So, here's how things are going to look for 2010 Columbia River Springers:
With the huge nearly half-million fish prediction for this spring, anglers below the Bonneville Falls will only be allowed a combined catch of 17,200 fish. Ouch. I had thought there was going to be more than that.
Downstream of the I-5 bridge, salmon angling will be allowed 7 days a week from March 1 to April 18th, except for every Tuesday in March (possible commercial fishing days).
From I-5 to I-205 (my favorite area) the Columbia will be open March 1 to March 8, then March 10-15. Then again on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from March 18 to April 3rd.
From I-205 to Bonneville, all boat angling (including kayaks) is closed until June 15th. Bank angling is allowed following the same schedule as the I-5 to I-205 stretch.
From Bonneville Dam to the state borders, Spring Chinook cannot be retained until March 16th (steelhead fishing is still open under permanant rules) and will run until May 31st. Boat (and kayak) fishing for salmon/steelhead between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Power Lines is prohibited. Drano Lake will be a HUGE boat show this year as they're expecting 30,000 chinook. That'd be three times more than last year.
Anglers in Oregon will still have the 7-day-a-week fishing opportunity on the Willamette under permanant rules. With the 67,000 chinook expected in the Willy alone, this will probably be the most popular fishery.
So far as Sturgeon are concerned, things are bleak, as expected
A recreational harvest guideline of 19,200 fish was set for 2010. The Willamette River was zoned specificly this year, instead of being treated as a lower Columbia tributary. 3600 of the 19,200 fish are allocated for the Willamette. Both of those numbers are much lower than I had expected, but in all honesty, that is a good thing.
Here are the 2010 sturgeon guidlines as per ODFW's press release:
Columbia River from Buoy 10 to Wauna power lines (River Mile 40)
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed seven days a week Jan. 1 – April 30, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of between 38 and 54 inches. This area is closed to retention of white sturgeon May 1-May 21. The season reopens seven days a week from May 22 through June 26, or until the harvest guideline is achieved, with a daily bag limit of one fish with a fork length of 41 to 54 inches.
Columbia River from Wauna power lines upstream to Bonneville Dam (including all adjacent Washington tributaries)
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Jan. 1 – July 31 and Oct. 1 – Dec. 31, or until the harvest guideline is achieved. Daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches. Angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the upstream end of Skamania Island at River Marker #82 upstream to Bonneville Dam May 1 – Aug. 31.
Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam
This area is expected to reach the harvest guideline of 1,400 fish on Feb. 20, 2010 and will close to retention of white sturgeon effective 12:01 a.m. Feb. 21. Catch-and-release sturgeon angling will remain open.
Columbia River from The Dalles Dam to John Day Dam
This area is open to retention of white sturgeon seven days a week under permanent rules from Jan. 1 until the annual harvest guideline of 300 fish is met. The legal size limit for retention in this area is 43-54 inches fork length.
Columbia River from John Day Dam to McNary Dam
This area is expected to reach the harvest guideline of 165 fish Feb. 28, 2010 and will close to retention of white sturgeon effective 12:01 a.m. March 1. Catch-and-release sturgeon angling will remain open.
Willamette River downstream of Willamette Falls including the Multnomah Channel
Retention of white sturgeon is allowed three days a week on Thursday, Friday and Saturday Jan. 1 – March 31 and Nov. 1 – Dec. 31. Daily bag limit is one white sturgeon with a fork length of 38 to 54 inches. On the Willamette, angling for sturgeon is prohibited from the I-205 Bridge upstream to Willamette Falls May 1 – Aug. 31.