Sturgeon, spring chinook
Here are two snippets of information garnered at Thursday’s meeting of the bi-state Columbia River Recreational Advisers Group and Friday’s Columbia River Compact meeting.
About sturgeon: Washington and Oregon biologists are recommending the Columbia River sport-commercial harvest guideline in 2011 drop to 17,000, down from the guideline of 24,000 this year. The actual 2010 catch was 18,580 because the gillnetters and the estuary sport fishery both left portions of their allocation in the river.
However, the sentiment at the recreational advisory group meeting was for a significantly lower catch guideline, with the figure 13,000 tossed about.
Last week, two members of the Washington Fish and Wildlife Commission also mentioned they might want to see the catch ceiling be less than 17,000.
About salmon: In 2010, there were two main commercial fishing periods for spring chinook in the lower Columbia. The gillnet fleet had two 12-hour periods (March 30 and April 7) and fished upstream as far at Interstate 205 with tangle nets. They caught 9,130 salmon in those two periods.
But this year, with a good run of 104,000 Willamette River spring chinook forecasted, and 62,400 of those being 5-year-olds, be prepared for gillnetting beginning in February.
It is generally believed the Willamette 5-year-olds return a bit earlier than other spring chinook. The commercials said on Friday they could see themselves starting for spring chinook soon after completion of their winter sturgeon season on Feb. 9.