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More of the Columbia opened to 6-sockeye daily limit

Angler Rob Lentz lands a sockeye salmon from the Columbia River. (Rich Landers)
Angler Rob Lentz lands a sockeye salmon from the Columbia River. (Rich Landers)

FISHING -- With a record run charging upstream, the catch limit for sockeye is being increased to six a day in the Columbia River upstream from the Tri-Cities.

On Friday the limit was increased from four to six upstream from Priest Rapids to Wells Dam.

Starting Tuesday, the sockeye daily limit will be increased for the mainstem Columbia above the Highway 395 Bridge at Pasco.

On Wednesday, the six-fish limit will be allowed in the Wells Dam area, making the entire upper Columbia to Chief Joseph Dam -- except the section that's closed to fishing and access because of Wanapum Dam repairs -- open for six a day.

Here are the details just announced by the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife:

Action: Anglers will be able to retain eight salmon and up to six adult sockeye salmon in the mainstem Columbia River above Priest Rapids Dam.

Effective dates and locations on Mainstem Columbia River:

  1. From Hwy. 395 Bridge at Pasco to Priest Rapids Dam, July 15 – July 31, 2014.
  2. From Priest Rapids Dam to Wanapum Dam, July 11 – Aug. 31, 2014.
  3. From Wanapum Dam to Wells Dam, July 11 – Oct. 15, 2014.
  4. From Wells Dam to Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster, July 16 – Aug. 31, 2014.
  5. From Hwy 173 Bridge in Brewster to Chief Joseph Dam, July 11 – Oct. 15, 2014

Species affected: Sockeye salmon

Reason for action: Sockeye salmon returns above Priest Rapids Dam are predicted to be far in excess of needs for wild fish escapement to the spawning grounds. The population is not listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). 

Other rules: Minimum size 12 inches. Daily limit eight salmon, up to two may be adult hatchery chinook and up to six may be sockeye. Release coho and wild adult chinook.  Release all sockeye with colored anchor (floy) tag attached. 

Other Information:  All anglers must possess a valid fishing license and a Columbia River Salmon/Steelhead Endorsement to participate in this fishery. Revenue from the endorsement supports salmon or steelhead seasons on many rivers in the Columbia River system, including enforcing fishery regulations and monitoring the upper Columbia River steelhead fisheries. The endorsement has generated more than $1 million annually for WDFW to maintain and increase fishing opportunities throughout the Columbia River Basin.

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Rich Landers
Rich Landers joined The Spokesman-Review in 1977. He is the Outdoors editor for the Sports Department writing and photographing stories about hiking, hunting, fishing, boating, conservation, nature and wildlife and related topics.

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