Steelhead retention in the Columbia River and lower John Day River will close effective Monday, Aug. 27 through the end of the year due to poor returns.
The states of Oregon and Washington decided to close the retention fishery after the run size was downgraded from a preseason forecast of 182,000 to 110,000 adult summer steelhead on Monday. The revised estimate is lower than last year’s actual returns of 113,000 steelhead, which was far below recent averages and prompted fishery managers to enact a series of rolling season closures to protect the steelhead as they moved upstream.
“Steelhead returns are well below expectations and this latest update just doesn’t support allowing the fishery to continue as is. I encourage people to explore other angling opportunities during this conservation closure period, and if a person does happen to intercept a steelhead it is critical that they do their utmost to ensure its survival by using best fishing practices,” said Tucker Jones, manager of ODFW’s Ocean Salmon and Columbia River Program.
The effective area is from the Columbia River mouth at Buoy 10 upstream to the Highway 395 Bridge near Pasco, Wash. The closure also includes the John Day River from Tumwater Falls downstream to its confluence with the Columbia. As a reminder the previously adopted angling sanctuary at the mouth of the Deschutes River is still in place.
The steelhead closure is scheduled to continue through the end of 2018, although the states will continue to monitor returns and could lift some restrictions if the numbers improve, according to Jones.
Chinook and coho salmon fishing continues on the Columbia according to previously adopted seasons and regulations.
ODFW lists best handling practices on Page 13 of the 2017 Oregon Sport Fishing Regulations.
For more information and regulation updates, please see ODFW’s Columbia River Zone online.