The recreational fishery for spring Chinook salmon and steelhead on the Lower Columbia River closed at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, June 1, fishery managers from the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced.
After analyzing spring Chinook salmon catches to date for both treaty and non-treaty fisheries, fishery managers are closing the salmon and steelhead fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam through June 15.
Preliminary data showed impacts to Snake River and Upper Columbia wild spring Chinook salmon — which are both listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) — were exceeded by the collective treaty and non-treaty catches to-date. The ESA coverage is provided by the U.S. vs. Oregon Biological Opinion.
“The state used about half the allowable ESA impacts, but we have a duty to manage wild salmon stocks within ESA impact limits, which makes this action necessary for the conservation of upriver spring Chinook ESA-listed stocks,” said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fisheries manager with WDFW. “The cold spring and river conditions have contributed to an unusual fish passage and run timing this year. Fishery managers will continue to monitor actual returns closely in the weeks ahead.”
Combined treaty and non-treaty fisheries have exceeded the allowable 9.0% ESA impact rate with 9.09% estimated through May 31.
For more information on catch and ESA impact information, go to the Columbia River Compact Fact Sheet.
The current upriver spring Chinook salmon run size is 143,000 as compared to the pre-season forecast of 198,600 and is below the previous week’s estimate of 153,000 fish. Fishery managers set the Columbia River spring Chinook salmon fishery based on the number of fish expected to return from the ocean and the allowable impact to wild salmon and steelhead stocks listed for protection under the federal ESA.
Fishing will remain open for hatchery spring Chinook salmon in the Wind River and Drano Lake. The Snake River spring Chinook salmon fishery remains closed. Shad fishing will remain open in the lower Columbia River.
The mainstem Columbia River summer salmon and steelhead fishery is scheduled to start on June 16.
For full fishery details and regulations, see the emergency rule change at WDFW’s website. Permanent regulations can be found in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet. To receive regulation updates and other information via email, subscribe to Columbia River fishery notices at WDFW’s website.