Columbia Fall Chinook
by Allen Thomas
Fall chinook salmon retention in the Columbia River between the Hood River Bridge and Pasco reopened this morning.
Washington and Oregon officials approved the reopening on Friday, following an upgrade in the upper Columbia bright fall chinook forecast to 115,000, up from 105,000 on Tuesday.
The increase will allow enough catch to permit fishing in the mid-Columbia pools without exceeding federal Endangered Species Act guidelines.
Robin Ehlke of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said there is not enough room under the guidelines to reopen for chinook retention the area between the mouth of the Lewis River and Bonneville Dam.
The states did not open for chinook retention the Columbia between Bonneville Dam and Hood River Bridge in order to avoid any catch of salmon destined for Spring Creek National Fish Hatchery.
Stuart Ellis of the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission said the hatchery needs 4,000 female chinook to reach its goal of 15 million eggs and has about 2,000 females with the run almost over.
"The situation at Spring Creek is definitely not good,'' Ellis said.
Sturgeon - A hearing is scheduled at 10 a.m. Wednesday to consider allowing sturgeon retention daily during October through December between the Wauna power lines and Bonneville Dam.
Sturgeon retention is scheduled to revert to Thursdays through Sundays on Oct. 1, yet the catches are tracking to fall far short of the annual catch allocation.
Gillnet season - The states also approved 12 hours of gillnetting Monday in the Columbia River downstream of the mouth of the Lewis River. The net fleet will fish from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. with six-inch-mesh to target on coho.
Ehlke said the estimated catch for Monday is 800 chinook, 6,000 coho and 1,200 sturgeon.
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