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Columbia Chinook Fishery Closes Friday

by Allen Thomas
The Columbian, September 14, 2006

Fall chinook salmon fishing in the lower Columbia River will end beginning Friday.

Washington and Oregon officials on Wednesday closed chinook retention effective at 12:01 a.m. Friday between Tongue Point east of Astoria and Bonneville Dam.

Chinook retention between Bonneville Dam and the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco will be closed beginning Saturday.

Retention of hatchery-origin steelhead and hatchery coho will continue to be allowed.

State federal and tribal fish biologists on Wednesday downgraded the "upriver bright'' portion of the fall chinook run from 249,050 to 198,700.

With the downgrade, the sport catch of 9,400 chinook is 12 percent over the allocation, said Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Chinook counts at Bonneville Dam dropped to about 5,000 per day on Monday and Tuesday.

"The lower river sport fishery has slowed down,'' said Stuart Ellis of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission. "We don't really anticipate another pulse of fish.''

Steve Watrous of Vancouver asked the states to do an analysis and find out if there are places in the lower Columbia where the important upriver bright fall chinook are not caught, which could be left open in order to harvest other stocks of chinook.

Watrous specifically mentioned the Camas Slough, the portion of the Columbia River between Lady Island and the Washington shore.

Chinook fishing remains open at Buoy 10, the lower 16 miles of the Columbia, but only 100 chinook or fewer are anticipated to be caught there.

State officials will meet this morning at Kalama City Hall to adopt commercial fishing times and dates for the lower Columbia beginning next week.

Allen Thomas
Columbia Chinook Fishery Closes Friday
The Columbian, September 14, 2006

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