retention could close early if the catch is greater than expected. Coho fishing will continue after the chinook closure, said Robin Ehlke, a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Between Tongue Point-Rocky Point and Bonneville Dam, the sport fishery on Sunday shifts to fall regulations. The daily limit is two salmon or steelhead, but only one chinook.

Unlike spring and summer rules, unclipped chinook may be retained starting Sunday. Coho and steelhead still must have a missing adipose fin.

The sport fishery between Tongue Point-Rocky Point and Bonneville Dam is expected to catch 17,200 chinook and 1,000 coho.

Starting Sept. 12, chinook retention will be allowed only upstream of the mouth of the Lewis River.

Between Bonneville Dam and Highway 395 in Pasco, the limit is two fish with a catch expectation of 2,500 chinook. Both fish may be chinook.

Commercial fishing -- Gillnetting in the lower Columbia River resumes Tuesday night.

The Columbia River Compact adopted a season of 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. on Aug. 3-4, Aug. 5-6 and Aug. 8-9 between the ocean and Beacon Rock.

Also adopted was a net season of 7 p.m. Aug. 10 to 7 a.m. Aug. 11 from the Pacific-Wahkiakum county line upstream to Beacon Rock.

John North, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist, projected a commercial catch of 9,900 chinook and 1,450 sturgeon.

The commercial fishermen must use a 9-inch-minimum-mesh net, which is to lessen the handle of steelhead and undersized sturgeon.

Allen Thomas
Buoy 10 Salmon Season Debuts Sunday
The Columbian, July 31, 2010

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