Oregon and Washington fisheries managers approved 36 days of recreational angling in the mainstem Columbia River from Buoy 10 near the river’s mouth to Bonneville Dam to kick off the 2024 spring Chinook salmon season. Fishing begins March 1 and ends April 5, which is more than a month before the spring Chinook season officially ends on June 15.
Fisheries biologists are predicting that a smaller run of upriver spring Chinook salmon will return this year to the Columbia River than had returned last year, and that fewer of those fish will be of natural origin, continuing a years’ long trend, according to a report released last week by Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife agencies.
With another good run of ESA-listed smelt expected this year into the Columbia River and a few lower river tributaries, the two-state Columbia River Compact approved this week commercial research gillnetting for the small fish through mid-March.
Oregon and Washington closed recreational white sturgeon retention from Bonneville Dam upstream to the tailwater of the John Day Dam this week. The closure began the end of the day on January 3.
The state of Washington has successfully reduced the number of commercial Columbia River gillnet licenses in the state from 240 to 67. The reduction is the result of a $14.4 million commercial license reduction program approved by the state’s legislature in 2021, and a part of a plan to move gillnet boats off the mainstem of the river and to give more of the salmon harvest to recreational anglers.
Parties to the lawsuit challenging the federal government’s 2020 environmental impact statement and biological opinion for imperiled salmon and steelhead traversing Columbia/Snake River federal dams have developed a package of “actions and commitments” that they will present to regional partners to get buy-in over the next 45 days.
Oregon and Washington this week set 2024 sturgeon winter retention seasons for recreational anglers in the Columbia River upstream of Bonneville Dam, beginning Jan. 1.
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has published preliminary harvest and value figures for the 2023 Alaska Commercial Salmon Fishery, which show an increase of 69 million harvested salmon over last year. But the market value was way down.
For the first time in more than a decade, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe is exercising its treaty right to harvest salmon from the Elwha River.