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For Immediate Release Wednesday, July 30, 2003

Fall Salmon Seasons Open Friday in Columbia River

PORTLAND - The popular "buoy 10" fall salmon fishery at the mouth of the Columbia River gets underway Friday, but managers caution it could be a slow start.

"I expect the fall chinook fishery to start slowly and then improve dramatically in mid-August," said Curt Melcher, a biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife. "Coho will be available in good numbers through early October."

Buoy 10 anglers have a two salmon daily catch limit, only one of which may be a chinook. Beginning Aug. 16, the daily catch limit increases to three salmon per day, only one of which may be a chinook.

Biologists estimate that fall chinook and coho runs will total more than one million fish. The run sizes are down slightly from last year, but will provide excellent fishing opportunity. The run size for fall chinook is expected to be 595,200 fish compared to more than 700,000 fall chinook last year. For coho, biologists forecast that 429,000 will migrate upstream compared to more than 500,000 coho last year.

Anglers are reminded to use caution when fishing in the Columbia River near the mouth. Conditions can be extremely rough and have led to fatalities. In addition, anglers should keep clear of the shipping channel if an approaching vessel is within one mile and should stay at least 100 yards away from the sides and stern of all large vessels.

Oregon anglers fishing in the ocean and the Columbia River are reminded of the following regulations:
· The Buoy 10 area is defined as that part of the Columbia River from Buoy 10 upstream to a line projected from Rocky Point on the Washington bank through red buoy 44 to the navigation light at Tongue Point on the Oregon bank.
· In the Pacific Ocean and Buoy 10 areas, each angler aboard a vessel may continue to use angling gear until the daily limit of fish for all legally licensed and juvenile anglers aboard has been achieved. However, no individual angler may exceed any personal daily bag limit.
· Salmon fishing in the Buoy 10 area opens Friday, Aug. 1, for adipose fin-clipped coho, adipose fin-clipped steelhead, and fall chinook. The daily bag limit is two salmon, only one of which may be a chinook. Starting Saturday, Aug. 16, the bag limit increases to three salmon, only one of which may be a chinook. For the Buoy 10 fishery through Sept. 30, the minimum size limit is 16 inches for coho, 20 inches for steelhead, and 24 inches for chinook. Jack salmon may be retained beginning Oct. 1.
· The Columbia River upstream from the Rocky Point-Tongue Point line to the Oregon-Washington border also opens Aug. 1 for fall chinook, adipose fin-clipped coho, and adipose fin-clipped steelhead through Dec. 31. Coho need not be missing their adipose fin if caught and retained upstream of Bonneville Dam.
· Anglers fishing in the ocean off the Columbia River mouth and in the Columbia River are limited to one daily catch limit of adult salmon and, where legal, five jack salmon.
· The sturgeon season in the Columbia River below the Wauna powerlines is closed to retention. Catch and release sturgeon fishing is allowed.
· The sturgeon season in the Columbia River from the Wauna powerlines up to Bonneville Dam is open to retention. Consult the 2003 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations for bag and size limits.

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Information and Education Division
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife
(503) 872-5264 ext 5528
 
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