OLYMPIA — Starting today, Sept. 13, fishing for salmon is closed on the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to Hwy 395 in Pasco under new rules approved by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.
Sport fishing had been very slow. The most recently posted creel report for the Buoy 10 coho fishery counted 20 fish retained on Sept. 2, with 123 boats on the water.
Deep River in Washington and other tributaries in Oregon (Youngs Bay, Tongue Point/South Channel, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough) are also closed to salmon and steelhead angling.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife already prohibited steelhead retention in much of the same area of the Columbia River several weeks ago, and the new emergency rule closes angling for both salmon and steelhead in those waters as well.
Bill Tweit, Columbia River fishery coordinator for WDFW, said the counts of fall Chinook at Bonneville Dam are 29 percent below preseason forecasts, and on-going fisheries are approaching the allowable catch limits under the Endangered Species Act (ESA).
“We recognize that this closure is difficult for anglers, but we have an obligation to meet our ESA goals so that fisheries can continue in the future,” he said.
Tweit said the upriver fall Chinook run provides the bulk of the harvest opportunity for fall fisheries, but that returns in recent years has been declining due to unfavorable ocean conditions. The preseason forecast for this year is 47 percent of the 10-year average return of upriver bright fall Chinook.
The new emergency fishing rule is posted on WDFW’s website at fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.