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Spring chinook season extended

The sportfishing season for spring chinook salmon on the lower Columbia River will re-open for two days this week under an agreement reached by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.

Under that agreement, anglers can catch and keep one marked, hatchery chinook salmon tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday as part of their daily limit from the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line upriver to Rooster Rock.

Bank anglers, but not boat anglers, can also fish further upriver to the deadline below Bonneville Dam.

The adult catch limit also includes up to two marked adult steelhead or a combination of one steelhead and one marked chinook. Only hatchery fish marked with a clipped adipose fin may be retained.

Ron Roler, a fishery manager for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), said representatives of the two states will meet again early next week to determine whether to allow any additional days of fishing.

That decision will be based on periodic updates of the number of spring chinook crossing Bonneville Dam, he said

“We’re taking this a couple of days at a time,” Roler said. “We want to give anglers as many days as we can without exceeding the catch guidelines.”

The two-day opening approved for the lower Columbia River does not affect the chinook season in waters stretching 159 miles upriver from Bonneville Dam, currently open through tomorrow. By then, catch levels established under the current minimum run update are expected to exceed the guideline for that area by about 180 fish, Roler said.

However, all catch projections remain below wild chinook conservation limits established under the federal Endangered Species Act, he said. 

“We weren’t going to close that fishery early over 180 fish based on a preliminary minimum run update, but this was not the time to extend it, either,” Roler said. “Catch guidelines change along with the latest run forecast, and we expect to have another run-size update next week.”

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