September 24, 2008

Officials Increase Catch Limit

Anglers may retain two adult fall chinook salmon in the Columbia River beginning Thursday.

Washington and Oregon officials on Tuesday liberalized the limit from one adult chinook to two between Warior Rock on Sauvie Island and Bonneville Dam.

Washington's limit is six salmon, with no more than two adults.

State and tribal biologists met Monday and projected the run of Columbia upriver bright fall chinook at 212,500.

Under a new 10-year Columbia River salmon sharing plan between the tribes and non-Indians, when the upriver bright run exceeds 200,000 including at least 6,000 endangered Snake River wild chinook, the tribal harvest rate jumps from 23 percent to 27 percent and the non-Indian rate from 8.25 percent to 11 percent.

Chris Kern of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said shifting to a two-chinook limit will not add a lot of salmon to the catch this late in the run, but might allow some fishermen a bit more opportunity.

There is no way the combined sport and commercial harvest will exceed the 11 percent limit, he added.

State officials also adopted several more periods of commercial fishing.

The gillnet fleet will fish from 7 p.m. today until 7 a.m. Thursday and 7 p.m. Thursday until 7 a.m. Friday with eight-inch mesh nets from the mouth of the Lewis River upstream to Beacon Rock.

The netters also will fish the same area from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily from Sunday through Oct. 3.

A daylight commercial period from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday from the ocean to Beacon Rock to target on sturgeon also is scheduled. Commercial fishermen must use 9-inch minimum mesh in that area Thursday.

Originally published by The Columbian.

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