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Oct. 5 brought 2017 gillnet season to a close

Published on October 10, 2017 4:26PM

ASTORIA — The fall gillnet fishing season was expected to end for the year on Oct. 5 following decisions Sept. 27 by the two-state Columbia River Compact, according to Columbia Basin Bulletin.

Lower river commercial gillnettersn Select Area off-channel sites were required to stop retaining white sturgeon on Oct. 1. The harvest guideline for white sturgeon in the lower river is 1,245 fish: gillnetters had taken 1,193, as of Sept. 29.

In the last week of September, the U.S. v Oregon Technical Advisory Committee updated both the fall Chinook and the summer steelhead run forecasts, the second adjustment TAC made in as many weeks.

For fall Chinook, TAC predicted that 487,000 fall Chinook will enter the Columbia River mouth, down from the previous forecast of 492,800 fish.

The new forecast was 79 percent of the preseason forecast of 613,800 fish (which was 96 percent of 2016’s actual return of 642,400 fish and 84 percent of the 2007-2016 average return of 727,600 fish).

TAC said that passage of bright stocks is tracking consistent with pre-season expectations and so it maintained the pre-season expectation for these stocks. However, it downgraded the Bonneville Pool Hatchery tule run based on reduced lower river harvest estimates. The current fall Chinook forecast of 487,000 fish includes 275,200 upriver brights and 39,700 Bonneville pool hatchery.

In its latest update, TAC increased the number of the combined A- and B-run summer steelhead to 113,200 fish at Bonneville Dam. Based on the recent five-year average run timing, 92 percent of the run is complete by Sept. 24. TAC estimated the combined run size at 107,800 steelhead, with 106,700 A-run fish, including 78,800 hatchery and 27,900 wild steelhead.

However, TAC downgraded the B-run size to 6,500, down from last week’s estimate of 8,500 fish. Of those, 5,500 are hatchery and 1,000 are wild steelhead. Last week TAC had estimated the B-run makeup to be 7,225 hatchery and 1,275 wild.

Through Oct. 5, the Tribes estimated they would harvest 111,670 fall Chinook. Some 77,329 of those are upriver brights (that number anticipates that 100 Chinook will be taken in the upcoming fall platform fishery) and the harvest guideline for the URBs is 82,560 fish based on the updated run-size by TAC, leaving 5,231 fish to catch in their allotment.

Also through the end of fishing Oct. 5, Treaty fishers estimated they will have harvested a total of 10,457 summer steelhead. Of the steelhead catch, 648 are B-run fish. The harvest guideline for the B-runs is 845, leaving 197 fish to catch based on TAC’s downgraded run size. These numbers include 100 A-run and 100 B-run fish in the fall platform fishery.

Treaty gillnetters estimate a catch of 3,924 coho salmon by Oct. 5. There is no harvest guideline for coho.

As of Oct. 3, 295,922 fall Chinook had been counted at Bonneville Dam, along with 34,803 jacks, 50,596 coho adults, 3,230 coho jacks, and 113,365 steelhead. The annual sockeye run came in at 87,693.


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