State fishery managers have closed all salmon fishing on the Columbia River Thursday as returns of fall Chinook salmon continue to track well below earlier predictions.
If the return continues to be low, it would be the lowest return of fall Chinook to the mouth of the Columbia River since 2007, according to Tucker Jones, Columbia River Program manager with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
“2018 is a pretty bad year for Columbia River salmon returns,” he said. “Except for upper Columbia sockeye, most runs will come in at 30 percent or less of preseason forecast.”
Angling for salmon and steelhead retention is closed until further notice from the mouth of the Columbia River at Buoy 10 through the U.S. Highway 395 bridge near Pasco, Washington. The closure affects fishermen in both Oregon and Washington state.
A total of 105,795 fall Chinook passed Bonneville Dam as of Monday. Upriver bright Chinooks, which include Snake River fish listed under the federal Endangered Species Act, are also expected to come in low. If the fisheries were left open, fishermen could exceed the allowable harvest rate.
Steelhead fishing closed on the Columbia River Aug. 27, also due to poor returns, and will remain closed until further notice.