Columbia Fishing Seasons Announced;
by Bill Monroe
Faced with a precipitous drop in summer steelhead, Oregon and Washington will sharply reduce summer and fall steelhead bag limits when the sport-fishing season reopens Friday on the Columbia River.
Returns forecast at 63,100 summer Chinook, 130,700 summer steelhead, and 198,500 sockeye are all below last year's actual runs. Managers are especially concerned about very low expectations for the large, late B-run summer steelhead.
Fall chinook predictions are healthier, but the forecast for 582,600 is below last year's return of 640,000.
The system-wide reduction of the Columbia's daily two-fish adult salmonid limit to include only one hatchery summer steelhead through the end of the year is just one regulation change on a lengthy and complicated list.
Several rules will apply to the entire Columbia -
By zone, as announced by Oregon:
Summer Season June 16-July 31 -- Columbia upriver from the Megler Bridge to the Oregon/Washington line above McNary Dam (and beyond for Washington anglers), June 16 through July 31: Open for hatchery (only) summer chinook, steelhead and sockeye; two salmonids per day, but only one steelhead. All sockeye count toward the adult daily bag limit. No sockeye retention after July 31.Fall Season beginning Aug. 1:
Buoy 10 to Tongue Point - Coho allowed through Dec. 31; no steelhead in August; one-fall chinook daily from Aug. 1 to Sept. 4; No chinook from Sept. 5 to 30, but coho and steelhead allowed. Any chinook (up to two), coho, jacks, and steelhead allowed Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.The one-hatchery limit for summer steelhead will apply on both the Deschutes and John Day rivers June 16-Dec 31.
Tongue Point to Warrior Rock (on Sauvie Island) - One chinook or coho, but no summer steelhead in August; One chinook and/or steelhead and coho allowed Sept. 1 to 7; one hatchery chinook (including a left ventral fin-clip) and/or steelhead and coho allowed Sept. 8 to 14; no chinook, but hatchery steelhead and coho allowed Sept. 15 to 30; two chinook (any), coho and steelhead allowed Oct. 1 to Dec. 31.
Warrior Rock to Bonneville Dam - Two chinook (any), sockeye or coho, but no summer steelhead in August; Chinook (any), coho and steelhead allowed Sept. 1 to Dec. 31.
Bonneville to The Dalles Dam - Chinook and coho allowed Aug. 1 to Dec. 31; steelhead allowed after Sept. 1.
The Dalles to John Day Dam - Chinook and coho allowed Aug. 1 to Dec. 31; steelhead allowed in August, October, November and December.
John Day to McNary Dam - Chinook and coho allowed Aug. 1 to Dec. 31; steelhead allowed in August, November and December. McNary to the Oregon/Washington border - Chinook, and coho allowed Aug. 1 to Dec. 31; steelhead allowed in August, September and December.
Further, the lower Deschutes (Moody rapids to the mouth) will close to all angling in September and the lower John Day, from the mouth up the John Day arm to Tumwater Falls, will close to steelhead fishing throughout September and October.
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