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Sockeye fishery opens on Columbia, chinook season closes on lower stretch

UPDATED: Fri., June 29, 2018, 12:46 p.m.

Mindy Webster caught this chinook salmon in the Columbia River near Brewster while fishing with a sockeye lure manufactured by the a business co-owned by her husband and fishing guide Jerrod Gibbons. The Sockanator by Money Maker, a tackle company based in Omak, lure features a UV enhanced holographic Hoochie topped Shaker Wing that wobbles as it spins. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)
Mindy Webster caught this chinook salmon in the Columbia River near Brewster while fishing with a sockeye lure manufactured by the a business co-owned by her husband and fishing guide Jerrod Gibbons. The Sockanator by Money Maker, a tackle company based in Omak, lure features a UV enhanced holographic Hoochie topped Shaker Wing that wobbles as it spins. (Rich Landers / The Spokesman-Review)

Sockeye fishing opens on the Columbia River Sunday.

However, anglers will have to release any chinook salmon caught downriver from Bonneville Dam, according to a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife news release.

Earlier this year both Washington and Oregon fishery managers decided not to schedule a sockeye season due to low projected returns. However updated return numbers predict 209,000 sockeye will return, nearly double what early estimates called for.

“It’s always exciting to see salmon come in above the pre-season forecast,” said Bill Tweit, a WDFW special assistant in a news release. “Sockeye can be elusive in the lower river, but anglers generally do well fishing for them from the Tri-Cities to Brewster.”

Snake River fisheries remain closed to protect Snake River sockeye listed under the federal Endangered Species Act.

However, chinook runs are about 20 percent below initial projections prompting the early closure of the lower Columbia chinook season.

“Based on the low catches to date above Bonneville, we decided to close the chinook fishery in the lower river but leave it open upriver from the dam,” Tweit said.

Starting Sunday, anglers fishing from the Megler-Astoria Bridge to Bonneville Dam on the lower Columbia River can catch a total of six salmon/steelhead a day, according to the news release. The daily limit for adult fish is two adult sockeye salmon or hatchery adult steelhead, or one of each. Anglers can round out their daily six-fish limit with hatchery jack chinook salmon.

For more information and details wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations/.


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