Closure only affects the Buoy 10 fisheryRetention of chinook in the Buoy 10 salmon sport fishery will be prohibited after 11:59 p.m. Monday, fishery managers with the Oregon and Washington departments of fish and wildlife decided Wednesday.
"The catches to date have exceeded the preseason expectation, and the impacts to date for upriver brights have exceeded preseason expectations," said Pat Frazier, program leader for the Region 5 fish management plan with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Upriver brights are a run of chinook that the agencies monitor closely, because a portion of them are Snake River wild fall chinook, which are listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.
"To allow other fisheries to occur, primarily the mainstem sport fishery that's just opening, we feel that we need to close this fishery," said Frazier.
Although anglers cannot keep any chinook caught between Buoy 10 and the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line after Monday, they can still retain coho. In addition, chinook caught upstream of the Tongue Point/Rocky Point line can be kept.
The mainstem sport salmon fishery is one that is growing in size and popularity in the last five years, Frazier said, and allowing chinook to make it past Buoy 10 anglers improves the fishing upriver.
Before the Buoy 10 season began, the Oregon and Washington fish and wildlife agencies reached an agreement with sport and commercial fishermen that the fishery would be kept open through Labor Day weekend.
"We agreed in the preseason plan that having that fishery open for Labor Day is a priority," said Curt Melcher, a marine salmon manager with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Preseason estimates for the chinook catch were set at 11,500 fish, but after looking at the landings so far Buoy 10 anglers are expected to catch 14,000 by the end of the day Monday, Melcher said. The preseason estimate for upriver bright chinook was for 2,300 fish, and anglers are expected to catch approximately that number through this weekend.
It's not unusual for the chinook fishery to close at this time of year; although it remained open until the end of the year in 2003, it was closed in late August 2002. Frazier estimated that the fishery closes after Labor Day about a third to a half of the time.