OLYMPIA – Starting Monday, Aug. 24, anglers participating in the popular Buoy 10 fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River will be required to release any chinook salmon with an intact adipose fin that strikes their lures.
A new rule, approved today by state fishery managers from Washington and Oregon, will limit the chinook salmon catch to abundant hatchery fish marked by a missing adipose fin. As before, coho salmon with an intact adipose fin must also be released on the same 16-mile stretch of the lower river.
The two states’ action follows three weeks of soaring catch rates and high angler turnout that have rapidly propelled the chinook fishery toward its annual catch quota of 34,800 salmon.
Guy Norman, southwest regional director for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said the recreational catch in the Buoy 10 fishery is expect to reach 70 percent of the quota by the time the new regulation takes effect.
“This year’s Buoy 10 chinook fishery got off to a fast start and just kept going,” Norman said. “We had to switch to mark-selective regulations to meet federal conservation limits and to have a chance of keeping the chinook fishery open through Labor Day as previously scheduled.”
Wild chinook salmon returning to the lower Columbia River are listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act, which limits on impacts to those fish in the river system and on the Washington coast.
Under the new rule, anglers are limited to one adult hatchery chinook with a clipped adipose fin as part of their daily catch limit of two salmon, two steelhead, or one of each. Wild, unmarked steelhead and all salmon except for hatchery chinook and coho with a clipped adipose fin must be released unharmed.
Barbless hooks are required when fishing for salmon and steelhead on the Columbia River and many of its tributaries.
According to the preseason forecast, 925,300 adult fall chinook salmon will return to the Columbia River this year – up 50 percent from the 10-year average. This year’s projected return of 539,600 coho is also well above the 10-year average of 459, 000 fish.
For more information on fishing rules for the Buoy 10 fishery, see WDFW’s website at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/ .