Lower Columbia Open to
by Tom Paulu
Spring chinook salmon fishing on the lower Columbia River will reopen on Saturday and Sunday.
During a meeting on Tuesday, Washington and Oregon fishery managers agreed to allow the two days of fishing from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock for boat and bank rods along with bank-angling-only from Beacon Rock to Bonneville Dam.
The daily limit is two adult salmon or steelhead, but only one chinook. Only fin-clipped chinook or fin-clipped steelhead may be kept.
One option recommended by biologists was to reopen fishing for three days, including Memorial Day. However, that much harvest could push the catch over what is allowed under the federal Endangered Species Act, particularly if the actual run is smaller than the forecast, which currently stands at 216,500.
The other option was to delay a decision until May 29 and possibly make the extra days lead into the summer chinook season that starts June 16.
Testimony among sport-fishing interests was split between fishing the two options, though the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association and Northwest Guides and Anglers Association both favored fishing this weekend.
The river reopened for spring chinook above Bonneville for last weekend, but is closed again there.
Managers will meet again at 3 p.m. May 29 to update the run forecast and determine if additional sport or commercial fishing is possible.
Spring Chinook Fishing to Reopen in Lower Columbia by Allen Thomas, The Columbian, 5/22/12
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