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Lower Columbia to Close to Sportfishing

by Staff
The Oregonian, April 29, 2004

The Columbia River will close Friday evening below Interstate 5 to sportfishing for spring chinook salmon.

The closure, which includes steelhead and shad, extends a previous closure from I-5 to Bonneville Dam. It was decided Wednesday afternoon in a telephone conference call among Oregon and Washington biologists.

Fretting a late -- and overestimated -- spring chinook run, biologists decided against sportfishing in May in the lower river.

The Willamette River and Multnomah Channel, and other Columbia tributaries and terminal areas off Blind Slough and Youngs Bay remain open to sportfishing seven days a week.

Sportfishing will continue upriver from Bonneville Dam through the weekend but probably will close Wednesday evening for the spring season. Biologists will decide Tuesday.

Both states have agreed to reopen the Columbia River on June 16 to fishing for fin-clipped summer chinook, said Curt Melcher, a Columbia biologist for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. A formal decision is pending. The summer chinook run is predicted to be 120,000.

The limit for that fishery will be two hatchery salmon a day. A one-chinook rule below Bonneville Dam has been adopted by both states for the fall chinook run when the season opens Aug. 1.

After heavy daily counts at Bonneville Dam last week and a sportfishing closure below the dam, the run waned.

Melcher said the preseason prediction of 360,000 upriver spring chinook has been downgraded to 312,000 and could be less, depending on daily counts this weekend.

Lower Columbia to Close to Sportfishing
The Oregonian, April 29, 2004

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