Clamming, springer openings set; steelhead closed along the coast
February 24, 2022
The Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife has announced seven days of clamming starting Saturday, Feb. 26, the opening of the Columbia River spring chinook fishing season on March 1 and the closure of steelhead fishing along the Pacific Coast, also effective March 1.
WDFW approved seven days of razor clam digging during evening low tides beginning Feb. 26
Shellfish managers confirmed the following digs during evening low tides will proceed as scheduled, after marine toxin results from the Washington Department of Health showed razor clams were safe to eat:
Feb. 26, Saturday, 3:18 P.M .; 0.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Feb. 27, Sunday, 4:16 P.M .; -0.4 feet; Long Beach, Mocrocks
Feb. 28, Monday, 5:06 P.M .; -0.8 feet; Long Beach
March 1, Tuesday, 5:50 PM; -0.9 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
March 2, Wednesday, 6:30 PM; -0.8 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
March 3, Thursday, 7:07 PM; -0.5 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Mocrocks
March 4, Friday, 7:42 PM 0.0 feet; Long Beach, Twin Harbors, Copalis
Details on these and future digs can be found at wdfw.wa.gov/razorclams.
Fishery managers from Washington and Oregon on Wednesday approved this year’s spring Chinook recreational fishing season for the Columbia River, with some improvement to expected returns compared to 2021.
The 2022 forecast for upriver spring Chinook numbers is 122,900 fish, which would be the highest return since 2016 and above the 91,756 fish that returned last year, although only 81 percent of the 10-year average of about 152,300 fish.
Salmon fishing is currently open daily to fishing from the mouth of the Columbia River to the Interstate-5 bridge, but spring Chinook usually don't arrive in large numbers until late March and April.
The river will be open for the following dates and locations:
--March 1 through April 6: From Buoy 10 line upstream to Beacon Rock (boat and bank), plus bank angling by hand-cast only from Beacon Rock upstream to the Bonneville Dam deadline.
--April 1 through May 5: From the Tower Island power lines (approximately 6 miles below The Dalles Dam) upstream to the Oregon/Washington border, plus bank angling by hand-cast only between Bonneville Dam and the Tower Island power lines.
The allowable catch plus release mortalities of upriver spring Chinook for this season’s fishery below Bonneville Dam is 3,913 (2,206 in 2021) adults and above Bonneville Dam is 559 (315 in 2021) adults. The projected recreational fishing harvest in 2022 is 5,179 (upriver and lower river spring Chinook) for the fishery below Bonneville and 524 above Bonneville. Managers will monitor the fisheries, dam counts, and hatchery returns and adjust as necessary in-season, with the run-size update typically occurring mid-May.
Unlike the past several years, the lower river mainstem is open for spring Chinook fishing thanks to higher projected returns to several lower-river tributaries that are predicted to meet their corresponding escapement goals. The Cowlitz River is expected to see 4,000 spring Chinook return, the Lewis River is expected to see 2,300 fish return, and the Kalama River is expected to see 2,000 fish return.
Salmonid daily limits in Deep River will be concurrent with the mainstem Columbia River daily limits when open to spring Chinook retention.
As always, anglers should review the rules for the waters they plan to fish in the Washington Sport Fishing Rules pamphlet at https://wdfw.wa.gov/fishing/regulations, as well as any emergency rule changes, available at https://fortress.wa.gov/dfw/erules/efishrules/.
In an effort to meet management objectives and provide necessary protection for dwindling wild steelhead populations, the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) today announced a full closure to all sport fishing throughout the Washington Coast and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The full closure will take effect Tuesday, March 1.
The closure follows the review of preliminary data that suggests the forecasted returns are likely coming back as low as 30 percent of what fishery managers expected, foreshadowing perhaps the lowest return ever recorded in some rivers. Based on historic return timing, most hatchery steelhead runs have ended and the wild steelhead returns are more than one-third of the way complete.