The lower river closed to recreational fishing in early September to protect lower Columbia River ‘tule’ Chinook salmon
OLYMPIA – The lower Columbia River below Bonneville Dam will open additional areas for recreational salmon fishing beginning Oct. 1, fishery managers from Washington and Oregon announced Wednesday.
The lower river closed to recreational fishing in early September to protect lower Columbia River “tule” Chinook salmon, which are listed as threatened under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). Portions of the lower river reopened in mid-September for coho and Chinook fishing.
With the vast majority of the lower river “tule” Chinook having moved out of the mainstem Columbia River into the tributaries, fishery managers with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife determined that fishing could resume throughout the lower river.
“Based on historic run timing and catch information, we’re able to reopen fishing across the lower river without exceeding our allowed impacts for ESA-listed fish,” said Ryan Lothrop, Columbia River fisheries manager with WDFW. “We continue to see coho and upriver Chinook moving upstream, so there should be some late-season mainstem opportunity for any anglers who want to brave the fall weather.”
While managers don’t expect additional impacts to tules in the Columbia River mainstem, there are concerns about low numbers of those lower river Chinook that have returned to some area tributaries, particularly the Cowlitz and Washougal rivers. Washington fishery managers anticipate taking action to increase the likelihood that broodstock collection goals can be met for those rivers.
Salmon fishing will be open on the mainstem from Buoy 10 near the mouth of the Columbia to the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line with a daily adult bag limit of three salmon, only one of which may be a Chinook. Anglers must release all steelhead and salmon other than Chinook or hatchery coho.
From the Rocky Point/Tongue Point line to Bonneville Dam, the daily adult bag limit is two fish, only one of which may be a Chinook. Anglers must release all steelhead and salmon other than Chinook or hatchery coho.
Anglers should be sure to check the 2022-23 Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet to see permanent regulations for the section of river where they hope to fish, as well as WDFW’s emergency rules webpage for updates to fisheries on the Columbia River mainstem and adjacent tributaries.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife works to preserve, protect, and perpetuate fish, wildlife and ecosystems while providing sustainable fish, wildlife, and recreational and commercial opportunities.