Due to better than expected sockeye fishing, sockeye and hatchery steelhead angling and retention in the mainstem Columbia River will close effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday, June 25.
The closure includes the mainstem Columbia River downstream of the Oregon-Washington border (approximately 17 miles upstream of McNary Dam).
The combined sockeye return to the Columbia River includes fish destined for the Snake River, which are listed as endangered under the Federal Endangered Species Act. Through June 21, anglers downstream of Bonneville Dam have kept an estimated 2,721 sockeye, exceeding the 1 percent ESA take limit allowed for combined non-treaty fisheries. The take limit is based on the preseason forecast of 246,300 fish. Leaving the hatchery steelhead fishery open could result in additional sockeye handling and mortalities.
“I’m happy that anglers have figured out how to catch sockeye in higher run years,” said Tucker Jones, the Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program Manager for Oregon Department of Fish & Wildlife. “Unfortunately that success also means we need to close this fishery due to ESA constraints.”
In-season projections for sockeye and summer Chinook abundance should be available early next week, which will help determine fishery options moving forward into July.