Washington and Oregon agree to add another month to lower Columbia Chinook season

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An improved outlook for the number of upriver spring Chinook salmon returning to the Columbia River prompted fishery managers from Oregon and Washington to reopen the recreational fishing season below Bonneville Dam for another month.

Spring Chinook fishing will reopen on the lower Columbia from Thursday, May 15 through Sunday, June 15 under rules adopted today during a joint state hearing of fish and wildlife officials from the two states.

The joint state action is based on a revised estimate of salmon returns issued on Monday by the U.S. v. Oregon Technical Advisory Committee, which adjusted its expected return of upriver Chinook to 224,000 fish, up from the previous estimate of a minimum 185,000 upriver fish.

“We’re pleased to see these additional fish moving into the Columbia, and the opportunity this creates to provide an extended period of recreational salmon fishing,” said John North, ODFW’s Columbia River Program manager. “This is the scenario we were hoping for and we’re glad to see it materialize.”

This is the fourth time this year that fishery managers have extended the spring Chinook season in response to updated information about fish passage and angler success rates. The most recent reopening took place May 9-10.

Under the rules approved at today’s hearing, the season opens to both boat and bank fishing from Tongue Point upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline. The bag limit is two adult adipose fin-clipped salmonids (salmon or steelhead) per day, of which only one may be a Chinook. Shad and adipose fin-clipped jack Chinook may also be kept. All sockeye salmon must be released unharmed.

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