The spring chinook salmon sport fishery on the lower Columbia River has been extended through April 12 under an agreement reached Wednesday by fishery managers from Washington and Oregon.
The recreational fishery will be closed Tuesday to accommodate a possible commercial fishery.
The sports harvest has been running well below expectations, prompting fishery managers to add six days to the initial recreational fishing season, previously set to continue through Friday.
Through March, anglers had caught just 1,500 adult spring chinook salmon, about 25 percent of the 6,100-fish harvest expected by this point in fishery, said Ron Roler, Columbia River Policy coordinator for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“The season definitely got off to a slow start, but the bulk of the run is starting to move in,” Roler said in a news release. “River conditions are excellent – low and warm – so we will be monitoring the fishery closely to make sure the catch doesn’t exceed the established guideline.”
Guy Norman, WDFW southwest regional director, said fishery managers from both states will watch the catch throughout the extension period and close the fishery earlier if necessary.
“We want to keep the fishery open through April 12 – and perhaps even longer – but we have to hold the catch within the guideline,” Norman said in the news release. “The situation can change very quickly in April when the fish start moving upriver in large numbers.”
Managers are to meet in May to consider whether potential changes in the runsize will allow a late-season opening.
This year’s fishery is based on a projected run of 141,400 upriver fish, about 25 percent below the 10-year average. By comparison, approximately 203,000 fish destined for areas above Bonneville Dam returned to the Columbia River last year.