Lower Columbia Steelhead Fishing Delayedby Staff
Seattle Times, May 12, 2008
OLYMPIA, Wash. - The lower Columbia River will remain closed to steelhead fishing until further notice to avoid the incidental catch of protected spring chinook salmon.
Monday's announcement effectively delays the fishery for hatchery steelhead that was scheduled to open May 16 from the Interstate 5 Bridge downriver to the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line, a few miles east of Astoria, Ore.
Cindy LeFleur, of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, says the steelhead closure could extend as late as June 15, unless returns of upriver spring chinook begin to pick up.
Fishery closures for spring chinook on parts of the Columbia and Snake rivers are already in effect, because those protected fish have been returning in much lower numbers than originally predicted.
Commercial salmon fisheries at Young's Bay, Blind Slough, Tongue Point and Deep River also were delayed for a week. Those fisheries primarily target chinook salmon returning to lower Columbia River tributaries, but they also intercept some upriver fish.
LeFleur says the steelhead season will start no later than June 16, when most spring chinook have returned to hatcheries or spawning areas.
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