Emergency order halts salmon, steelhead fishing on most of Columbia River

Most of the Columbia River will close to all recreational salmon and steelhead fishing effective Thursday, with the exception of the Hanford Reach.

The closure comes at the tail end of a challenging year on the Columbia that saw low returns for many salmon and steelhead runs, said Bill Tweit, special assistant with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, in the emergency notice.

The department saw record low numbers of summer steelhead and poor ocean conditions.

The commercial harvest on the Columbia River will have to be reduced by fishery managers in Washington and Oregon to account for the number of upriver bright Chinook caught during the fall season.

The closure announced this week extends upstream to Highway 395 in Pasco, excluding Buoy 10 at the mouth of the Columbia River for coho retention.

Steelhead fishing will close in the same areas as the upriver steelhead run size is below forecast and several hatchery programs in the Snake and Clearwater river basis are projected to fall short of broodstock collection goals.