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Ecology and salmon related articles

Columbia River Salmon, Anglers on Collision Course

by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, July 31, 2003

Starting tomorrow, hordes of salmon and anglers are expected to converge around the popular Buoy 10 area at the Columbia River mouth.

"It can be really good on the opener, and if you get a strong (incoming) tide it can flush in bait and salmon," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

The incoming tide for tomorrow's opener is fairly strong, and low tide change is minus-0.9 feet at 10:30 a.m., so the afternoon will be the best time to hit the water.

"Chinook peak usually the third week in August, and for coho try around Labor Day through mid-September," Hymer said.

With more than 595,000 fall chinook expected to return to the Columbia mouth this year, along with 429,000 coho, the sport fisheries are expected to attract considerable attention.

The projected fall chinook return would be the fourth-largest since 1948. This year's expected coho return is similar to last year.

This season, a few new fishing rules will also benefit anglers in their pursuit of chinook and coho.

A new party fishing regulation in Oregon, which mirrors a previously existing rule in Washington, allows boat anglers on either side from Buoy 10 to the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line to keep their gear in water until daily limits for all licensed and juvenile anglers on board have been reached.

Previously, boat fishers in Oregon waters were required to bring in their lines once their individual limits were reached, even if others on board had not caught their limit.

"The problem last year with the ruling was that most of the Buoy 10 waters was in Oregon territory, and only a small part of it was in Washington," Hymer said. "The new ruling opens up a lot more fishing ground."

In another new rule, a bonus bag limit for coho will go into effect Aug. 16 around Buoy 10. The fishery opens with a two-fish daily limit, but increases to three daily beginning Aug. 16. Only one per day may be a chinook.

Salmon fishing on the mainstem Columbia from Rocky Point-Tongue Point upstream to Bonneville Dam, also opens tomorrow under fall rules, when both marked and unmarked chinook and adipose fin-clipped coho may be retained.

Salmon seasons also begin tomorrow in Cowlitz, Toutle, Green, Kalama, Lewis, Washougal, Wind and Klickitat rivers, and Drano Lake.

Check the state regulation pamphlet for specific details on the Columbia River and its tributaries.

Mark Yuasa
Columbia River Salmon, Anglers on Collision Course
Seattle Times, July 31, 2003

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