Summer chinook salmon season on lower Columbia River opens June 16

Fishing for adult hatchery summer chinook and steelhead in the lower Columbia River will open June 16.

Anglers will be allowed to keep hatchery chinook and sockeye on the lower mainstem river from the Astoria-Megler Bridge upstream to the Bonneville Dam through July 6.

The salmon and steelhead daily limit will be six fish. Up to two of those fish may be adult salmon or hatchery steelhead or one of each. Anglers will have to release all other salmon they catch other than hatchery chinook and sockeye. Sockeye are part of the adult salmon daily limit.

Fishery managers will monitor the fishery and potentially modify the July portion of the fishery, which may include extending the season or allowing retention of any adult chinook, according to a news release from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. In the past, the season has been open through July 31.

This action will implement new permanent rules adopted during the North of Falcon season-setting process that concluded in April, and because hatchery adult summer chinook and sockeye are available for harvest.

An estimated 392,200 sockeye salmon are expected to make their way up the Columbia River this summer, according to preseason forecasts from the department. About 285,000 of those sockeye are bound for the Okanogan River, while almost 107,000 fish are headed for the Wenatchee River.

The summer run of chinook is forecast at 73,000 fish expected to enter the Columbia.

Earlier this year, there was some debate over whether anglers should be allowed to keep any summer chinook caught. Doing so, however, would shorten the season to minimize the effects on stocks of wild chinook.

At this point, however, fishery managers rejected the request to allow wild fish and opted to stick with regulations allowing the retention of hatchery chinook only.