The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced on Wednesday that recreational salmon and steelhead fishing in Oregon waters of the Columbia River will remain closed indefinitely.
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) closed all of Washington’s recreational fisheries on March 25, and in an announcement issued on April 6 extended its hunting and fishing closures through May 4. The Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife jointly manage Columbia River fisheries. In response to Washington’s closure, and to maintain concurrent regulations, Oregon closed the Columbia River spring salmon and steelhead seasons on March 26.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee have both enacted sweeping measures across the two states to reduce citizens’ exposure to the coronavirus or COVID-19, which was classified as a worldwide pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11. In the spirit of these actions, Oregon is also extending its closure. The previously scheduled Joint State Hearing on April 15, to consider additional spring Chinook fishing opportunity has also been cancelled.
The ODFW has left the remainder of Oregon’s recreational fisheries open, subject to monitoring for voluntary compliance with Gov. Brown’s social distancing Stay Home, Save Lives directive. In a statement issued on April 3, ODFW Director Curt Melcher said the agency would monitor ongoing fishing seasons and modify as necessary if anglers, clammers and others fail to practice appropriate social distancing.
While the Columbia remains closed to recreational salmon and steelhead fishing, tributaries and some lakes remain open subject to Oregon’s 2020 Sport Fishing Regulations.