ODFW News Release
For Immediate Release
April 02, 2003
Columbia River between I-5 and Bonneville Dam to close to spring chinook fishing after Saturday
PORTLAND ó Oregon and Washington fishery managers decided Tuesday to close the Columbia River to spring chinook fishing from the Interstate 5 Bridge to Bonneville Dam effective Sunday, April 6. The fishery below the I-5 Bridge was reduced to four days per week beginning April 6, 2003.
Anglers may fish for spring chinook below the I-5 Bridge Wednesdays through Saturdays until further notice. The fishery is scheduled to close May 15.
Anglers have made 50 percent more angler trips this year compared to this time last year and landed 9,500 hatchery and wild spring chinook compared to last yearís 3,800. As a result, they have used half of the allowed "impact" to upriver wild spring chinook listed as threatened under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"If we didnít take this action today, we would have had to close the fishery entirely by mid-April," said Steve King, salmon fishery manager for the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, on Tuesday. "We want to keep the fishery going until we get a run update later this month."
The following rules were adopted Tuesday afternoon:
Effective Sunday, April 6, the Columbia River is open to the retention of adipose fin-clipped chinook, adipose fin-clipped steelhead and shad Wednesdays through Saturdays from the mouth at Buoy 10 upstream to the I-5 Bridge. The Columbia River is closed to chinook, steelhead and shad retention from I-5 to Bonneville Dam. All other permanent and temporary rules related to catch limits and gear restrictions remain in place.
The absence of an adipose fin, a small fleshy fin located between the tail and the dorsal fin, marks the fish as hatchery bred and available to take home.
Fishery managers will meet again Tuesday, April 15, at 2 p.m. to reassess the Columbia River spring chinook sport fishery. At that time, they also will review the number of fish that have passed Bonneville Dam. So far, the dam counts are strong and exceeding expectations. According to King, the preseason forecast of 145,400 may be increased which could lead to additional fishing days.
Fish managers set the Columbia River spring chinook fishery based on the number of fish expected to return from the ocean and the allowable impact to wild stocks. "Impacts" are the unintended mortalities associated with handling and releasing wild fish. A 2001 spring chinook management agreement between the states of Washington and Oregon, NOAA Fisheries and the tribes set the allowable impact levels on the upriver wild fish. The allowed sport fishery impact is 1.11 percent of the total wild run. The sport fishery impacts to date total 0.55 percent.
Much of the fishing effort has been centered in the Columbia River gorge because of higher success rates and clearer water. However, by fishing upstream of the Willamette River mouth, anglers increase the likelihood of handling a upriver wild spring chinook. Biologists estimated that 109,800 spring chinook destined for the Willamette River will enter the Columbia. With muddy water conditions in the Willamette and in the Columbia below the Willamette, anglers moved upstream the past few weeks.
As of March 31, anglers made 77,600 fishing trips to target spring chinook in the Columbia. In those trips, anglers landed 9,500 spring chinook and retained 6,000 hatchery-bred fish. In 2002, anglers made 40,800 trips by this time, landed 3,800 spring chinook and retained 2,100 "keepers."
Additional information about the decision can be found posted to the ODFW Web site: http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ODFWhtml/InfoCn...sportnotice.pdf
Background information that fishery managers used to make their decision also is posted to the Web site. Option 4 was chosen. http://www.dfw.state.or.us/ODFWhtml/InfoCn...3april1fact.pdf
Jeff "Jesse" James - Owner of Jesse's Hunting & Outdoors
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Dum spiramus tuebimur
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