CLACKAMAS - Oregon and Washington fishery managers decided to reopen Deep River, Youngs Bay and Blind Slough to a limited recreational and commercial spring chinook harvest starting Thursday, May 5, because the risk to imperiled wild salmon is extremely low. In addition, Knappa Slough will open to sport angling.
The mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 to McNary Dam remains closed to the harvest of spring chinook.
Deep River, Youngs Bay, Blind Slough and Knappa Slough are backwaters and sloughs of the Columbia River and are the release sites of hatchery-reared spring chinook salmon. Commercial boats may fish Thursday evening for six hours in Deep River and Blind Slough and four hours in Youngs Bay. The recreational season will reopen 12:01 a.m., Thursday under permanent rules listed in the 2005 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations on pages 89-94.
Preseason predictions for 254,100 "upriver" spring chinook salmon to enter the Columbia River and cross Bonneville Dam have not materialized. Biologists now estimate the run size to be between 70,000 and 100,000 spring chinook. As of Monday, 37,265 adult spring chinook have been counted at the dam. Over the last five years, an average of 65 percent of the run had passed by this time.
Fish managers set the Columbia River spring chinook fishery based on the number of fish expected to return from the ocean and the allowable impact to wild salmon and steelhead stocks listed under the federal Endangered Species Act. "Impacts" are the unintended mortalities associated with handling and releasing wild fish. The allowed non-Indian impacts are 2 percent of the total runs of ESA-listed Snake River spring/summer chinook and Upper Columbia River spring chinook.
Additional information about the Columbia River spring chinook season also may be found on ODFW's Web page at (http://www.dfw.state.or.us/OSCRP/CRM/action_notes.html)
Fishery managers will meet again Tuesday to assess the Columbia River fish runs.