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Chinook season opened on the Columbia River

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

May 20, 2006

As the latest salmon run in recorded history hits the Columbia River, fishery managers in Oregon and Washington agreed this week to reopen recreational salmon fishing below Bonneville Dam from May 17 to June 15, every day until the harvest impact guideline is reached.

About 100,000 upriver spring Chinook salmon are now expected, which is well above the preseason estimates of 65,000 to 88,400.

Spring Chinook fishing in the upper Bonneville Pool upriver to McNary Dam was also opened recently.

“This is the latest run in recorded history, but it came on strong once it got started,” said Bill Tweit, the agency’s policy leader for Columbia River fisheries. “Now that we have good numbers of fish upriver, we can finally reopen some areas to fishing.”

The mainstem Columbia River opened to recreational fishing on Wednesday, from Bonneville Dam downriver to the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line near the Megler-Astoria Bridge. The fishery will be open seven days per week until further notice.

Anglers fishing in that zone can catch a total of six hatchery Chinook. Only two can be adults. All wild Chinook, chum and sockeye salmon, plus cutthroat trout and wild steelhead, must be released.

Fishery managers also approved a 10-hour opening for commercial fishing in the lower Columbia, beginning Tuesday afternoon. Just over 1,000 spring Chinook had been caught when commercial fishing was closed in mid-March due to concerns about lagging fish returns.

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