September 12, 2008

Fall Chinook Salmon Season Will Remain Open Through Tuesday


Fall chinook salmon retention in the lower Columbia River will not close early, instead remaining open through Tuesday.

Washington and Oregon officials made the decision on Thursday to leave fall chinook angling between Tongue Point and Bonneville Dam open through the scheduled season, which concludes at the end of Tuesday.

Chinook retention at Buoy 10 in the Columbia River estuary closed a week earlier than scheduled, and rumors on the river had an early closure looming between Bonneville and Tongue Point.

Retention of hatchery coho and hatchery steelhead will continue even after the ban on chinook begins Wednesday, said Cindy LeFleur of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Through Tuesday, the sport fleet will have landed a projected 9,100 fall chinook. That's a little more than modeled, but actual catches and Bonneville Dam counts can vary significantly from estimates at this time of year.

Bill Tweit of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife said if lower Columbia anglers do exceed their allotted share, the difference will be made up from the sport share upstream of Bonneville Dam.

Fall chinook fishing on the lower Columbia River is very popular, with hundreds of boats a day stretched from Cathlamet to North Bonneville.

"These huge participation numbers have been a lifeline to our industry,'' said Liz Hamilton, executive director of the Northwest Sportfishing Industry Association. "This certainly shows it's not gas or the economy, but lack of fish, that's holding us back.''

Net seasons - The Columbia River Compact will meet at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Building 16 Conference Room of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife office, 17330 S.E. Evelyn St., Clackamas, to adopt gillnet seasons in the lower river.

Flyfishers group sets meeting

The Clark-Skamania Flyfishers will meet at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Bill's Chicken and Steak House, 2200 St. Johns Blvd.

Peter Patricelli will discuss how to take photographs and video of fish.

For more information, visit the club's Web site at www.clark- .

Originally published by ALLEN THOMAS Columbian staff writer.

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