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Fall Chinook Season Features Changes

by Mark Yuasa
Seattle Times, July 30, 2007

While the dog days of summer are still on the minds of many, August marks the beginning of fall salmon fishing in the Columbia River.

One part of the Lower Columbia from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line up to Bonneville Dam opens for salmon fishing Wednesday, and anglers there are allowed to keep one wild or hatchery chinook daily.

The daily limit will be six salmon, including no more than two adult salmon. Anglers must release wild coho, sockeye and chum.

"There will be some late summer and early fall chinook when it opens, but I think it will be somewhat on the slow side and as the month of August progresses we should get into more fall chinook and coho," said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

"The lower river wild "tule" chinook [which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act] are expected to return in low numbers so in a rebuilding effort of those stocks there are some new regulations in place," Hymer said.

From Sept. 5-30, all chinook below a line from a boundary marker on the lower end of Bachelor Island across to the Warrior Rock Lighthouse must be released.

Elsewhere, the popular Buoy 10 fishery at the Columbia River mouth up to the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line opens Wednesday, but anglers will have to release all chinook in the fishery until Aug. 21.

From Wednesday to Aug. 21, anglers will be allowed to keep two adult hatchery coho, plus two hatchery steelhead daily. Then from Aug. 22-Sept. 3 and Oct. 1-Dec. 31 anglers may keep one chinook in their daily limit.

Other changes in the Columbia fishery starting Wednesday are:

In the Columbia, from Bonneville Dam to the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco, anglers may keep six salmon daily, no more than two adults including wild or hatchery chinook. Release wild coho from Bonneville Dam to Hood River Bridge, and any chum below The Dalles Dam.

Anglers may keep any chinook in the Deep, Green, Toutle (including North Fork), Washougal, Cowlitz, Kalama, Lewis, (including North Fork), Wind, White Salmon and Klickitat rivers, and Drano Lake. Wild coho are to be released in all tributaries except the Klickitat.

Cost worth trip to Alpine Lakes Area

A work project on the now-closed Wagners Bridge that leads into the popular Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area has left just a few road alternatives to access the area, including a very costly one.

Hikers, campers, fishermen and outdoor enthusiasts journeying to the area may purchase a vehicle access permit for the Hancock Forest Management Group's private road network to get into the public recreation areas beyond the bridge, but it costs $200. But, there are some perks to buying one.

"The Alpine Lakes Area is our great treasure, and I hear from many that it is worth the price to get the permit," said Marcia Reinert at the Ace Hardware Store in North Bend where the permits can be purchased. "Some people say it is too expensive, but the bottom line is that it is their private property and they want to manage the area as fair as they can make it.

"When there was free access a lot of people used it to dump things, and it was a mess and people also made it a party place, which made it dangerous. Prior to this year, access to the area was pretty restrictive, but now the permit makes it open 364 days of the year [closed on July 4]."

The permit also allows a person to haul out five cords of dead-tree firewood from October to December.

Each person in a vehicle must have a permit, although a family (head of household, spouse and children 18 and under living in the same house) can attain one permit.

"I hear from a lot of fly fishermen who say they spend more on that in one trip to drive someplace else when they just have to make a short trip like from Seattle to find tons of pristine lakes and not a lot of people right in their own backyard," Reinert said.

The bridge, which carries North Fork Road Southeast over the North Fork of the Snoqualmie River about 10 miles northeast of North Bend, will be closed for construction through November.

The one-lane bridge was built 30 years ago with untreated timber and is deteriorating. It will be replaced with a concrete bridge.

To buy the permit, go to the Ace Hardware Store in North Bend or call the store at 425-888-1242.

Otherwise, the alternative to access the Alpine Lakes Area are on Forest Service roads from the north and east off Highway 2.

Mark Yuasa
Fall Chinook Season Features Changes
Seattle Times, July 30, 2007

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