Columbia River Spring Chinook Salmon
by Bill Monroe
River experiencing best return since 2015
In a spring chinook salmon season that just keeps expanding, Oregon and Washington just opened more doors -- wide.
And they disagreed with each other on a proposal to add more commercial fishing time in a portion of the lower Columbia River. Without consensus, the proposal died.
However, the states, meeting remotely as the Columbia River Compact, agreed Thursday afternoon to new rules starting Saturday (June 4):
Saturday and Sunday are Free Fishing Weekend in Oregon. The following weekend (June 11-12) is Free Fishing Weekend in Washington.
Fish counts for salmon at Bonneville Dam's ladder remain well above both the five- and 10-year averages, prompting the states' scientists to (again) increase the preseason forecast of 122,900 to 192,000.
Managers count all returning Columbia chinook salmon as spring fish through June 15, after which they officially become summer fish and new angling rules apply.
In an unusual split, a proposed two-day commercial tanglenet season between Hayden Island power lines and Beacon Rock was rejected, despite the proposal's requirements for observers, small-mesh net and limits to only hatchery chinook.
A recent commercial season in the same area yielded relatively few participants, few salmon and thousands of shad, which commercial netters consider a hindrance.
Washington, represented by Charlene Hurst of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, favored the season, but Tucker Jones of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, said June tanglenet fishing would jeopardize a building run of smaller sockeye salmon, some of them endangered.
Hurst asked for at least one day of netting, then just one four-hour season instead of eight, but Jones wouldn't budge and the states ended the Compact meeting without allowing any additional mainstem commercial fishing.
learn more on topics covered in the film
see the video
read the script
learn the songs