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States Extend Buoy 10 Fishing, Snake River
Fishing Opens; Coho, Steelhead Passage Slow

by Staff
Columbia Basin Bulletin, September 9, 2016

... the fishery was extended August 31 at the Compact hearing when
it appeared that harvest was just 45 percent of the pre-season forecast.

Tyler Barrong of Spokane lands a 34.25-inch fall Chinook while salmon fishing near the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake rivers on Sept. 16, 2014. (Shawn Barrong photo) A lower than expected harvest of chinook salmon at the Columbia River mouth prompted the two-state Columbia River Compact at its hearing August 31 to extend the popular Buoy 10 recreational fishing season by nine days through September 14.

Retention of coho and steelhead for recreational anglers will remain open through December 31.

The Compact made the decision last week as it reviewed catch rates and the number of salmon entering the river as well as the number of fish passing Bonneville Dam.

See August 31 Columbia River Action Notice at

The Buoy 10 fishery was scheduled to close Sept. 6, but was first liberalized August 25, allowing the retention of unclipped fish on two successive days, and then the fishery was extended August 31 at the Compact hearing when it appeared that harvest was just 45 percent of the pre-season forecast. The recreational harvest in the fishery, as of August 30, was just 21,600 fall chinook, compared to the expected catch of 48,500 fish.

See the Compact's Fall Fact Sheet #5.

The effective area for the Buoy 10 fishery is the river mouth upstream to Tongue Point. The daily bag limit is two salmonids a day of which only one may be a chinook. Chinook must be at least 24 inches long to be retained. The rules allow retention of up to one steelhead or two coho per day. Coho must be at least 16 inches long to be retained.

In addition, the Compact decided against adding two more non-Indian commercial fishing periods, following commercial gillnetters' request to save the fish for a later opportunity.

The 2016 forecast for fall chinook entering the Columbia River is 960,200 fish, which is 74 percent of last year's actual return, but 136 percent of the 2006-2015 10-year average of 705,600 fish.

Nearly 628,000 of upriver fall chinook are projected to pass Bonneville this year, according to a pre-season forecast by the US v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee. Based on the 10-year average, passage is generally 50 percent complete by yesterday, September 8.

Passage of fall chinook over Bonneville Dam as of yesterday, September 8, was 256,814 adults and 30,116 jacks. Last year on this date 345,586 adults and 24,506 jacks had passed the dam. The 10-year average is 230,833 adults and 30,448 jacks.

Some 322,600 coho salmon are expected to enter the Columbia River, which is 73 percent of the 10-year average of 441,400 fish. It includes 132,900 early stocks and 189,700 late stock. Passage of coho over Bonneville Dam is expected to total 84,300, which is 76 percent of the total ocean abundance of Columbia River coho destined for areas upriver of the dam.

Just 14,978 coho and 1,978 coho jacks had passed the dam as of yesterday, far below that date's 10-year average of 34,187 adults, but average for jacks with 12,001. Last year at this time 12,869 adults and 1,702 jacks had passed by this date.

Passage of Group A upriver steelhead at the dam has been very slow and TAC had previously lowered its pre-season run prediction for the fish to 123,400 fish (31,000 are wild). The preseason forecast was 256,200. The Group A adjusted forecast combined with the preseason forecast of 25,800 Group B fish brings the total projection to 149,200 steelhead at Bonneville Dam.

TAC met Wednesday to review the upriver summer steelhead returns, according to a statement released by TAC this week.

The group maintained its in-season run size forecast for the Group A component, but said it is still too early in the run to assess the Group B return, so it did not change the pre-season forecast for this component (25,800 fish). The current Group A forecast, combined with the pre-season forecast for Group B, means a total of 149,200 upriver summer steelhead are currently projected to return to Bonneville Dam.

At its meeting this week, TAC also discussed the upriver fall chinook run; given average proportion complete by this date, TAC wouldn't expect to provide an in-season update until next week, TAC's statement said. TAC did note that passage of bright stock chinook at Bonneville is tracking close to expectations while tule chinook passage to-date is tracking less than expected.

"Recent volatility in counts is making it difficult to assess the run performance at this time," TAC said.

For definitions of Group A and Group B fish, see CBB, August 26, 2016, Good Fall Chinook Return, But Slow Fishing, Prompts Liberalizing Catch Restriction On Unmarked Fish

Counts of steelhead at Bonneville Dam through yesterday are 129,172 hatchery steelhead (39,941 wild steelhead). Last year 211,m165 hatchery steelhead (80,986 wild) had passed the dam by this date. The 10-year average for hatchery steelhead is 285,516 (98,799 wild). Passage at Bonneville Dam (July-October) is typically 50 percent complete by August 13.

Oregon and Idaho also opened fall chinook fishing on the Snake River, September 1. The states are predicting an above-average chinook run and an average steelhead run this season.

In addition to the Snake River, Idaho also opened for fall chinook fishing the Clearwater and a short section of the Lower Salmon River. Idaho forecasts 38,200 hatchery and naturally spawned chinook salmon to return to Idaho.

"Fall chinook runs in the Snake River have been impressive for the past several years," said Jeff Yanke, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife biologist in Enterprise. "Current run projections indicate a very strong run in 2016 that will provide a fantastic opportunity to catch salmon."

He added that the best fishing is generally later September and early October.

The Snake River will be open from the Oregon and Washington border to the deadline below Hells Canyon Dam and will remain open until October 30, or until a closure is announced. The reach from Cliff Mountain Rapid (river mile 246.7) to Hells Canyon Dam will remain open until November 17. Barbless hooks are required in this fishery.

The daily bag limit is six hatchery chinook and unlimited hatchery jack salmon.

Idaho also opened harvest for steelhead September 1 in the Snake, Salmon and Lower Clearwater rivers.

Related Pages:
Chinook Forecast Decline, Low Steelhead, Coho Return: Recreational Fishing Shut Down On Mainstem by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 10/21/16
Fall Chinook Run Size Downgraded For Fourth Straight Week; Early Run Coho Far Below Average by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 10/7/16
Columbia River Fall Chinook Return Downgraded; Wild Steelhead Past Bonneville Dam Below Average by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 9/23/16
Fall Chinook, Coho Fishing Open For All In Most Areas Of Columbia River by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 8/12/16
Fall Chinook Run Downgraded But Catch Rates Allow Extended Fishing; Steelhead Numbers Way Down by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 9/16/16

Related Sites:
States Extend Buoy 10 Fishing, Snake River Fishing Opens; Coho, Steelhead Passage Slow by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 9/9/16
Higher Than Average Fall Chinook Run On The Way; Coho, Steelhead To Be Lower Than 10-Year Average by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 8/5/16
Oregon Commission Hears Review Of Fishing Reforms Banning Lower Columbia Gillnetters From Mainstem by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 4/22/16
Oregon Appeals Court Halts Implementation Of Lower Columbia Gill-Net Ban, Will Hear Legal Arguments by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 2/22/16
Oregon ‘Re-Adopts' Lower Columbia Commercial Gill-Net Ban; Slew Of Uncertainties Remain, by Staff, Columbia Basin Bulletin 6/7/13

States Extend Buoy 10 Fishing, Snake River Fishing Opens; Coho, Steelhead Passage Slow
Columbia Basin Bulletin, September 9, 2016

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