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Fishing News Release & Updates

(Updated 5-27-15) 

 Trout season opens for ALL Oregon waters May 23 - Oct 31 2015


Attention Anglers:

 Beginning Jan. 1, 2010, you will need an "Aquatic Species Prevention Permit" for your drift boat, canoe or inflatable pontoon boat over 10 feet long. Permits are transferable to other non-motorized boats, but each boat on the water needs a permit. Permits go on sale Dec 1 wherever ODFW licenses are sold and online. For more information see the news release.



Chinook fishing opens above Beacon Rock, Bonneville


CLACKAMAS, Ore. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington today opened two recreational Chinook salmon seasons on the Columbia River based on improved returns, and closed retention sturgeon fishing in another area.

Chinook salmon fishing will open to boat anglers from Beacon Rock upstream to the fishing deadline at Bonneville Dam, effective Saturday May 30 through June 15. Previously, this section of the river was open only to bank anglers. With this modification, Chinook fishing is now permitted for both boat and bank fishers from Tongue Point upstream to Bonneville Dam. This area will also open to retention of steelhead along with Chinook.

Fishery managers also reopened the Columbia above Bonneville Dam to Chinook salmon and steelhead fishing from Thursday, May 28 through June 15. The open area extends from the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles below The Dalles Dam, upstream to the Oregon/Washington border. In addition, bank (but not boat) fishing is permitted on both sides of the river from Bonneville Dam upstream to the Tower Island power lines.

The daily bag limit for all fisheries noted above includes two adult salmonids per day, but only one may be a Chinook. Only adipose fin-clipped fish may be kept and all other permanent regulations apply. Sockeye may not be retained until the summer season opens June 16.

Additionally, fishery managers closed the John Day Pool and tributaries to retention of white sturgeon, effective June 3. Catch and release fishing for sturgeon remains allowed in the John Day Pool, except from May through July in the sturgeon spawning sanctuary that runs from McNary Dam downstream to the I-82 Bridge.


Spring Chinook fishery opens on Powder River


LA GRANDE, Ore. — A unique spring Chinook fishery will open on the Powder River next Tuesday when the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife plans to release approximately 200 spring Chinook salmon into the river.

The release is tentatively planned for May 20 and will take place immediately below Mason Dam. The actual release date will depend on when and how many fish can be trapped at Hells Canyon Dam. The Powder River from Hughes Lane Bridge near Baker City to Mason Dam will open to spring Chinook from May 19 to Sept. 1. The daily bag limit has been increased from past years to four spring Chinook per day.

The fish being released in the Powder River are part of an anticipated strong return to the Hells Canyon Dam on the Snake River. When more fish return to the dam than are needed for brookstock, excess fish can be transported to tributaries to provide additional fishing needs.

Interested anglers should contact the ODFW Northeast Region Office at (541) 963-2138 to confirm fish release dates.


Hood River opens for chinook on April 15

April 7, 2015

THE DALLES, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced that the popular spring chinook fishery on the Hood River will open April 15.

According to Rod French, ODFW fish biologist, managers are predicting over 1100 hatchery fish will return to the Hood River.

“The Hood River fishery is one of the few places a bank angler has a pretty good chance of catching a Columbia River spring chinook,” French said.

While the fishery will open in mid-April, French said the run usually peaks in late May due to colder water temperatures in the Hood River.

Here is a summary of the temporary rules for the Hood River adopted by ODFW:

  • Open for adipose fin-clipped chinook from April 15 through June 30 from the mouth to mainstem confluence with the East Fork, and the West Fork from the confluence with the mainstem upstream to the angling deadline 200 feet downstream of Punchbowl Falls.
    • The catch limit is two adult adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon per day, and five adipose fin-clipped jack chinook salmon per day.
    • All non-adipose fin-clipped chinook salmon must be released unharmed.

No spring Chinook season on Deschutes River
Anglers can expect fall Chinook season in August

THE DALLES, Ore. –Fisheries managers have announced that the popular spring Chinook fishery on the Deschutes River will not open in 2015.

According to Rod French, district fish biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, managers are predicting a very poor return of both hatchery and wild fish this season.

Spring Chinook returns to the Deschutes – both wild and hatchery -- have been depressed the last several years, French said. However, this year’s return could be especially hard hit due to a very low number of hatchery fish expected to return to the Round Butte Hatchery.

In order to ensure that the hatchery is able to collect enough brood stock to meet production goals, fishery managers have determined the Deschutes will remain closed to spring Chinook under permanent rule. In years with good returns, a spring Chinook fishery has been opened under emergency rules.

Fishery managers are unsure why returns to the hatchery are down.

“Smolt releases from Round Butte have remained constant in recent years, but the number of fish returning has been declining,” French said.  “We’re working to determine what’s causing the poor survival of these hatchery releases.”

The fall Chinook season on the Deschutes River will open Aug. 1. Unlike the wild spring Chinook population, the wild fall Chinook population in the Deschutes is one of the healthiest stocks in the Columbia Basin, and the anticipated return should be well above management goals.

“All indications are fishing could be as good as last year, when a near-record number of fall Chinook returned to the Deschutes and fishing was excellent,” French said.


States set spring Chinook, smelt seasons

VANCOUVER, Wash. – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring Chinook salmon and smelt seasons for the Columbia River and some of its tributaries today during a joint state hearing in Vancouver.

The Columbia River spring Chinook season is based on a forecast of 232,500 returning upriver spring Chinook, compared to an actual return of 242,600 last year. The forecast provides for a fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam running through Friday, April 10 with an expected kept catch of about 11,500 spring Chinook prior to a run update. The season for the lower Columbia below the I-5 Bridge opened Jan. 1 under permanent rules. The regulations adopted today will take effect March 1.

Above Bonneville, the states approved a 52-day Chinook retention season starting on Monday, March 16 and continuing through Wednesday, May 6.

“We’re experiencing some times of very good spring Chinook fishing,” said Chris Kern, deputy administrator of ODFW’s Fish Division. “This year’s run represents some outstanding opportunity relative to where we’ve been in the past.”

In a separate individual state action, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife announced it will again conduct a very limited recreational smelt fishery on the Sandy River, from 6 a.m. until noon on Saturday, March 7 and again Sunday, March 15. Washington announced the Cowlitz River recreational smelt fishery will take place on Saturday, Feb. 7 and Saturday, Feb. 14, also from 6 a.m. until noon. This is the second time since 2011 that the states have allowed recreational smelt fishing since the fish were listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act.

The following is a summary of spring recreational fishing seasons, including those adopted at today’s meeting.


Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Bonneville Dam

Prior to March 1, permanent rules, as outlined in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations, remain in effect.

From March 1 through April 10, boat fishing will be allowed seven days a week from Buoy 10 upstream to Beacon Rock. Bank fishing will be allowed during the same timeframe from Buoy 10 upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline. The recreational fishery will be closed on March 24, March 31 and April 7 (Tuesdays) to allow for potential commercial fisheries. This fishery will be managed prior to a run update based on the available guideline of 10,318 upriver spring Chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.

The daily bag limit will be two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a Chinook. The rules also allow retention of up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day in Oregon.

Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border

Effective March 16 through May 6, this area will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped Chinook. Fishing for salmon and steelhead from a boat between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines, approximately six miles downstream from The Dalles Dam, is prohibited. Bank fishing is allowed throughout this area.

This fishery will be managed to the available harvest guideline of 1,376 upriver spring Chinook and may be shortened or extended depending on catch and effort.

The daily bag limit will be two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, of which no more than one may be a Chinook. The rules also allow retention of up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day in Oregon.

Select Areas

Permanent fishing regulations for recreational harvest in Oregon waters within Youngs Bay and Blind Slough/Knappa Slough are listed in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.

Based on today’s action, effective March 1 through June 15, 2015 on days when the mainstem below Bonneville Dam is open to recreational Chinook harvest, the daily salmonid bag limit will be the same as mainstem Columbia bag limits. On days the mainstem Columbia is closed to Chinook retention, the permanent bag limits for Select Areas will apply.

Willamette River

On the Willamette River, the spring Chinook forecast is 55,400 fish. This is slightly more than last year’s actual return of 51,800 and will allow for a full Chinook retention season as described under permanent regulations.

The Willamette River remains open to retention of adipose fin-clipped adult Chinook salmon and adipose fin-clipped steelhead seven days a week.

The bag limit on the Willamette below Willamette Falls is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination. Above the falls, two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon and an additional three adipose fin-clipped steelhead may be retained in the daily bag limit.


Effective March 1 through May 15, 2015 the mainstem Columbia River will be open for retention of shad and adipose fin-clipped steelhead only during days and in areas open for retention of adipose fin-clipped spring Chinook. Beginning May 16 permanent rules resume as listed in the 2015 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.


Effective Saturday, March 7 and Sunday, March 15, from 6 a.m. until noon the Sandy River will be open for retention of smelt. Bank only fishing is allowed, restricted to dip nets, and a bag limit of 10 pounds per person. Under Oregon fishing regulations anglers do not need a license to harvest smelt.




Barbless hooks, new Columbia River endorsement required for sport anglers

The Commission declined to delay the barbless hook requirement on the Columbia River and selected tributaries. Therefore, beginning in 2013, barbless hooks will be required in the mainstem Columbia River up to the OR/WA border and some lower tributaries.

For 2013 the following tributaries will be restricted to barbless hooks:

Northwest Zone

  • Youngs River from Hwy 101 bridge upstream to markers at confluence with Klaskanine River.
  • Lewis and Clark River from Hwy 101 bridge upstream to Alternate Hwy 101 bridge.
  • Walluski River from confluence with Youngs River upstream to Hwy 201 bridge.
  • Gnat Creek from railroad bridge upstream to Aldrich Point Road.
  • Knappa/Blind Slough select areas.

Willamette Zone

  • Willamette River mainstem below Willamette Falls, includes the Multnomah Channel and Gilbert River.
  • Lower Clackamas River upstream to Hwy 99E bridge.


Google fishing map points to NW Oregon trout locales


Progress Trout
The new Google-based trout fishing map unveiled this week by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife directs anglers to 111 sites where hatchery-produced rainbow trout are released.

CLACKAMAS, Ore. – The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife today introduced a new Fishing Map to help anglers find trout stocking locations in the department’s Northwest Region.

The Google-based map is available via the ODFW website and details 111 sites around the Willamette Valley and North Coast areas of Oregon where the department releases more than 1.2 million hatchery-reared rainbow trout. ODFW releases rainbow trout ranging in size from “legals” about eight inches long to “trophies” that can weigh in excess of 10 pounds. The planters are produced by several ODFW trout hatcheries. Trout stocking is one of ODFW’s largest and most popular recreational programs.

The fishing map can be accessed from the department’s website from links in several places, including the Trout Stocking Schedule page, weekly Recreation Report and Where and How to Fish page. The map allows viewers to zoom in for a close-up at the sites in their choice of map, satellite and terrain view. Clicking on the icon opens a text balloon with site photos, links to nearby campgrounds and other points of interest, fish species, and links to ODFW’s weekly recreation report, trout stocking schedule and sport fishing regulations. The Google engine is also capable of generating GPS coordinates and directions from any starting point. Sites are designated with blue icons that look like a fish head and hook and line.

Trout fishing is the most popular fishery in the state, according to a survey of anglers the department conducted in 2006, and the new fishing map is designed to build upon that popularity. Of those anglers surveyed in the 2006 study, 73 percent said they had fished for trout in the past year. That equates to approximately 420,000 anglers.

“This is our most popular fishery, and the trout we produce at our hatcheries are a very important component of trout fishing,” said Rhine Messmer, ODFW Recreational Fisheries Program manager for Inland Fisheries. “A lot of the time these fisheries provide entry-level opportunity for our younger anglers and their families at ponds, lakes and streams across the state. These fisheries are by nature some of the easiest to participate in and are important to angler recruitment.”

Because it is so heavily populated, ODFW releases a large share of its hatchery-reared trout within the department’s NW Region, which is the most populous area of the state and spans 13 counties, including Benton, Clackamas, Clatsop, Columbia, Lane, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Tillamook, Washington, and Yamhill. The cost of the trout stocking program is covered primarily through the sale of Oregon fishing licenses.

Freshwater fishing is a huge economic driver for Oregon. A 2009 study for the department by Dean Runyan and Associates estimated that the freshwater fishing contributed nearly $200 million to the state’s economy every year. While the study didn’t break sales down by fresh water species, which would also include salmon, steelhead and other types of fish, the economic impact of trout fishing on the state’s economy is nonetheless significant.

“Given the high level of participation there is no question this is a high value fishery,” said Messmer.

The fishing map is the latest addition to a suite of Google-based maps, including the Wildlife Viewing Map and Oregon Hunting Map.

For more information, visit ODFW’s website at www.dfw.state.or.us.

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