With fall Chinook salmon returns to the Columbia River tracking well below preseason predictions, fishery managers announced on Tuesday the Columbia River from the mouth at Buoy 10 to the Hwy 395 Bridge near Pasco, Washington will close for angling and retention of all salmon and steelhead at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 13.
As of Sept. 10, a total of 105,795 adult fall Chinook had passed Bonneville Dam, 75 percent of expectations based on preseason forecasts. The upriver bright Chinook return, which includes ESA-listed Snake River fish, are currently projected to return at 69 percent of expectations which means if left open fisheries could exceed the allowable harvest rate. In response, Oregon and Washington managers decided today to close all salmon fisheries until further notice.
According to Tucker Jones, Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife Columbia River program manager, if the return continues on this track, this could be the lowest fall Chinook return to the mouth of the Columbia since 2007.
“2018 is a pretty bad year for Columbia River salmon returns,” said Jones, “Except for upper Columbia sockeye most runs will come in at 30 percent or less of pre-season forecast.”
Steelhead fishing closed on the Columbia River Aug. 27, also due to poor returns, and will also remain closed until further notice.