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States set chinook and sturgeon seasons

PORTLAND (ODFW) – Fishery managers from Oregon and Washington set spring chinook salmon and sturgeon fishing seasons for the Columbia and Willamette rivers today during a joint state hearing.

The Columbia River spring chinook seasons are based on a forecast of 141,400 returning upriver spring chinook.

This compares to a 2012 actual upriver return of 203,100 and leaves a harvest guideline of 5,010 upriver fish in the sport fishery downstream of Bonneville Dam.

The season adopted will take effect March 1 and will extend through April 5.

On the Willamette, the spring chinook forecast is 59,800.

This is below last year’s actual return of 65,100 but is still enough to allow for a full chinook retention season.

The Columbia and Willamette sturgeon seasons set are based on a reduced total guideline of 7,796 harvestable fish for recreational fisheries.

This reflects a 15 percent conservation buffer adopted in response to declines in the abundance of legal-sized fish.

Oregon fishery managers also announced the sturgeon retention season for the Willamette River will occur in July with the intent of maximizing fishing days.

In addition to the seasons set, anglers are reminded of rules for 2013.

There is now a one sturgeon annual bag limit in Oregon for all zones statewide.

Under this bag limit, anglers may record just one sturgeon on their 2013 Oregon Combined Angling tag, whether caught on the Columbia River, Willamette River or elsewhere in the state.

Also new for 2013 is a barbless hook requirement when fishing for salmon, steelhead or trout on the Columbia and Willamette (below the falls) rivers and selected tributaries.

Effective March 16, the Columbia, from Bonneville Dam to the Oregon/Washington border will be open to retention of adipose fin-clipped chinook through May 5.

The daily limit is two adipose fin-clipped adult salmon or steelhead in combination, and up to five adipose fin-clipped jack salmon per day.

Fishing for salmon and steelhead Columbia River from Bonneville Dam to The Dalles Dam will consist of winter and summer periods.

The winter retention period will take place from Jan. 1 through Feb. 10, and the summer season is expected to begin in June.

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