Published On: Sat, May 26th, 2018

Columbia River Reopens Spring Chinook Fishing

Columbia River’s spring chinook fishing will reopen this Friday, May 25. Fishing will be from Tongue Point to the Oregon / Washington border. The reopening has been in the negotiation process for weeks with both states, Washington and Oregon discussing a matter during a telephone meeting.

The two reopened the meeting on Wednesday.

Public domain image/USGS

Previous rules and regulations remain in place with a limit of one hatchery chinook daily. Two hatchery steelhead are allowed within the limit of two salmon and steelhead daily. Fishing will reopen through June 6 from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam.

Bonneville Dam to the border of both states will allow fishing through June 15. Summer chinook fishing will then follow from June 16 for parts upriver from the dam. Areas below the dam are now delayed until June 22.

A high-water forecast will begin on Friday adding to the prospect of delayed counts at the dam. Fisherman will need to map out their favorite fishing spots as water stays above flood level.

Pre-season spring chinook salmon predictions were downgraded earlier in the week by Columbia River biologists. Predictions of 166,700 fish were downgraded to 116,500. Sunday’s Bonneville Dam had a count of 64,479 as recently as Sunday.

A run of 81,800 upriver fish is expected with a collateral mortality of 4,332 protected upriver salmon. The number is expected to be reached within a month. The revised run-size estimate remained uncertain as recently as Monday as fluctuations in daily passage remained vast.

Boat and bank fishing has been reopened from Tongue Point to Beacon Rock. Daily limits allow for six salmonids, according to the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. Two adult fish may be retained by anglers, and one of the adult fish may be a chinook. All wild salmon must be released as well as wild steelhead. Salmon size must be a 12-inch minimum.

Adjustments in-season will take place, with staff continually monitoring for the run.

The United States and Canada will also start renegotiations for the Columbia River Treaty, which governs the 1,200-mile upper reach of the river. The 1964 agreement is set to expire in 2024, with both sides hoping to get a deal done prior to the expiry date.

The U.S. State Department has outlined key objections that will include ecosystem management, flood control and hydropower. Bonneville Power Administration representatives are also negotiating with Canadian officials. No tribal representative exists at the moment, but the State Department promises to consult with tribes during the negotiation process.

Author: Jacob Maslow

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