Sockeye fishing reopens on lower Columbia River

Columbia River

by WA Department of Fish & Wildlife Staff

OLYMPIA - Starting Saturday (July 13), anglers fishing on the lower Columbia River may catch and keep up to two sockeye salmon as part of their daily catch limit.

The new fishing rule approved by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) will be in effect through July 31 from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upriver to Bonneville Dam.

Ron Roler, WDFW Columbia River policy coordinator, said fishery managers from Washington and Oregon agreed to reopen the sockeye fishery - closed since June 30 - in response to the high number of sockeye still moving up the river.

"They just keep coming," Roler said. "A few weeks ago it appeared the run was starting to taper off, but we're still seeing several thousand sockeye a day moving up the fish ladders at Bonneville Dam."

Based on the current estimate, 165,000 sockeye will return to the Columbia this year, but that number could go up if the run continues at the current pace, Roler said. To date, anglers have caught about 550 sockeye in the lower river.

Anglers are required to use barbless hooks, and release any adult chinook salmon or wild steelhead they intercept. Hatchery steelhead, which are available for harvest, can be identified by a clipped adipose fin.

For additional information on the new fishing rule for sockeye salmon, see on WDFW's website.