Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring chinook salmon and sturgeon fishing seasons for the Columbia and Willamette rivers today during a joint state hearing.
The Columbia River spring chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 198,400 returning upriver spring chinook. Under fishery agreements with Columbia River treaty tribes, the two states adopted a 30 percent early-season run size buffer, leaving a combined harvest guideline of 7,750 fish in the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.
The sturgeon seasons adopted at the joint state hearing are based on a reduced total guideline of 17,000 harvestable fish for 2011, which represents a reduction of nearly 30 percent from the 2010 guideline and a 40 percent reduction from 2009. Retention sturgeon fishing is currently open in the Columbia River but was closed on the Willamette in an emergency action adopted earlier this year
During Tuesday’s meeting, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced that it will reopen retention sturgeon fishing on the Willamette three days a week beginning Thursday, Feb. 17 and continuing until a harvest guideline of 2,550 fish is achieved.
“There has been a great deal of interest on Willamette sturgeon,” said Williams, who announced the Oregon action after the joint state hearing. “We saw a great deal of effort last fall on the Willamette that amounted to over 500 fish caught in three days. We expect the fishery to be good when it reopens on the 17th.”