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Columbia River spring Chinook recreational fishing seasons set

Department of Fish and Wildlife

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – After reviewing stock status and a slightly improved upriver spring Chinook forecast from last year’s actual return, fishery managers from Oregon and Washington adopted recreational spring Chinook salmon and steelhead seasons for the Columbia River during a joint state hearing today.

The following regulations will be in effect for the mainstem Columbia River. They modify the current rules which are in effect through Feb. 28 downstream of Bonneville Dam and through March 31 upstream of Bonneville.

Fishery performance will be monitored in-season. A mid-run update is expected in May and spring Chinook fishing opportunity may be added if run size and impacts allow.

Downstream of Bonneville Dam

  • Season: Tuesday, March 1 through Wednesday, April 6
  • Bag limit: Two adult hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) per day, but only one may be a Chinook.
  • Open area: Buoy 10 line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank) plus bank angling only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline. Legal upstream boat boundary defined as: A deadline marker on the Oregon bank (approximately four miles downstream from Bonneville Dam Powerhouse One) in a straight line through the western tip of Pierce Island to a deadline marker on the Washington bank at Beacon Rock. For exact boundaries visit https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/columbia-zone
  • Shad may also be retained.

Bonneville Dam to Oregon/Washington Border

  • Season dates: Friday, April 1 through Thursday, May 5
  • Bag limit: Two adult hatchery salmonids (Chinook or steelhead) per day, but only one may be a Chinook.
  • Open area: Tower Island power lines (approximately six miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to Oregon/Washington border, plus the Oregon and Washington banks between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.

Several 2022 spring Chinook indicators are improved over 2021. The overall forecasted return of adult spring Chinook to the Columbia River mouth (including both upriver and lower river stocks) is 197,000 fish. This is an improvement over last year’s actual return of 152,695 fish though still only 86 percent of the recent 10-year average.

Spring salmon seasons are driven by returns of upriver spring Chinook. This year’s forecasted return of 122,900 fish is also higher than last year’s actual return of 91,756. In another sign of improvement, returns to the Cowlitz, Kalama, and Lewis rivers are projected to meet hatchery escapement goals, so last year’s boat angling exclusion bubble at the Cowlitz River mouth is not in effect this year.

Columbia River spring Chinook salmon seasons are driven by Endangered Species Act limitations and a management agreement between the states and Columbia River Treaty Tribes specifying the total harvest guideline of upriver-origin spring Chinook. The fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam will be managed for a harvest guideline of 3,913 upriver Chinook (kept plus release mortalities) prior to an in-season run size update, and the fishery between Bonneville Dam and the Oregon/Washington-state line will be managed for a pre-update harvest guideline of 559 mortalities.

Open dates can change during the season if/when guidelines are expected to be met. Always check your Angling Zone in ODFW’s Recreation Report /Fishing Report before fishing to make sure regulations haven’t changed, https://myodfw.com/recreation-report/fishing-report/

Anglers are reminded that the use of barbless hooks is required when angling for salmon or steelhead in mainstem Columbia River waters from the mouth upstream to the OR/WA state line.

Sandy, Clackamas, and lower Willamette rivers
Fishery managers are forecasting that 51,200 adult Willamette-origin Chinook will return, which would be an increase from last year’s actual return of approximately 41,300 fish.

The Sandy, Clackamas, and lower Willamette rivers will be open under permanent regulations. One change is that two rods are allowed for anglers with the validation from March 1-Aug. 15 when fishing for all species except sturgeon on the lower Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls (including Multnomah Channel) and in the lower Clackamas River downstream of the Hwy 99 Bridge (just upstream of the confluence with the Willamette).

The two-rod validation costs $28 and is also valid in most ponds and lakes in the state. Youth anglers under age 12 may use two rods in waterbodies where they are allowed without purchasing the validation.

Select Area Recreational Fisheries (Youngs Bay and Blind Slough/Knappa Slough)
Effective March 1 through June 15, on days when the mainstem Columbia River recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam is open to retention of Chinook, the salmonid daily bag limit in Oregon and Washington Select Areas will be the same as mainstem Columbia River bag limits.

On days when the mainstem Columbia River recreational fishery below Bonneville Dam is closed to Chinook retention, the permanent salmonid bag limit regulations for Select Areas apply (see Columbia River Zone permanent regulations). These waters are open year-round to Chinook salmon (hatchery only during Jan. 1 – July 31), hatchery steelhead, and hatchery coho except for some seasonal tributary closures.

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