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Ecology and salmon related articles

Columbia Chinook Fishing is Cut Back

by Bill Monroe
The Oregonian, April 15, 2004

Sport anglers face a cutback in fishing next week after the long-awaited and overdue Columbia River spring chinook run sent catches soaring last weekend.

Starting a week from today, fishing will close for three days a week -- Thursday, Friday and Saturday -- from Interstate 5 to Bonneville Dam. The remainder of the Columbia River will remain open seven days a week for now.

Biologists from Oregon and Washington decided Wednesday on the partial closure in an effort to dampen catches in the zone and stretch the season as long as possible to save endangered wild Snake River spring chinook, mixed with marked hatchery salmon in the run.

Steve Williams, Oregon's acting salmon harvest manager, said the action may not be enough if fishing pressure increases this weekend and catches go up even higher.

"Fishing got very good from about the weekend on and there are a lot of fish being caught in that area," he said. "This will be a case of fishermen having to pay close attention every day from now on."

The states will meet again Wednesday to review catches and could lower earlier predictions of a 360,000-fish spring run into the Columbia.

Counts at Bonneville Dam are far behind what they should have been by now, Williams said. "It's one of the later runs we've ever seen."

The daily count jumped to a season high of 4,500 Tuesday, bringing the total to about 10,000, still far behind the more than 40,000 for the same period last year. Williams said fishing reports have been good in the lower river to Tongue Point, only fair in the middle river between Portland and Longview, and excellent from Portland to Bonneville.

Coho: Another good summer coho salmon season is set to open June 19 off most of the Oregon coast.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council approved a coho quota of 75,000 sport-caught fish south of Cape Falcon, near Manzanita, and reopened the south Oregon coast to summer coho angling from the ports of Gold Beach and Brookings.

Salmon fishing north of Cape Falcon, including off the mouth of the Columbia River, will begin June 27 on Sundays through Thursdays. Federal fish managers agreed to consider by late July expanding fishing in that zone to seven days a week.

Approval of federal offshore rules, adopted last week in Sacramento, is expected for Oregon territorial waters as well when the state Fish and Wildlife Commission meets Friday in Beaverton.

The session will be held at the Best Western Greenwood Inn, 10700 S.W. Allen Blvd., just off Oregon 217. It will be preceded by a town hall meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The coastal coho zone is extended south this year, from Cape Falcon to the California border.

Coho salmon typically approach California's northern coast and move north during the summer, ending up off the mouths of coastal rivers and the Columbia.

Salmon fishing at Buoy 10 in the Columbia's mouth opens Aug. 1. Biologists predicted anglers would catch 10,500 coho in August and 4,500 in September.

Bill Monroe
Columbia Chinook Fishing is Cut Back
The Oregonian, April 15, 2004

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