With High Counts at Bonneville Dam, Spring Chinook
Sport Fishery Reopens on Lower Columbia
Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 8, 2015
The spring chinook sport fishery on the lower Columbia River will reopen for two days -- Saturday, May 2, and Sunday, May 3 -- under an agreement reached Thursday by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.
High counts of spring chinook passing Bonneville Dam over the past week allowed the two states to reopen the fishery for at least two more days, said Ron Roler, Columbia River policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Federal fish counters stationed at the dam counted more than 17,000 adult spring chinook salmon on Tuesday and 11,000 more on Wednesday, prompting officials to raise this year's estimated run size to at least 220,000 upriver fish.
On Thursday another 13,676 adult springers passed Bonneville, while 16,000 were counted at The Dalles Dam. See Fish Passage Center 2015 Adult Salmon Counts.
"That's a lot of fish over the dam in two days, and it really helped to boost confidence in this year's spring chinook run," Roler said. "We'll be watching those numbers closely in the days ahead to see if we can give anglers some additional days on the water."
The spring chinook fishery has been closed below Bonneville Dam since April 16, after a two-day extension and a total catch of 10,130 upriver fish in six weeks of fishing.
The added fishing days are based on a revised run update that puts the projected return of spring chinook at 220,000, and makes approximately 4,000 more fish available to recreational anglers.
During the upcoming weekend, anglers can again retain one hatchery adult chinook salmon as part of their daily catch limit. The area reopening to spring chinook fishing extends from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Beacon Rock for boat and bank anglers, and to the fishing boundary below Bonneville Dam for bank anglers.
Anglers may also fish for shad and hatchery-reared steelhead when the spring chinook fishery is open. For both salmon and steelhead, wild fish with an intact adipose fin must be immediately released unharmed.
Meanwhile, the fishery for hatchery salmon and steelhead on the mainstem Columbia River above Bonneville Dam is set to run through May 6 from the Tower Island power lines to the Washington/Oregon state line, 17 miles upriver from McNary Dam. Bank anglers can also fish upriver from Bonneville Dam to the Tower Island power lines during that time.
Like those fishing below the dam, anglers fishing those waters can catch and keep one adult hatchery spring chinook as part of their catch limit.
According to Thursday's Oregon and Washington Departments of Fish and Wildlife Joint State Report Fact Sheet:
Non-Indian Fishery Update
- Bonneville Dam passage through April 29 totals 125,466 adult chinook. Based on the 10-year average (which have primarily been late timed) the 50 percent passage date is May 7, ranging from May 1 to May 12.
- The U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) met Monday April 27 and again on Wednesday April 29 to review the status of the upriver spring chinook run. On April 29, TAC officially updated the run to 220,000 adult fish. TAC will continue to meet weekly to review stock status and is scheduled to meet again Monday May 4.
- Under the U.S. v Oregon Management Agreement, a Columbia River return of 220,000 adult upriver fish allows for a non-Indian ESA impact rate of 2 percent and a catch balance limit of 22,000 upriver mortalities. Commission guidance directs managers to allocate the impacts 70 percent sport/30 percent commercial.
- Adult spring chinook passage at Willamette Falls through April 27 totals 13,197 fish, well above the 5-year average cumulative passage to date of 5,292 fish. The five year average 50 percent passage date is May 21.
- Two mainstem commercial salmon fishing periods have occurred to date (17 hours total). Landings totaled 1,737 adult chinook. Kept and release mortalities of upriver chinook is estimated at 1,361 fish, or 33 percent of the current post run update allocation (4,101).
- Select Area fisheries are ongoing and expected to continue through June 13. Landings from the winter season totaled 885 chinook. Preliminary spring season landings through April 29 total 2,413 chinook. Upriver chinook mortalities to date total 252 out of an allocation of 330 fish. In season action was taken on this fishery to reduce accumulation of upriver take.
- The lower Columbia River recreational fishery was open for chinook retention through April 11, and re-opened for one additional day on April 16. Catch estimates total 13,183 kept and 2,150 released adult fish from 96,764 angler trips. Kept and release mortalities of upriver chinook is estimated at 10,134 fish, or 72 percent of currently allocated.
- The lower Columbia River from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upstream to the I-5 Bridge will open May 16 for hatchery steelhead and hatchery jack chinook. Shad retention opens May 16 from Buoy 10 upstream to Bonneville Dam under permanent regulations.
- The recreational spring chinook fishery from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon/Washington border is scheduled to be open through May 6. Catch estimates through Sunday April 26 total 484 kept and 168 released adult fish. Kept and release mortalities of upriver chinook is estimated at 501 fish. Catch projections for April 27-May 6 total 1,340 additional kept plus release mortalities. The season total would be 1,841 fish or 98 percent of currently allocated.
- The recreational fisheries on the Snake River (Washington waters) are open on a days-per-week basis in four sections of the river. The fisheries are ongoing until the harvest allocation is met. Catch estimates through April 29 total 524 kept and 77 released adult fish. Kept and release mortalities of upriver chinook is estimated at 532 fish or 36 percent of currently allocated.
With High Counts at Bonneville Dam, Spring Chinook Sport Fishery Reopens on Lower Columbia
Columbia Basin Bulletin, May 8, 2015
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