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Reel Time Fishing Northwest

Mark Yuasa covers fishing and outdoors in the Pacific Northwest.

March 31, 2011 at 1:39 PM

Update on Lower Columbia River commercial fishery from Tuesday

The first commercial tangle-net fishery of the season on the Lower Columbia River for spring chinook occurred on Tuesday (March 29) during a four-hour period from 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.

“That was the shortest commercial fishery on record and the full fleet was out from mouth to Kelly Point at the mouth of the Willamette,” said Joe Hymer, a state Fish and Wildlife biologist.

Approximately two-thirds of the fish sold were upriver stock based upon Visual Stock Identification (VSI). That equates to 1,263 salmon and four sturgeon for about 150 deliveries.

Based on the high participation anticipated, and the observed chinook per drift and mark rate found during test fishing, the expected catch was 2,700 chinook (2,400-3,000 range).

“They (commercial fishermen) still have a lot of fish left on the table,” Hymer said. “They have a few thousand upriver fish left to catch so they got about half yet to go.”

There will be another commercial test fishery this weekend, and then another compact meeting is scheduled early next week to discuss another possible full-net fishery.

Once the sport fishery ends on Monday, both states plan to have a separate hearing, which could occur around midweek.

“We’ll get the sport updates a day or so after (it closes April 4), and then there’d be a joint hearing,” Hymer said. “Oregon had some decent (sport fishing) checks, and flows are at flood stage in the Vancouver area, and the river has a bit of turbidity to it, but it sounds like they are getting some fish.”

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