Four Gill-Net Fleet Commercial Fishing
The Columbia River Compact launched the fall commercial fishing season with the approval of four mainstem outings over the next two weeks targeting sturgeon and what is expected to be a huge fall chinook run.
The Compact OK'd 12-hour nighttime (7 a.m. to 7 p.m.) fisheries starting Aug. 3, 5 and 7 from Buoy 10 at the river mouth to Bonneville Dam 146 river miles upstream. The fourth scheduled mainstem fishery, also 12 hours, is scheduled Aug. 10-11 from Tongue Point near Astoria, Ore., to Bonneville.
The Oregon and Washington department of fish and wildlife staffs estimate that the gill-net fleet will land as many as 9,900 salmon and 1,450 sturgeon during the four fishing periods.
The Compact, made up of the designees of the ODFW and WDFW directors, also approved a series of commercial fisheries that begin in August in Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel, Blind Slough/Knappa Slough and Deep River "select areas" in the lower estuary.
Select areas are off-channel locations where hatchery origin salmon receive their final rearing. When they return as adults, those hatchery are ripe for harvest in so-called terminal fisheries. As an example, it is expected that 25,300 coho will return Youngs Bay this year and nearly all will be harvested.
The forecast returns to the safe areas mirror to great degree forecasts for the Columbia River basin's coho and fall chinook runs. The predicted coho return to select areas this year (42,700) is only 73 percent of the recent 10-year average return (58,200) and much less than the 81,000 actually harvested in 2009. The overall coho forecast for the basin is 286,600, less than the 10-year average. Last year's coho return was 721,600.
On the other hand, the predicted Select Area bright harvest, 8,700 in Youngs Bay, is nearly twice the recent 10-year harvest. The predicted fall chinook return t the basin is 664,900 adults, which is greater (155 percent) than the 2009 return of 429,000 adults, and 125 percent of the average adult return (531,100) observed over the past 10 years.
The strengths of the forecast fall chinook is an expected return of 319,200 "upriver bright" adults, which represents 48 percent of the projected total return.
The "Bonneville pool hatchery" forecast of 162,900 adults is three times greater than last year's actual return, and nearly twice the recent 10-year average. Most of the BPH are tule fall chinook returning to Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery.
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