PORTLAND - Oregon and Washington fishery managers will close the mainstem Columbia River recreational fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam to chinook retention beginning Friday.

The fishery will remain open for adipose fin-clipped coho and steelhead through the end of the year. The popular fall salmon fishery got off to a slow start in August, but catch rates improved substantially by the end of the month.

The peak observed catch rate occurred during the first and second weeks of September with a sustained average exceeding one chinook per boat. Effort also has been high with up to 1,500 boats per day participating in the fishery on weekend days and 800 boats per day on weekdays. Anglers are projected to have caught approximately 16,000 chinook through the end of September.

"Pre-season, we implemented the one-chinook daily bag limit to increase the chances that the fishery would remain open through September," said Curt Melcher, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "The one-chinook bag limit got us through September, but we needed to take this action to remain within our conservation guidelines and allocation agreements.

"In addition to our conservation mandate, the primary goal for the mainstem recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam is to provide an all-species opportunity through September with additional steelhead and coho fishing opportunity through the end of the year," added Melcher. "We have accomplished that and maintained flexibility for the recreational fishery that takes place above Bonneville Dam."

Oregon anglers are reminded of the following regulations:

•The Buoy 10 area is defined as that part of the Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through red buoy 44 to the navigation light at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank.

•Salmon fishing in the Buoy 10 area remains open through December, for adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead. The daily bag limit is two salmon.

•Salmon fishing from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line to Bonneville Dam remains open for adipose fin-clipped coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead through Dec. 31.

•The Columbia River from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Oregon-Washington border opened Aug. 1 for fall chinook, coho and adipose fin-clipped steelhead through Dec. 31. The daily bag limit includes two adult salmon and five jack salmon.

•The Pacific Ocean from Tillamook Head, Oregon, to Leadbetter Point, Washington, is open for chinook and adipose fin-clipped coho through Sept. 30. The daily bag limit is two salmon with a minimum size of 24 inches for chinook and 16 inches for coho.


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