ILWACO — A popular Chinook salmon fishery is opening later than normal on the Columbia River over concerns about the run size.

The Buoy 10 recreational fishery near the mouth of the river typically starts Aug. 1, but will not open until Aug. 14. The fishery has enjoyed high or record-breaking runs of salmon but also faces boom-and-bust cycles.

Washington and Oregon fishery managers noted that when anglers do hit the water this year, “they’ll be in the midst of what is traditionally the peak of the Chinook run.”

In their pre-season forecast fisheries managers estimated a fall Chinook return of 438,300, an increase over the 2019 return of 375,800. However, they expect coho returns to only total 144,800, compared to 210,885 in 2019 — which was considered a poor year.

Meanwhile, with a better-than-expected run of upper Columbia River summer Chinook and sockeye, Oregon and Washington state fisheries managers announced last week that they would provide additional opportunities to fish for salmon and steelhead. Recreational fishing will now run through July 31 in the main stem Columbia River from the Tongue Point-Rocky Point line upstream to Highway 395 at Pasco.

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