COLUMBIA RIVER - State fishery officials late Monday moved to re-open the mainstem Columbia river this week for sport and commercial fishing, responding to the late but robust return of spring Chinook salmon in the river.
State fishery managers from Oregon and Washington, meeting as the Columbia River Compact, agreed to open recreational salmon angling on the Columbia River, from Tongue Point to Bonneville Dam, from May 17 to June 15, every day until the harvest impact guideline is reached.
Anglers may keep two adipose fin-clipped adult spring Chinook or steelhead. Steelhead angling opens today, from Tongue Point to the bridge at I-5, under permanent state regulations. Steelhead angling from I-5 to Bonneville opens May 17. Shad angling on the mainstem Columbia River opens today, from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam.
While this spring's salmon are the latest returning run on record, recent fish counts at Bonneville Hatchery indicate the run size will exceed the pre-season forecast of 88,400 returning adult fish. The projection was amended to 100,000 earlier this week.
Rules in effect for spring Chinook fisheries on the Columbia River require anglers and commercial fishers to release any wild salmon. Mortality rates for released wild Chinook - also known as "allowable impacts" - cannot exceed 2 percent of the wild run, under federal Endangered Species Act guidelines.
The Columbia River Compact will meet again Thursday at 9 a.m. to review catch estimates and run size estimates.