More Fishing Time on Lower Columbia
by Mark Yuasa
The possibility of reopening the Lower Columbia River for spring chinook sport fishing seems like it won't happen at this point.
"We need a run size up near 380,000 to 400,000 range, and right now we aren't tracking around there, but that is not to say it couldn't happen," said Cindy LeFleur, a state Fish and Wildlife Columbia River policy coordinator.
Washington and Oregon, and tribal fisheries managers met this past Monday, and said the updated forecast is 350,000 spring chinook with a high range of 370,000 and a low range of 330,000.
"It was a very good sport fishery in the Lower Columbia where anglers caught 23,500 spring chinook (from a season that started in January through April 18)," LeFleur said.
LeFleur says in past spring fishing season where the return was either greater or right around the same as this year, anglers had catches in 2004 of 23,700 and in 2001 of 25,700.
The nontribal commercial gill-net fishery could get some more days of fishing in the Lower Columbia.
"There is a possibility of a (nontribal) commercial fishery, but we'll have to take a look at that next week," LeFleur said.
A tribal commercial fishery in Bonneville, The Dalles and John Day pools started Tuesday and will end Friday.
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