Oregon, Washington set summer, fall salmon seasons

Cottage Grove Sentinel

Oregon and Washington fishery managers recently announced seasons and regulations for 2020 summer and fall Columbia River fisheries.

Although sockeye and fall Chinook returns show improvement from 2019, below average projections for summer Chinook, coho and upriver summer steelhead will require another year of reduced or closed seasons and bag limits.

The summer season will be limited to sockeye and steelhead retention. The weak summer Chinook forecast of 38,000 fish returning to the Columbia River would be slightly better than the 2019 return but still too small to provide for directed harvest in non-treaty fisheries downstream of Priest Rapids Dam. The improved sockeye forecast of 246,300 will allow for a retention season.

 The fall seasons are based on a projected return of 420,400 fall Chinook, which is about 12 percent higher than the actual return of 375,800 last year. This year’s forecast includes 227,600 upriver bright Chinook, compared to a return of 212,200 in 2019. To reduce the chance of exceeding the ESA limit allowed for non-treaty fisheries as occurred in 2017 and 2018, the states intend to manage the fishery based on an allowed harvest rate of 15 percent on the upriver bright stock — but only allocate 8.25 percent prior to the in-season run update.